There are two marinas in Brest……Marina de Chateau and Le Moulin Blanc. We were in the Chateau which is only 3 years old, has excellent ‘free’ wifi, water and electricity and is in the town, rather than a 20 min bus ride away. We took the bikes up the hairpin hill into town and went to an amazing supermarket where we stocked up with food and wine. The french have a completely different approach to food…..we bought a live crab from the fish counter tank for our tea and then cycled back with it scrabbling around in the bag. In England the animal rights activists would have pilloried Asda for cruelty to shellfish!

OnThursday evening another british boat pulled up behind us. A 41ft, US designed 1970s old gaffer style ketch. We took their lines and then went aboard to take a beer or two with them. Malcolm and Clare are the owners from Rye. Neal,a Canadian, and Graham joined them in Brest having flown over in Neal’s plane. They are headed in the same direction as us so we may meet up with them again. They made their way into town to look for food and we made our way back to the boat to cook our crab. We had left it hanging over the side in a bucket, surrounded by hundreds of grey mullet that seem to flourish here.

Despite the best efforts of both Dawn and Steve to let us know, we failed to check our messages soon enough and unfortunately we didn’t realise that Loïc, a friend from Brighton, was in the Moulin Blanc marina getting his icom fixed and so we have narrowly missed meeting up with him …… maybe we’ll meet up further south.
We left Brest on Friday morning and set off for Benodet, via the much demonised Raz du Seine, a notorious race between the island of Seine and the main land of France.

The Raz du Seine. The French go in for multiple lighthoues!

The Raz du Seine. The French go in for multiple lighthoues!

There is literally a lighthouse…….a house with a light on it!…. on the island marking the western edge of the race.

The Houselight

The Houselight

For once we got the tides right and came round in smooth seas and motor-sailed on into the top of the Bay of Biscay. There was a small flotilla of yachts heading in both directions to make the Raz within the tidal slot. While crossing the first bay a pod of dolphins swam towards us and played in our bow wave for a good 2 minutes

Dolphins under our bow

Dolphins under our bow

Action shot of 'dolphin's breath'

Action shot of ‘dolphin’s breath’

The coastline of Brittany is strewn with rocks and shallows, but with the iPad and the Chart plotter, we have been able to negotiate our way quite easily, although it was a relief to arrive and make our way up into the Odet river to wait out the force 6/7s that are forecast at the weekend. We entered on a flooding tide and shot up to our mooring with 5knts of tide under us.

View of Benodet from our mooring

View of Benodet from our mooring

We took the dinghy ashore to Sainte Marine…….very chic quaint.

Sainte Marine

Sainte Marine

A French couple we met said it was a bit like Salcombe…… we didn’t realise they meant the prices!
We had a pleasant evening promenading along with all the holiday makers and ate ‘al fresco’ at a Creperie. We must get the ingredients so Marcus can whip up a mix for us…..yes we have got his crepe pan onboard, along with the 2 omelette pans and fish kettle!

On Saturday we went over to the opposite bank of the river and strolled around Benodet. This is clearly a town of holiday homes for the rich from Paris. It is well manicured

A 'tidy' 'oliday 'ome

A ‘tidy’ ‘oliday ‘ome

….. not quite so chic as Sainte Marine, but still €6 for a beer is a bit steep.
In the afternoon, when the tide turned, we took the dinghy up the river to explore our way up to Quimper which is 10 miles inland

On the way up to Quimper

On the way up to Quimper

Shallow water, but a good view of the cathederal

Shallow water, but a good view of the cathederal

Plenty of fish in the river

Plenty of fish in the river

After a quick drink in a very ‘local’ cafe we caught the tide back downstream back to the boat to sit out the next couple of days of wind and rain.

Between the thundery showers

Between the thundery showers

Time to get a lot of odd jobs done…… Marcus used his dremel to shorten the outboard throttle extension. A big thank you to Ian for making him get this ‘wonder tool’. Fender socks were made, the aft cockpit was scrubbed and tidied, darning of jumpers and flags completed and we watch French Kiss……you may not know the film, but if you’ve ever been to the restaurant or spent any time on the boat, you would definitely recognise the sound track!!!

On Monday we took the bus to Quimper for a closer look at the town

The town centered around the Cathederal

The town centered around the Cathederal

In the evening we went over to Sainte Marine and these two english lads from a Dufour 54 who were trying to get money from passers by to ‘buy their mother some flowers’

Trotters Independant Traders

Trotters Independant Traders

They had all the patter of market traders, but with very up market accents! They kept us amused for ages trying to sell shells and stones from the beach for E1 each! and getting people to put money in the ‘statues’ hand…….British eccentrics in the making!

3 Comments

  1. Thinking of you both take care.

  2. Hi to you both, so glad to hear all is going well and especially that you had the company of such lovely dolphins!
    We spent two holidays in Benodet camping (with Eurocamp, no boy scout stuff) when Daniel and Eleanor were little and loved it there, the camp site was right on the beach.
    Good luck with your onward travels :)

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