French Island Hopping Part 2

Le Palais – Port Joinville (50 Miles / 11 Hours)
So we woke up after one of the best nights sleep we had had since leaving to find both the French clowns to our Port side and the SS to our starboard side had departed un noticed, could of been the fact we laid in bed until about 11. We took scrambles ashore and walked up to the Citadel Vauban which was a large fort which was apparently inpenetrative……apart from the Royal Marines back in 1761 of course, it had great views over the bay and whilst sitting chilled out we were approached by a little lizard who joined us for our 20 minute break.
We made our way back to the town pontoon & were carefully manoeuvring ourselves into our tiny tender. Further down the pontoon were 2 French Madams that we had bumped into a few times ashore, attempting to do the same. Unfortunately they also had 2 little yappy shitzus’ which were balls of long hair & all their shopping to manoeuvre around. As careful as they were trying to be it was all a waste of time as they lost their balance & SPLASH… into the water they both fell.
Amazingly both dogs had managed remain in the boat bone dry, but were going absolutely banzai while the poor ladies tried to gather some dignity as well as their shopping. A once luscious fresh crispy baguette had now become a soggy salty sea loaf… was a right scene.
Obviously being the caring considerate people we are & the fact that they weren’t young ladies (probably around their 60’s) we checked they were ok and when they reassured us they were fine it was officially socially acceptable for us to laugh. At this point they were also giggling away.
It was not the easiest section of harbour to get out, so we couldn’t use the outboard motor until in deeper water and with my (Hollys) lack of rowing skills we weren’t achieving much either. Then perfect timing a bloody great ferry enters the harbour creating an endless flow of giant waves repeatedly sending us crashing into the French ladies, while Simon & I shouted at each other. The dogs were still going nuts & now the French ladies were laughing at US…. meanwhile all the ’normal’ people enjoying a civilised afternoon ashore looked on in amusement.
Anyway we all managed to gather ourselves & make our way into the deeper water of the harbour and finally towards our yacht, but not before the ‘Captainerie’ (harbour master) rib whizzed past splashing us big a wave & soaking our box of cornflakes!
All in all it was a very funny afternoon.
We decided on our first proper night sail tonight, so we moved from the Harbour around 3 pm to a small anchorage about a mile away. We had some tea then to scrump dog ashore for a good walk, then it was back to the boat to leave. We were fed, rested and ready to go for our second night sail. With our recent good fortune and winds we had no nerves or apprehension about tonights passage. We set off from the anchorage at 9pm immediately noticing that the wind was not in our favour 😦 but we knew (hoped!) that once we passed the island that we would be ok…we had massively under estimated ourselves, we had planned all our timings off only being 3 quarters of the sailing legends that we are, but we were steaming along at 6.5 Knots, now this is an average jogging pace to you back home, but to us this is the peak of the boats performance….and very sadly this speed excites us….we settled in for the first few hours hammering along. It was peaceful and calm on the sea and we happily flew along, the only problem being that at this rate we would arrive at 4am, in the dark…to anchor up… we know I get a bit panicy about anchoring so for the first time ever I hoped we slowed down (we did slightly so all was fine). Holly and scrumpy retired for a sleep until 2 am when she took over the grave yard shift, with me asleep in the cockpit. I rose at 5am to do the last 2.5 hours to the Ile d’Yeu, on seeing the anchorage ahead I woke Holly with a definite 2 minute warning until we needed to anchor….my first mistake….15 minutes later an extremely tired and irritated Holly would not look or speak to me. I had somewhat over estimated how close we were….joking about it to her didn’t improve the situation…second mistake….my bad. At about 7:45 am we anchored up in a small bay with about 10 other yachts, it was about 7 meters deep and we could see to the bottom of the crystal clear water. We were very happy with how the night had gone, but needed some sleep so off to bed we went.
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