31st July – Île Longue
We had a weather window to finally leave the marina at Port Crouesty and so we set off and entered the Morbihan for a second time to visit the places we were unable to get to because of time constraints on our last visit! We decided to go to a recommended anchorage off the island of Île Longue and it certainly was as promised, very quiet and well protected.
We believe that Île Longue is a priviate and therefore we were not able to land there with the dinghy and so we chose then to investigate Lamour Baden which is on the north coast of the Golfe and a fair dinghy ride to get there. It was a good chance to stretch our legs and have a walk. There really wasn’t much there but we were able to top up our food supplies before setting off back to Musetta. There were a some other British boats in the anchorage and so we called by and invited them to join us on board later for a sundowner when it was a chance for us to swap stories and information over a glass of wine – or two! We enjoyed a beautiful sunset that evening and hoped that the ‘Red sky at night….” adage would prove correct?
What a beautiful morning!!
3rd August 2017 – The River Auray to Le Bono
We had spent three days anchored off Île Longue and very much enjoyed the peace and quiet. We left and motored the six miles into the River Auray to the old port of Bono, sometimes known as Le Bono, where we picked up a buoy. The wind had picked up and although it was a little breezy we seemed to have found a very tranquil spot!
After lunch we launched the dinghy to go to the village and to find the capitainerie! We duly signed in and then set off to discover Le Bono! Here is the suspension bridge which is dated 1840 is one of the oldest bridges of its type in France and is listed as an historic monument. This wooden bridge is now reserved for pedestrians only.
Having walked across the bridge from the village we discovered the riverside path to Port St-Goustan at Auray just 3.5kms away and resolved to take that path the next day, our last in this beautiful little idyll!
In times past, Bono was famous for it’s oyster beds and reminders of that industry are everywhere to be seen. Today it is simply a lovely place to stopover!
A disused pool where the oysters were cultivated inside these clay tiles!
Le Rocher Tumulus, at Bono
Bono is such a small place but it boasts one of the best preserved tumuli to date and is one of two of the original seven sited between the Blavet and the Loire estuaries which have been preserved. A tumulus is an ancient burial place and is an “elbow” shaped. The corridor measures 12m up to the bend, which opens onto a burial chamber about 8m long. Inside it consists of alternating megalithic stone pillars and dressed stone walls and it’s ceiling is covered with megalithic stone slabs. All a bit spooky! I did go inside and with the help of the torch on my phone managed to get these shots!
The megalithic stone pillars and the mound of the tumulus
The outside is circular in shape and covered with earth and grass to form a mound. The tumulus at Bono is about 20m in diameter and 4m high and is a particularly well preserved example!
A famous “son” of Bono – Bernard Moitessier!
Of particular interest to visiting yachtsmen is the story of Bernard Moitessier who took part in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, the first round the world yacht race solo and without stopping in 1968 in his 39 foot ketch “Joshua” – named after Joshua Slocum the first sailor to have sailed around the world. Moitessier was well on course to have won the race as he was significantly ahead of the other sailors but was uninterested in all the commercialisation of the event and chose not to finish the race at all! When he decided not to finish the Round the World race he informed the race organisers in a very unusual way which was to catapult the news onto a passing commercial ship with a sling shot!! The race was won by Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, the sole legitimate finisher who has gone on to become somewhat of a legend himself!
Of course it is impossible to say that the Frenchman would have beaten Knox-Johnson as the sailing conditions would have been entirely different for each but it is said that it would have, in all probablilty, been an extremely close race? Moitessier continued on to Tahiti where he lived for several years.
Bernard Moitessier’s Grave and artefacts attached to the palm tree which marks the site of his grave in the churchyard at Bono
Sadly Bernard was stricken with Prostate cancer and died at the relatively young age of 69. He was buried in an inauspicious corner of the churchyard at Bono. We found the cemetery eventually having walked to the church, found a circus there but no cemetery?! However a very helpful member of the circus company explained to us how we should find it! The grave is adorned with various nautical artefacts including a sling shot!
After several mishaps Moitessier’s boat, “Joshua” was finally beached in Mexico after a severe storm. In a very poor state Moitessier managed to get her afloat again but then ‘gave’ her to two young lads to return her to France. Today she is restored and berthed as part of the maritime museum in La Rochelle.
5th August – St Goustan, Auray
The Auray river winds it’s way north from Bono and except for high tides is quite shallow for us and so in order to visit the port of St Goustan we had a choice of taking the dinghy for the 3.5km journey or walking via the riverside path. We chose the latter as we were not in a rush and the exercise would be good for us!
The pretty riverside footpath to Saint Goustan and the port ahead
The port of Saint-Goustan, the patron saint of sailors and fishermen, was once one of the busiest fishing and trading ports in Brittany but is now one of the most popular and picture perfect visitor sites in the Morbihan! It has many waterside restaurants, a visitor certainly wouldn’t go hungry!
Eating isn’t a problem in Auray!
Along with the fishing industry the port was a centre for boat building and it was during this time in the 18th century when Benjamin Franklin from the United States arrived en route to Paris, seeking to ask France for help in the American War of Independence! One of the quays is named after him….
The port is characterised by the half-timbered buildings and the narrow cobbled streets…
The pretty streets in Auray
After a walk across the narrow stone bridge which links the two sides of the river it was good to explore the steep streets full of art galleries all kinds of shops and restaurants up to the square and the17th-century imposing church Église St-Gildas, which houses a sculpted wooden organ.
Église St-Gildas and it’s organ
Because the port is so picturesque it is often populated by artists who come to commit their interpretation of the views to canvas! The Benjamin Franklin quay is a popular place because of the traditional boats in the harbour.
The artists at work!
Finally it is worth the climb up a fairly steep stone path to the top of the hill where the old chateau once stood to see the view of the port…
We had an enjoyable, if rather damp day in Auray and now it was time to take the riverside walk back to Musetta and to prepare to set off the following morning for the much anticipated visit to the River Vilaine!