We were locked into the ‘wet basin’ at Le Palais therefore we had to wait for the tide before we could leave! The lock keeper opened the gates and then at 1pm he lifted the pedestrian bridge so that we could motor out!
I took this shot on the way into the ‘wet basin’, escorted by one of the harbour masters assistants. It shows the pedestrian bridge in place as we approached, they only open it at the last minute!! The view of the bridge is rather obscured by the green commercial vessel already moored there!
Via Lorient – Kernével Marina
We had an excellent sail to Lorient in a force 4 wind and covered the 27 miles in just over 4 hours!
Having been unable to see the museum and submarine pens when we visited Lorient last year we were determined to see them this time! The museum was a 45 minute walk away from the marina but it was well worth it, even though our lovely weather had deserted us on this occasion! The museum depicted the history of the submarines in Lorient and culminated with a guided tour of the submarine, ‘Flore’! with the help of an audio head-piece. It was fascinating!
The Keroman U-Boat base was built by the Germans between February 1941 and January 1943. It was designed to house thirty U-boats and their crews in each of the 3 pens. However, the base suffered heavy bombardment during the war by the Allied forces due to one German-speaking Frenchman, Jacques Stosskopf who, while working for the French resistance, passed on vital information about the submarine movements to the Allies. Sadly he was discovered and killed by the Germans. However, after the war ended, and the Germans finally surrended, the base was taken over by the French Navy who renamed it “Jacques Stosskopf” in memory of their immensely brave countryman.
The submarine base was finally closed in 1997.
Monday 2nd October – Arrival back at Port La Forêt!
Not a nice day weather wise! It was wet and very murky but we considered that we had enough visibility to set off and it gave us the opportunity to test our radar and our foghorn, both of which came in handy as the fog closed in, on and off! We could also see fishing boats on the radar which we were unable to see on AIS? They were in ‘stealth’ mode so as not to be visible to other fishing vessels!!
We arrived back safely and as planned hit the entrance to the marina with plenty of water to get in! It was good to see Macif as we entered the marina, a familiar ‘face’ so to speak! This time she didn’t intimidate me (she is massive!) and I was able to motor past her and then reverse back onto our allotted marina berth successfully – phew, relief!
After a beer and a meal ashore we crashed and woke up to this…..
Tuesday 3rd October – Port La Forêt in the sunshine!
Just as we had left it back at the beginning of July!
We worked tirelessly for the next three days to get the sails off Musetta which is quite a job – they are very big and heavy and extremely awkward to handle especially when we were moored at the end of a narrow pontoon with very little space to manhandle them. Anyway, obviously we managed! One of the days was spent removing all the halyards and ‘sheets’ for washing. Musetta is now festooned in mouse lines!
Musetta with halyards and lines drying
7th October ~ Ferry St Malo to Portsmouth
I needed to attend a dental appointment made back in the Spring and so this was my first trip back to Blighty since the beginning of May! It was also a chance to catch up with my grandchildren who are growing and developing rapidly into fascinating little people, each with their unique personality and both are happy little bunnies, love them!
A visit to the cinema for Annabelle and George enjoying a book!
14th October – Return to Port-La-Forêt
We returned with a very long suffering and excellent electrician, Dave “Evo” Evans. Dave had completed much work on Musetta before we left UK last year fitting the solar panels, the wind generator and the Iridium Pilot! Fortunately for us he had a week free to come back to France with us to finish our electrical preparations before next summer!
Dave hard at work!
We had booked an apartment for our week preparing Musetta for her winter ashore, the same one as we had rented back in April. It is so convenient and with plenty of hot water, heating and wifi too it really is very comfortable and is a ‘stones throw’ from all parts of the marina. We will return there in April for a week to get Musetta ready for next season.
19th October ~ St Malo with Dave
After working solidly on Musetta, it was time to return Dave to the ferry! Having delivered Dave to the ‘check-in’, Alan and I then went for breakfast at a little restaurant inside the beautiful walled city at St Malo. This turned out to be a very good decision as, during our breakfast, we had a panicky phone call from Dave who probably imagined that we were well on our way back to Port La Forêt. He had been refused permission to check in his huge bag of tools? Apparently he might take it into his head to take the ferry apart as she sailed back to Portsmouth?!? Fortunately we were able to retrieve the bag and Dave would have to manage without it until we returned to Portsmouth in a few days time.
20th October ~ Lift Out Day!
This is a scary (for me at least!) exercise at the best of times but even more so at Port La Forêt because the dock we had to reverse into is so narrow that we can’t get in if we use fenders, we had to rely on the padding on the slings to protect Musetta!! All was well though and the lift went smoothly.
The hoist creaked and groaned under the weight of Musetta (22 tons) but the hoist began its journey up the road until they were held up by a tractor and trailer with a ‘rib’ on it which was parked half on and half off the road making it impossible for the hoist to progress any further. The creaking was worryingly ominous, so much so that Extrado’s Pierre and François put some blocks under her keel to support her weight while they waited for the tractor to be moved. They then went on board to remove Musetta’s back stay so that, Jacques the hoist driver could shift her weight in the slings, eek! The remaining journey to her cradle was far less stressful, especially after the tractor was moved!
22nd October – Finishing up!
Because we had the apartment this year we were able to do some jobs which will make ‘fitting-out’ next Spring so much easier. Alan was able to remove old anodes and the rope-cutter and clean the prop shaft and propeller. I cleaned the rope-cutter and the fenders and then the water line, all this while the accumulated ‘growth’ was soft! It was so much easier this way.
Finally, after removing all that we needed to take home from Musetta we filled the dehumidifiers with crystals and distributed them around the boat. With her winter cover in place Musetta’s ‘Lay-up’ was complete and we set off back to Normandy for our final winter in Europe for a while!
We will back a few times over the winter to check on Musetta but meanwhile…..
……..Roll on 2018!