Thursday, July 7, 2016

Isles de Glenan & Belle Isle

We left Cameret sur Mer at 7am in complete cloud once again but at least we could see the headland today as the fog had lifted; we had gorgeous ham and cheese croissants for breakfast and prepared to enter the notorious Raz de Sein where tide can flow at 6 knots against you so we had to take this tidal gate seriously. We didn’t have much wind – NW force 2 so motor sailed through; Andrew had timed it for slack water but we think we maybe had been a little early as we whizzed through at 11.2 knots over the ground – it’s only short; about 2 miles but can be really quite mean. After we got through that gate and entered south Britanny, we saw two dolphins and them amazingly the sun came out and the wind increased so we had a perfect sail south with wind on the back quarter – I loved relaxing on the bean bag on the back deck whilst Andrew took charge of the boat – yes this was what I had signed up for.

Glad we were going with this tide

Bean bags out - yes we like South Brittany

Great sail to Isles De Glenan

Approaching Isles to Glenan - just look at that water (just like Rotto)
We had long been keen to visit Isles de Glenan, an amazing archipelago of islands with white sand beaches just off the coast from Benodet/Concarneu – the pictures we had seen reminded us of our favourite island back home of Rottnest. However the tide range is wild, much of it dries, the anchorages are few and far between due to moorings that are too small for us, on top of that the islands are exposed to the swell in Biscay and currents – yes sounds like a perfect spot! Andrew spent most of the day studying the charts and we arrived an hour before high water and had enough water to gingerly explore right through the centre of the island groups. There is a couple of sail schools on the island to everywhere there was crazy fast dinghies zooming around, we considered a couple of anchorage spots before settling on a spot on the south east on Isle Penfret – complete with white sand and a gorgeous outlook.

We had not been settled long when a customs boat came an anchored right behind us – we have heard all sorts of reports of French Customs arresting boats without VAT paid and imposing fines for all sorts of things so we decided on our best friendly approach we they came over in their tender.  We welcomed them in and presented all our papers – they were very impressed with our crested registration document and a bit puzzled by our two passports but otherwise were very happy and went away having giving us a clean inspection certificate to show to any other French customs boats we meet.
Our anchorage

Our spot was totally perfect until at dusk to small boats came in and anchored right on top of us one in either direction. Then about 2am when the boats swung around they had far less chain out than us and we were about a metre off of one of them, the result was we took it in turns to be on watch and we had an awful night in this great spot. What’s so annoying is that they could have gone much further in than us and didn’t seem to care they were so close to us.

Askari at anchor Iles de Glenan
On the beach

Looking out over the Iles de Glenan
How gorgeous - Iles de Glenan
Yes we loved Iles de Glenan
We had a lovely walk on the island and explored a bit more by dinghy before upping anchor and heading to Belle Isle – another beautiful day with a lovely breeze in the afternoon perfect for a gentle sail towards one of the jewels of Brittany. We took a mooring off Port Sauzon for the night, again we were too big to go inside, although we did get to explore right up the river in the dinghy before having a short walk around town and a fabulous dinner ashore in a tiny restaurant – 3 course menu du jour for 13 euros and it was yummy!

Trundling along down the coast of Belle Isle
Next morning we left Port Sauzon with the aim of sailing down the island but the wind was so light we could only make about 1 knot against the tide, so we opted to anchor off a bay just south of Port Guen. It was so calm we just relaxed, had a nice lazy lunch and finally had our first swim off the boat. We spent the night there and had a BBQ and a perfect night at anchor.

Port Sauzon, Belle Isle
Port Sauzon, Belle Isle
Port Sauzon, Belle Isle
Passing the capital of Belle Isle - Le Palais
Our view from anchor on Belle Isle
Sundowner time

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