French Island Hopping Part 1

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Benodet – Port Tudy (33 Miles / 6.5 Hours)
Finally things are looking up on the sailing front. We have had enough of the motor now, the dull monotone engine is no more. I think the fact we filled up a tank worth of diesel in Benodet which cost a third of a months budget showed us that sailing slowly is much better than motoring 2 knots faster. As we left the entrance to Benodet the wind was good and the sun was out in full force, we spent the day sunning ourselves and practicing the actual sailing part to get it right. We arrived of the coast of the island that would be our home for the night, popped the engine on, and motored the last few miles to the harbour. It was 9pm by now and we were looking forward to a nice comfy night…….fat chance, as we rounded the corned into the harbour we saw about 200 boats crammed into where we would usually see 30, in a space about the size of a football pitch….Boats tied together in side by side, nose to nose, on trying to fit into any spot we could we were shooed off by all boat owners. Coming to the realisation that is was a 20 mile sail anywhere else, and it was 9/10 pm we were pretty fed up, but as we saw another boat enter the harbour we took our chance before he did and crammed ourselves on the end virtually touching the harbour wall, worried as at low tide through the night we would be virtually scraping the bottom! we took little scrumps ashore to finally meet a friendly dog and owner & enjoyed a very limited conversation…..then it was back to the boat for some sleep.
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Port Tudy – Le Palais (24 Miles / 4.5 Hours)
I got up at 6:30 and crept out leaving Holly and Le chien in bed, I untied the ropes, somehow manoeuvred out of the ridiculous harbour and slipped away silently…accidentally forgetting to post the fees for the night through the harbour office door! There was less than 1 knot of wind so had to motor but it was only a short trip to Le Palais, it was quite peaceful, no one in sight and watching another sun rise…..Holly got up at 9 and we were half way there…..then it happened…… with a little encouragement (& we had tried this numerous occasions before!) ……our little Scrample Doodles, sniffing the sea breeze that he loves…..cocked his leg over the mast and did his first wee at sea! ….. He is officially the Salty Sea Dog we always wanted…so proud ha! Now we just need to work on the No. 2’s!!!! Turned out the astro turf and constant begging had been a complete waste of time, although we do have a grass covered cockpit now which feels lush under foot.
So Simon has been writing the sailing bits (as above) and I have been updating my diary quite a bit with experiences & memories while in Port or ashore. Apologies if some of this is ‘long!’ but I let my creative juices run free & have given myself poetic licence as I feel some of finer details are quite entertaining:
Arriving at Le Palais was quite different to other ports we had experienced, as you are usually left to your own devices. This time 2 young bronzed whipper snappers were zooming around on 2 ribs organising everyone onto buoys & tying up shore lines, when out of no where some crazy French man who looked like a younger thinner Gerard Depardieu shot into the harbour flying around in every direction & heading straight for us! Luckily 1 of the young guys (obviously used to this kind of thing!) used his rib as a tug & pushed the aft end of the yacht stopping his bow from hitting us.He had 2 crew on board, 1 other man doing nothing and a woman wondering around with what looked like a swimming float & attempting (very badly) at using it as a roaming fender. These really were boat hobos but more like incompetent boat hobos and showed us that we really are quite good at this sailing malarky. We made sure he got moored alongside side us without causing any damage and when all the calamity was over and normal service resumed I saw that his swim steps were floating around the harbour. We kindly returned them to him as he was oblivious, probably lost during all the commotion. Later on I noticed that his yacht was called Lady GaGa, which may explain the reason behind his dramatic entrance!.
On the other side of us we had a German couple, a moody plump woman who’s skin resembled a dark brown leather hand bag & her husband who seemed like he enjoyed a frankfurter or 2, but appeared relatively friendly. However he was clearly under the thumb with his Meine Furher and seemed apprehensive to show his nice side particularly when she was around. She was a bossy so & so ordering Simon to loosen & change the ropes between us and of course the sin of all sins …..she did not like dogs!!!!! So when gorgeous little ScrumpleStiltSkin popped onto her boat to say hello he was immediately shoo’d off. Simon called him back rewarding him with ‘Good Boy’ when he returned as commanded …but she huffed & disagreed saying ’NO Naughty Naughty Dog!’
Anyway we were used to rude non dog lovers so shrugged it off and childlishly muttered some German jokes amongst ourselves. It was clearly going to be an interesting stay, but it all added to the entertainment of our adventure.
It turned out to be an absolutely lush day without a cloud in the sky. We enjoyed dozing on the deck, topping up the tans & we found some green to throw Scrump Dogs ball… & treated ourselves to some Caramel mini donuts from the patisserie. It was our best day so far.
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