Port Haliguen to Treac’h er Beniguet, Ile Houat
Tuesday 4th July 2017
E 2-3 dying, and then swinging through to W2-3
Smooth, sparkly seas
It’s always a good day when you see the sun rise – not as in watching the dawn (that would be ridiculously early) – but watching the sun climb over the sea wall. That was 06:45, when Bessie whined to be let out. When the day is that inviting, with a lovely breeze setting the marina flags fluttering, it feels rude not to sail. After the inevitable faff, we set off about 10:30, Whinchat’s mooring lines having set rather after 5-6 weeks in position. The lines were stiff, and grubby. Two minutes in, and grubby transferred onto me. Unimpressed (girl). Bessie was happy to be back in her dayglo buoyancy aid, which she seems to wear like a badge of honour, and seals her further as a wonderful boatdog.
The wind wasn’t all that; unhelpful direction for seeking out an anchorage on Houat, and decidedly fickle. I had the first helm, but the lingering cold got the better of my sinuses. There is only so much fresh sea air they could withstand. Much better to repose in the cockpit and slip into a gentle sleep, the sound of the sea lapping at the hull. Bessie and I had the same idea. What wind there was faded, and approaching the rocky outcrops to the western end of Houat, Pete deployed the engine. It comes to something when he gives up on the wind.
It seemed that anyone out on the water today had the same idea for the easterly wind; the sheltered western end of Ile Houat. There were 15 boats already anchored, probably half the amount that you’d see in August. We edged between a couple of yachts, but the anchor didn’t set straight off, earning the ‘meerkat’ reaction of the folks on the boat off the stern. Time to try again. We hauled anchor, and tried again. After a little bouncing, the rochna set, but we were lying at odds to everyone else. The Skipper already stressed. With the dingy still to inflate, and a dog pacing the decks, it didn’t do much to lower the cortisol levels. I was convinced she needed to poo (exploding bowels earlier – was that too much information?) I made lunch when Pete toiled on deck, but it was unsatisfactory to eat. We decided, in barely a few words, that I would stay on Whinchat and Pete would ferry Bessie ashore. I baked in the sun on board, as Whinchat shuffled about on her anchor (along with everyone else), and Pete suffered on shore. A rogue wave caught them as they landed, tumbling Bessie into the water (apparently she loved it), and soaking Pete. He rolled pine cones for her for a while, but she refused to poo until he’d walked her off the beach (no-shoes Pete; retrieving a poo in the prickly scrub grasslands at the back of the beach). I watched them, Bessie tearing up and down, and Pete now trying to entice her back to the dingy. Nope. Not having any of that. I watched Pete stomp towards the dingy, as Bessie retreated up the beach. Even I said ‘little minx’. I must’ve been distracted, as the next thing I saw was Pete upending the dingy, the engine and oars on the shore. Bessie still some way off. And then, I saw he had her in the little dingy, paddling off the beach. No. Not paddling, but rowing. What had gone wrong with the electric engine? Pete didn’t really know, but they returned, hardly friends. Whinchat had swung around, but not in any risk of bumping our neighbouring boats.
It can only be described as a wholly unsatisfactory stop. Pete and Bessie full of sand, scattering it about the boat. Pete needed to completely change his clothes, all soaking and stiff with sand. The treat bag contained welded kibble and sand, like cement. It was a relief to leave. Pete sullen. Bessie sparko. Fortunately the wind was perkier, and a little more helpful in direction, for the return to port. Pete helmed all of the way, easing his mood, as I joined Bessie in a long afternoon snooze.
On a day when things could have gone from bad to worse, the marina hadn’t let out our berth (my fear) and we did a near-perfect mooring. Near-perfect? I’m not sure how we could have improved it. It was under complete control, no fuss, no raised voices, nothing damaged. No. That’s perfect. Let us be kind when kind is due. Sadly we noticed a munch near the port-bow. Nothing of our making (you would know), so we can only assume that someone has taken a chunk out of it. There has been some stiff winds whilst we were back home, and the French and mooring, well, since my observations of a few years ago… nothing much has changed.
Back on board, and provisions were at the ‘fridge food’ level. Just about enough to make a meal, but very ‘ready, steady, cook’. Fortunately there is always chilled wine to help reflect and make sense of the day.