Page 31 - Yachter Autumn 2023
P. 31

                                    was hitting the sea and it was now raining, what on Earth were you dreaming about? We were getting toward Penmarch and were still
a little mystified about horizontal rows of red lights that weren’t on our charts, everything else made sense. Then the penny dropped, these were the aviation warning lights on the inshore windfarms, glad we sorted that out it could have disturbed my sleep. On we went with the dolphin still diminishing the Pilchard population arriving at Pointe du Raz just after dawn and at slack water. Off Cameret we were visited by a large old dolphin with notches in his dorsal fin and scuff marks down his back. In the clear water he was a real show off. Here I am by the bow of your boat swimming on my side making sure you are watching me, now the other side, swimming on my back,
he had the complete repertoire which lasted
a good 20 minutes. We reached the Chenal
de Four rather tired after 24 hours on the go and then the fog dropped, 25m visibility, oh what joy a radar and chart plotter are, never had enough underpants in the old days.
On we went, eyes on stalks, Robert clearly misunderstanding the situation went to sleep. The outline of a large motorboat loomed
by on our starboard side never showing on AIS nor radar, stealth mode? We fumbled
our way into L’ Aber Wrac’h and as we went further into the river the fog cleared, well
that was exciting. Moor up, taking note that Chappy’s boat was still there, then off to the ablutions before an early supper at a little restaurant themed on children’s welly boots,
I remembered it from when my youngest was small, quite a few years ago now.
Next day nip (35 miles) around to Roscoff to see old Douane to get our passports stamped, once again thick fog and Robert misses the views of the glorious Brittany coast. Very uneventful save a visit from a porpoise. The fog cleared as we rounded Île d’ Batz. A helpful harbour launch guided us into a berth. After seeing Douane we caught the courtesy
bus into Roscoff for a nose and a drink. We had a long conversation with a large French family on their way to Ireland with their elderly parents to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary, evidently they had honeymooned there and returned every year thereafter. They were rather concerned that we were sailing back to England and not catching the Ferry!
Up early again, 0600 specified but not which time zone! I’m up and ready, kettle on, sails made ready, surplus shorelines removed, a rather sleepy Mike on BST and Robert still snoring below. We had a stiff SW and we were off to St Peter Port, jib nicely poled out telling Robert that it is much better going with the wind and sea than it had been going the other way, you don’t know your born! More visits from dolphin and several large tuna jumping, sightings of these seem to be getting more common. As we arrive off St Peter Port Mike phones in for fuel to be told “tough luck we are just closing”. If we had stuck with CET this wouldn’t have been a problem! Maybe not a good idea to go on too much, the wounds are still raw! We declared ourselves early leavers for the following morning and were put on the locals south pontoon and rafted off a boat leaving at 0400 BST. – just saying! Robert wasn’t too convinced about the charms of St Peter Port but he had been spoilt with Brittany. We took him to La Perla, homely Italian dining, magnificently painted in tangerine and lemon, reminiscent of, or more probably from a time gone by – thank God. But what really counts is the welcome and food which were excellent.
Oh dear, 0400, still dark and off up through the Little Russell on the start of the tide to Alderney and beyond. We pass the Roustel mark which reminds me of a 1930’s American diving platform still hanging on with a 30 degree list after an unspecified collision a couple of years back. Soon it’s dawn and the SW wind resumed, bacon rolls for breakfast
and then see what the shipping lanes have to offer. Sometimes you wonder whether some higher authority has drawn a target on you and why is it John Masefield’s Cargoes always comes to mind “Dirty British coaster with a salt caked smoke stack, butting through the Channel in the mad March days” ... targeting Barti Blue. In the separation zone yet another pod of dolphins come and play with us for half an hour, unusual to see them in that area. As the day wears on the Dorset land starts to show and then the Isle of Wight. Great timing, we get to the Needles with the first of the flood and are soon in the calm waters of the Solent heading for Beaulieu entrance. Early evening and we are tied up to Gins pontoon to be greeted with “Where have you been, we’ve been tracking you on AIS”...
Steve Daniel
          WHAT’S YOUR TIPPLE? 31

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