We had a quick stop at Gavrinis. The site of one of the largest megalithic tombs in Brittany.
Turns out you are supposed to book this in advance. So we just snuck in.
We had a French family in a small motor boat stop by asking for directions back to Arradon. Not sure they knew how to read a chart as even when we pointed out exactly where they were they still wanted us to point to them which way they needed to go.
We sailed on to head up the river to Auray.
Got the tides right this time catching the last of the ebb out then the flood as we turned up the river.
We Tacked up the channel until we ran out of wind and it started to get really shallow, so we dropped sail and motored the last mile.
We were kept passing then being passed by a beautiful wooden Smack, the Unity of Lynn. We found out later that this had been built in Essex in 1906. We could sail faster than them but we couldn’t cut the shallow corners.
A Smack is a traditional sailing fishing boat used off the coast of Britain.
The Gulf of Morbihan is like a mini inland sea full of islands with 2 rivers flowing into it and only a narrow channel connecting it to the ocean.
With the big tidal range in this area there is a really strong tidal flow flowing into and out of the Morbihan. This is fine as long as you time it right.
We were lazy and just looked at the flow arrows on Navionics (our electronic charts). Turns out they are wrong. When we checked in 2 separate almanacs (Reference books showing ports, tides, tidal flows and other useful information for sailing) and showed the correct information.
Still it was pretty interesting sailing up the channels at about 7 knots through the water and 1 knot over the ground. There were several other boats sailing in as well so it felt like a very slow speed race.
We anchored off of Ile Aux Moine (Monk Island). Then moved to a buoy when a boat left as the tidal flows are pretty strong.
The next day we spent exploring the island visiting the dolmen of Penhap and the Cromlech of Kergonan which date back to about 3500 B.C.
We dropped anchor off Port Lay on the North coast, Sheltered from the SW winds.
The following morning we rowed ashore into the tiny harbour of Port Lay.
From here we set off to walk across the Island then round the south eastern end.
There are cars on the islands but in general you can walk down the middle of the narrow country lanes with no fear of being run over.
Greedy seagull – Groix
On the walk we spotted a few other potentially good anchorages.
Returning to Cerise in the evening we discovered that the swell had picked up and the wind shifted enough that she was bouncing around all over the place.
It is pretty interesting trying to get out of a small dingy onto the the back when you are surging up and down by a several feet.
The anchor was holding fine but it would have been very uncomfortable to stay where we were. (we were moving around more than when we crossed the channel in the force 7.
We upped the anchor and motored down the coast to Porth Koustik.
It was starting to get dark and the anchorage was pretty busy.
First drop of the anchor outside the main field of boats. It didn’t catch (1st time our rochna hasn’t set first time, I think the bottom may have been a mix of sand rock and weed and a bit to dark to see where we were dropping.
Spotted a dolphin hanging about one of the other boats anchored up.
We wondered if the bottom was better further across where the other boats were so moved into a likely spot. Anchor set but a little close to a lovely wooden boat behind us. Decided it was close but far enough (maybe 20m) distances always look closer from the deck anyway.
Haven’t really got the hang of picking a good spot amongst other boats when its busy yet.
Woke up in the morning about half a boat length from the other boat!
It was very sociable as we could chat directly to the other boat which you can’t normally do when anchored up but I did apologise for ending up so close and we moved into a space when a few of the other boats left. Their engine had packed up on their cruise so they were continuing with just sail for the next week.
But before we could move, there was the dolphin we had spotted the night before right there next to the 2 boats.
Some of the guys from the other boat were in the water swimming with it.
It was a sunny day but still a bit morning fresh but I wasn’t going to miss out on a chance to swim with a dolphin.
The Dolphin it seems lives in that area and plays with all the boats. It comes and greats all the new boats coming in, swims around with anyone who wants to swim and set off with any boats that leave to say goodbye.
When we left the next morning the dolphin came out with us. Swimming right under our bow so close that we could hear its tail knocking on our hull as it swam. It stayed with us for about 5 minutes until it turned on its side, looked right up at us, nodded its head twice as we waved down to it then it turned around and headed back to the other boats still anchored up.
It is pretty hard to explain the magic of being so close to a dolphin. It feels way more than just experiencing being close to a beautiful intelligent wild animal. It lifts your whole mood and fills you with a feeling of joy.
This is a small group of islands about 10 nautical miles south of la Foret Fouesnant and Concarneau. It is home to the famous french sailing school Les Glénans, which started up after the 2nd world war to help young people learn to enjoy life again. It is now the largest sailing school in France (and Europe?)
It is a beautiful archipelago that gets pretty busy with tourists coming across on ferrys from the mainland, yachts and motorboats, all visiting the pristine sandy beaches within the shelter of the surrounding islands.
We sailed all the way to the anchorage, ok the engine was running just incase we needed it as it was pretty tight and there were millions of dinghys everywhere. And we didn’t drop anchor under sail as it was busy and we want space to mess it up in private when we try doing this for the first time.
It was also low tide and we had about 20cm under the keel at times, when our intermittent depth display was showing or when I ducked below to check the repeater downstairs.
It is all pretty flat once you are in there and I kept a look out from the bow when it got really shallow. It looked only about a meter deep through the super clear water but we didn’t touch.
It makes the sailing much more interesting when there are islands, boats and shallow bits to constrain where you choose your route. The early Les Glénans boats sailed round here and across the channel with no engine (maybe they had a smaller draft though). It was nice to follow this tradition rather than motoring.
We had a great run across from l’Aberwrac’h to the Isles of Scilly.
Passage plan 20 hours.
Passage 18 hours but only because we hove too for 3 hours about 3 miles off so that we could approach in the daylight.
Its a much easier passage from NW Brittany than trying to sail West from the UK south coast.
We anchored between Gugh and St Agnes. A beautiful bay that felt more like the Caribbean than a group of islands off the British coast. The sun meant we could have a cold swim/wash. The first since leaving the comforts of Torquay marina.
We generally hope to be sailing where it’s warmer so the washes won’t be so cold.
Unfortunately I managed to kill the waterproof shockproof camera after this.