Les Îles de Glénans 5th – 7th August

These islands are reputed be France’s answer to the Caribbean or the Pacific island of Tahiti and boy that is so true! –  (to be cont:)

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The various types of sailing

The archipelago is made up of nine main islands and many islets, in the middle of which is a lagoon renowned for the clarity of its water and the whiteness of its sands. It is possible walk to Bananec Island from Saint-Nicolas at low tide when a ribbon of sand appears. The island is inhabited by the internationally renowned ‘not-for-profit’ sailing school which was founded after the war in 1947 by Helene and Philipe Viannay, former members of the French Resistance! It is one of the first and one of the largest sailing schools in Europe.  Trainee sailors are housed in a 1960s building (not for the faint-hearted!!), construction on the islands is no longer allowed and accommodation is scarce.

A lighthouse and a semaphore can be found on Penfret Island, however we didn’t go there this time as we feel sure that we will be back sometime soon but here is a photo from our anchorage on the north side of Île Saint-Nicolas…

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The lighthouse and Semaphore on Île Penfret

We sailed the 10 miles to this archipelago of small islands under genoa and dropped our anchor off  Île de Saint-Nicolas and this is the view we had! It was such a bonus to be anchored in 7 metres of water and to be able to see the bottom?! We drank in the scenery until the late evening and smiled at the squeals from those who had dared to dive into the very tempting water from their yachts and received a shock at the temperature!

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Looks very tempting to swim in but too cold!!

The following morning, well late morning, we hopped into the dinghy and went ashore and wandered round Saint-Nicolas in beautiful sunshine and I was so tempted to take a dip, that is until I put a toe in!? Ouch, the sea hasn’t warmed up enough for me yet! We then explored the other islands  and eventually completed by dinghy, a circumnavigation of Saint-Nicolas, the clear, clear water has some disadvantages as the rocks beneath look a lot closer than they actually are and I thought we might be grounded on more than one occasion!!

White sand, turquoise sea and azure blue sky!!

Île Cigogne is instantly recognisable by its fort, which was built in 1756 to keep English pirates out of the lagoon! Cigogne is the main base for the sailing school but their activity is seen throughout the islands .  Here are some shots of the old fort which is now used for water sports activities.

The old fort on Cigogne

We returned to Musetta to enjoy another evening at anchor in such a beautiful place and the sunset was gorgeous!

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How’s that, moon and all!

Sunday morning was as tranquil as the previous days and so we set off back to Port La Forêt under motor, less than 1kt of wind?!!  We had only just cleared the rocks surrounding the archipelago when we were treated to a visit by a small pod of dolphins who played round the boat and leapt out of the water to show us how clever they are as if we didn’t already know!  I love dolphins, they make my heart sing!

Magical dawn and heart warming dolphins

Our journey continues….

 

We’re ready to go again!

Monday 1st August

After three weeks away we are en route back to Musetta to continue our travels! More to follow….Read more…

 

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Leaving Blighty!

What a miserable day to be leaving?  However with exciting prospects ahead we were certainly not downcast as we left Portsmouth harbour aboard the Normandie Express to Cherbourg, passing the Spinnaker Tower and a lonely naval ship on the way out!

The trip across to Cherbourg was fine and after a scheduled stop in Bricquebec to meet a friend Annelise for a quick catch up, we had a long drive, approximately 240 miles to Port La Forêt and so we lost no time in setting off, stopping only for some supper about 50 miles short of Port La Forêt in a small town called Baud in the Rance valley.

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A pretty Terrace in Baud

Ah, that’s more like it!! Next stop Musetta, it will be so good to see her again…

Wednesday 3rd August – Bénodet

Here are some snaps taken when we visited this popular destination by car.  We have decided that we really can’t see everywhere by boat and as Benodet is very close to Port La Forêt we drove there instead!  It is a pretty entrance to the river Odet with lots of  boating activity  which also includes the ferries that leave from here to go to les Îles de Glénans.

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The marina at Bénodet

 

Views of Bénodet looking out to sea

Next we go to Îles de Glénans….