Position Report: La Rochelle July 15th
Holidays from hell on offer. Read all about it !!
After the drama of the storm in Concarneau, Siobhan and I were looking
forward to some sunny
relaxed sailing southeast among the islands off the French west coast.
We had a day of resting, tidying up the boat, uploading the website,
and getting food stocks sorted. Then we left on a cloudy day which
brightened up well giving us great sailing in light airs on a moderate
sea. That night we spent on Ile de Groix, in the picturesque
harbour of Port Tudy.
The island itself is only 5 miles by one mile
but seems to have a reasonable year round population. We ambled across
the island to get a feel for the place, but also to get a hunger
up. Naturally this made us thirsty which we solved with a pint
of Beamish overlooking the harbour.
The following morning we awoke to seas like glass, sun and zero wind.
We decided to cover ground since we had lost a few days due to the
storm. We motored past the beautiful Belle Ile and its offshore
islands before entering La Turballe, a small fishing port with a
This place brought back a lot of memories for the skipper who
had spent three weeks nearby as a sixteen year old learning french.
The popular beach beside the harbour is a nudist beach at one end.
Shall we say I was surprised to discover this fact as a hormonal
semi adolescent when I was brought there by the family I was staying
In La Turballe we met Nancy and Michael, refugees from Sligo, who
happened to be heading in our general direction over the next few
days. They were only the third Irish boat we had seen since the
Scilly Isles so long ago. The next day we planned to meet up in
Ile D'Yeu but the day brought swell of up to 2 metres and 18
knots of wind. While Suckin Diesel was revelling in the conditions,
the crew was not so we diverted to Ile de Noirmoutier and the marina
of L'Herbaudiere otherwise known as Herbivore to the crew
There was a definite shift here in architecture here with lots
of whitewashed cottages with terracotta tiled roofs. In fact you
would almost think you were in the south of Spain. We were rafted
outside a German with the cleanest boat you have ever seen. I can
only presume that she is new and he is bringing her home. I am
not sure what he thought of the messy people on board Suckin' Diesel
who had to cross his deck, dirtying it as they went.
(At least I checked my shoes, the french have alot of dogs, and they
leave presents everywhere...)
Winds eased a little but the seas remained moderate so we stayed
a second night, having a lovely day wandering along the coast and
byroads inland from the marina. We spoiled ourselved that night
as there had been a market in town that day so we got some fresh
local produce. The recipie books were brought out and we ended up
making spicy fish roisti. We replaced the fish, which we were too
late for, with merguez sausages, which worked well with the fresh
herbs and lime in the mix. A real success that was, one to be
added to the websites recipies.
An overcast but calm morning followed as we motored off to head south
to Les Sables D'Olonne, made famous by Ellen McArthur in the Vendee
Globe race a few years ago. Entering between the two piered walkways,
we could just begin to inagine what it must have been like for her
to see the crowds who greeted her
that day she arrived back.
On berthing at the Capitainerie (marina
office) Michael arrived to take our lines. So the Irish refugees were
reuinted again. The marina, though large, is most impressive for its
boat building facilities around it. Having a brand new 57 foot
boat pass you and spotting more berthed all around you is quite
impressive. We all had a good feed that night, complete wwith spuds
of course and a bit of wine. Nancy and Michael exited the marina
alongside Suckin' Diesel the next morning. They were off to Ile de
Re while our destination was La Rochelle.
Sadly Siobhan would have
to head off from there as she had to meet up with her friend Fiona
in Paris. But her last night on Suckin Diesel was to be a good one
as it was Bastille Day and we expected the French to put on a big
(Not just for me of course)
Just a footnote from Siobhan