Seeing the family off, Auray River and Morbihan

Thursday 1st August From Hoedic back to Houat 6 nm

We went ashore for a walk, taking the dinghy up to the port, Port de L'Argol, where we moored it off a pontoon giving access to the beach. Yachts were moored in clusters around three large mooring buoys, and the ferries berthed on the west wall.

Hoedic was very attractive, much more so than my retained memories when Peter, then 13, was thoroughly obnoxious there. There were many more visitors in evidence than we had seen on Houat, with plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants to support them, and good crowds at each. We found the boulangerie, next to the church, and having purchased a grande boule and fruit loaf for lunch, we took a look inside the church. The church had a curved wood lined ceiling from which model sailing ships hung down. We then walked to the southern port, finding that the weather there was very different, and visibility reduced by fog to a few hundred yards. From there we went to the fort, a relatively modern structure dating to the 1850's, in which there appeared to be an exhibition and also some accomodation. It was unfortunately lunch time, so closed.

Port de la Croix, on the south side
was shrouded in fog
The 19th century fort

We returned to the boat to find the wind had shifted to the west, and there was now very little shelter in our bay. After lunch we set off for the short sail back to Houat where we eventually anchored in our usual spot off the old port, although the south easterly swell was persisting there.

Friday 2nd August La Trinite 15nm

We had a relatively calm night, and it took a while to get going. The family went ashore with beach boards, sailboard and all equipment, but the promise of early sunshine turned to squally rain, and they returned aboard for lunch. After lunch we packed up, and enjoyed a good sail with the wind on a broad reach back to La Trinite. The visitors' berth was full, but we were lucky to be helped into a berth rafted outside a large Beneteau in the northern part of the harbour.

Saturday 3rd August Auray River 15nm

The bags were packed, and the various sailboard equipment bagged, before taking them ashore by dinghy to the car. After lunch the family set off for their half way hotel in Caen. Mo and I breathed out, and I took the car park fob back to the office, stopping for cash and an internet recharge. We filled the boat with water and set off down river. There was a fresh breeze from the south west, so that we made good progress around to the entrance of the Morbihan. The tides were all wrong, and in full spate against us, but fortunately only neaps. We were able to carry sail and make our way slowly up the Auray river, dropping the sails only to negotiate a dog leg before our selected anchorage. We dropped the hook just outside some private moorings on the outside of a bend in the river.

Sunday 4th August

A B'll day. We felt we deserved one.

Monday 5th August

Another B'll day, I think. We did not move! I spent most of the day glued to the computer. Our lettings agency wanted an agreement signed, and had decided that the way to do this was by adding an electronic signature to a document browsed on the internet. With a dodgy internet connection this proved to be very difficult, and in the end I gave up and asked them to sign it on our behalf as they used to do.

The weather was pretty foul, with rain and strong winds all day, and as we were quite isolated in our anchorage we could not see the point of getting wet to try to go ashore.

Tuesday 6th August

We decided to venture up river, and see if we could find an anchorage from which we could explore Auray by dinghy. We motored up without problems, except at one point where we misread the channel and nearly grounded amongst the moorings. There was plenty of room to the east of them. We reached Le Rocher, where the Bono river leaves the main river to Auray, and found room to anchor out of everyone's way south of the southerly cardinal.

The road up to Auray centre ville
was lined with art galleries
After lunch we set off in the dinghy on the rising tide to explore Auray. As we reached there, the outboard showed signs of fuel starvation and I jiggled the tank to get the built in 'reserve'. We landed just below the old bridge. Although we had a spare can, I was slightly concerned about our fuel situation, so we set off up the hill through the town centre to try to find some petrol. Mo felt we should leave our cans behind, but when we did find a garage it was so far that I didn't want to go back to the dinghy to fetch one. Fortunately they sold spare cans, and we were able to return with a fill to the dinghy.

At this point we felt free to explore, and we had a further walk around Saint-Goustan, on the right bank of the river, opposite the main town. Some of the buildings date back some way, and the quay was named after Benjamin Franklin who had landed there. Colliers used to come up to the quay to be loaded. There were plenty of people about enjoying themselves, and a busker playing the saxaphone lent an evocative air to to proceedings. There were a number of art galleries as well as restaurants and bars of various kinds. It looked as if there might be a party in the making, as a stage had been erected on the quay, and barriers were being set up.

Franklin quay andSt Goustan moorings

On our return (still on reserve) we thought we would have a look at the village of Bono, close to our anchorage. We were looking for space to land on the pontoon when the 'port authority' babbled at us, sufficient for us to understand that we were not allowed to anchor. He was however happy for us to use his fore and aft moorings, but Mo would have none of it, and preferred to return to our previous anchorage where we had not been molested. So that is what we did, and Bono did not get our custom. Nor unfortunately could we go to the party at Auray!

Wednesday 7th August Le Bourg, Ile d'Arz, 9 nm?

We decided that we had been marooned in our rather isolated anchorage for long enough, and that we should return to the anchorage of Le Bourg, on the Ile d'Arz. As it is approaching Springs, we decided to do this around low tide, and we set off without having had lunch on what should have been the last of the ebb. We decided to enjoy the trip, and instead of motoring we set the jib. This gave us around 3-4 knots through the water, but there was already some tide in the Auray river against us. By the time we reached the bottom of the river, near the entrance, where the channel to Vannes divides, there was already a flood tide running. We were carried along in 6 knots of current with rips and whirlpools everywhere, and this surprised us as we thought it was around low water! We took the channel south of the Ile aux Moines, and once out of the main drag things quietened down so that we had a pleasant sail with a favourable tide. There were already quite a few boats anchored, so we continued to the far end of the beach, so that we could find a spot as far as possible out of the tide.

Thursday 8th August

After breakfast we decided to tackle the aft cabin, clearing it out and making sure there was no sand left following Tom and Emma's occupation. We then re-stowed the bikes, sewing machine, printer and bedding in their normal storage mode.

I had been trying to renew my internet connection, as the current allowance runs out after the 9th., but it had been a frustrating process on Orange's web site, and so far I had had no success. I had tried several different credit cards, when I managed to get past the initial traps. I eventually sent them an e-mail, and awaited the outcome.

After lunch we went ashore for a walk on the island, and headed through the village and out to the west where there is a restored tide mill. It was an enjoyable walk, and we were glad to get back to the boat and decided that we would allow ourselves two glasses of wine in view of our efforts. As the evening was warm and pleasant, we enjoyed sitting in the cockpit watching the sailing dinghies go by. There was some kind of event ashore, a fireman's ball, we thought, but were too shattered to go back to find out.

The Morbihan, oyster culture, islands, boats and ferriesThe wreck of an old fishing boat on the beach
The restored tide millMill wheel

Friday 9th August.

Mo had been worrying about an unpleasant whiff that had been accompanying flushing the toilet for some time. We had tried flooding the system with bleach and with 'clean and green' sachets, without much effect. I agreed to look in the cupboard to see if there was any leakage, and was relieved to find none. However Mo was convinced the source was within her 'magic cupboard' underneath the heads handbasin, and as she was willing to empty the cupboard, I felt compelled to take the covering lid off the vacuum tank installation. The pipe connections were fine, but there was some liquid sitting in the bellows of the pump that should not have been there. The investigation was inconclusive. I found one screw needing tightening, but could find no dramatic leak, and it was almost certainly not the source of Mo's whiff. Without spares for the tank assembly, I feel powerless to do more!

An old mill building by the old manor house

In the afternoon we went ashore for another foray around the island. This time we headed around the coastal path to the east. Once past the beaches where people were enjoying themselves, it was very peaceful. We sat for a while listening to the birds, with fish surfacing in the shallows, and the tide slowly coming in. Bicycles, and bicycles with carts, rule on the island, and there are only a handful of cars. There are a lot of French holidaymakers, but few foreign voices amongst them. We returned to the boat and tonight cups of tea were in order, and wine only came with supper.

Orange came back on the e-mail, and apparently they only accept French credit cards. I tried YBW for advice, and it seems it is possible to recharge using the coupon I bought in La Trinite. We will see what happens in the morning!

Saturday 10th August

My internet top up had run out, but we still had service with the starter allowance that came with the sim card. The mobicarte top up that I had bought was rejected as incompatible with my tarif. So much for that! We will have to go to Vannes to sort it.

We had run out of fruit, and our long life bread had gone off, so our first priority was to get ashore and visit the Spar shop. We picked up fruit and veg and some tinned tomatoes as Mo was running out, and returned to the dinghy with two loaded haversacks. After lunch we tackled the cockpit locker: the Avon needed to be re-stowed having been brought out in expectation that Tom and Emma would enjoy it. In the event it had not been blown up. I took the opportunity to stow some winter lines and some of our old dock lines. I then set about the 'new' water pump that was out of service because it was not switching off promptly. I found an adjustment to do with the pressure relief and after playing with this it seemed better. The shower pump had also recovered following our encouragement of it with the dinghy pump, and I cleared the filter of the material that had been blocking the pipe. All in all we felt pretty good, and decided to have a couple of drinks to celebrate, and hang the diet!