Monday 17th July
Anchorage south of the entrance to Gulf of Morbihan
In some ways it was amazing that we untied Whinchat at all. The chap on the British boat said that storms were coming, with strong winds, so he was heading into the Villaine for cover. We were obsessively checking the weather, not really finding evidence to support his claims. The clouds that hung heavy in the morning were burnt back by the sun, and there was a nice breeze. We had the task of taking Bessie to the vet to get her passport stamped and signed off, but had to make an appointment for the following day.
At noon we decided to just go sailing… but with a dog to toilet as well as the usual faff involved in preparing the boat for sea (stowing everything down below, taking the covers off, taking the tent down) it was another half an hour before we set off. It was a ‘and now for something completely different’ location, not Houat, but further down the coast, to an open bay a few miles south of the entrance to Morbihan. I had the helm out, and it was delightful sailing, trying to pinch the wind to make the waypoint, and avoid too many tacks. The wind was blowing about 14 knots, so Whinchat was flying along, in full sail, more or less in the right direction. One small deviation for a fishing boat trawling a net, and that was it… until we had to tack into the bay to find our anchorage. There was no one else there. Not really surprising as we later worked out.
The bay was very gently shelving, at low depths, which meant at 5m, we were miles off the beach (well, not quite, but..) meaning it was too far to go in the dingy. Bessie wouldn’t get a run ashore. The other thing was that there was a plague of bugs that descended, from the teeny-tiny, barely can see, through flies, ladybirds and the occasional big bugger that looked pretty hairy. I spent the whole of the journey back flicking a towel around trying to persuade this invasion to go elsewhere. With not being able to ferry Bessie to shore, we had to try to persuade her to swim. That hadn’t been a problem before, but it seems our Bessie isn’t so sure about swimming. Pete got onto the dingy, and hauled her down, so that she be tempted in, but not really. Pete lowered her into the water, and she made frantic paddles to get back in. Somehow I thought it would be a good idea if I went for a swim, to see if she’d swim with me. Well. I lowered myself into the cold water, and channeled my inner-Penny to be brave, and swam over towards the dingy. Downwind. Easy. Pete said that Bessie jumped in when I was near, and she did swim towards me, but then tried to use me to get out of the water. I could feel her scraping at me, pushing me under. For a few moments it was terrifying. I really thought she could have drowned me. It seemed ages until she stopped; Pete said she swam back to the dingy, where he lifted her in. I swam over too, heart racing, lungs heaving, and clung on until I’d composed myself. Whinchat was floating, only about 20m away, at the end of the dingy line, but it was a massive effort to swim back against the wind. I was very happy to cling on to the swim ladder. If I am to swim in Greece, I need to get some swimming practice in!
With us all back on board, there wasn’t much point in hanging around collecting more bugs, so we upped anchor and set sail.. for about 20 minutes, until the wind died. Pete reported zero wind and zero speed, so with a dramatic flourish, he fired up the engine. Whoops. 90 minutes of motoring to get us back to the marina. The wind dying wasn’t in the plan. The upside was I could open all the hatches and flush out the bugs that had found their way down below, the downside was obsessive watching of the oil pressure and temperature gauges. The nani engine got us back to port, where we were staggered to see even more boats than over the weekend. How did that work? Once again we were approached by the Accueil boat and asked to have someone raft up, saying that it was the last place in the marina… Ah well.