We have been regaled with stories about the beauty of the Gulf of Morbihan and so having read up about the area, it was definitely on our list of places to visit as we progress further south down the Atlantic coast of France!
We left Crouesty at low water and passed this headland at Port Navalo as we entered the Gulf of Morbihan en route to Île-d’Arz, an island which turned out to be a little piece of paradise in the heart of the Morbihan! The need to be going into the Gulf soon after low water is due to the very strong currents created by the large volume of water going through a narrow gap! Caution is needed as it can be treacherous!
Île-d’Arz, or the Captains Island as it is known, is a fairly small flat island with a coast line of about 18 kilometres and at it’s highest point it is only 13 metres high. Because of it’s shape one is never more than 400 metres from the sea!!
In earlier times the deep sea fishermen made it their home, hence the name Captains Island. However, today’s ‘captains’ are more likely to be the young trainees from the Glenans sailing school. They have ideal conditions here to learn to sail. We watched them from Musetta, they were having a great time!
We were going to stay for one night only en route to Vannes but the island captivated us and, as we were in no rush, we decided to stay for another night so that we could explore the small town called Le Bourg and the coastal path!
Penera, views of the anchorage!
It was easy to see why the island acquired it’s nickname as the tiny streets were filled with old fishermen’s cottages, it was beautiful, like stepping back in time!
Fishermen’s cottages in streets plus the church, always a grand affair!
We would normally take our bikes to explore but the island was small enough to walk round quite easily. The views were stunning whichever way you looked! The island is a second home to Barnacle geese from Siberia, not that we saw any but we did see several other home species of birds.
Various sights seen during our hike round the island, including the Captain’s House at Penero (bottom right)!
Another ‘must see’ sight is the traditional tide mill, Le Moulin de Berno, a water mill which is driven by the rise and fall of the tide. It is an interesting piece of maritime history which, although it no longer functions, it has been restored to it’s former state. Every two years in late July or early August the Mill is at the centre of a festival when a regatta is held of old sailing and fishing boats, the singing of sea shanties and a fireworks display. Unfortunately we were a bit too early for it!
Le Moulin Berno – a Tide Mill
Our first experience of the Gulf of Morbihan was a very enjoyable one. It was so good to be at anchor, far from the madding crowd!
Below is a shot of Musetta looking serene in the anchorage at Penera…
Next stop Vannes!