I’m sitting here drinking our last bottle of shandy and considering the fact that, despite making shandy a priority on our shopping trips (they’re £2 for 10 bottles in Super U- you can see why we drink so much of the stuff), we’ve allowed ourselves to run rather low on certain essential provisions. The fact that we keep inadvertently freezing the salad stuff doesn’t help. Tonight we’re down to the last of our fresh food, and tomorrow begins the test of how well my resident chef, one Nicholas Fabbri, copes with nothing but dried and tinned food left in the cupboard. I think we have some cheese in the fridge, and possibly some yoghurt. Beyond that, it’s baked beans, couscous and canned peaches. That, and the basil plant which is having a little holiday in the sun under the sprayhood in a desperate, last ditch attempt to revive it. I look forward to the culinary delights to come.
I realise that we’re not exactly cut off from civilisation- in fact, the mainland is only a few miles away- so we can get to a supermarket whenever we need to. But that would require leaving these rather pleasant anchorages off secluded French islands that have nothing on them apart from a lighthouse or two and the tiniest of villages- if we’re lucky.
We left Ile d’Yeu a couple of days ago, and this time it was my turn to feel a little woozy. The weather wasn’t terrible, and the swell slowly dropped off during the course of the day so I kept the nausea at bay by slowly munching my way through the diminishing contents of our snack cupboard. Hey, maybe I was just a bit peckish. Once again we had high winds on the nose, so had to motorsail. We reached our destination, Ile Houat, in the early evening and it took some time before we found a spot to our liking due to the high number of sailing boats packed into this picturesque, sandy bay. However, thanks to our lifting keel, we were able to get in nice and close to the shore and take full advantage of the wind-break created by the island.
The next morning we had big plans for a circumnavigation of the island by bike (the island was only 2 miles long, and about half a mile wide, so we were confident this wouldn’t impinge on our equally big plans for a lazy afternoon drinking shandy in the cockpit), but no sooner had we stepped ashore, dragging our heavy dingy with our heavy bikes inside, we were accosted by the local police (I was pretty surprised at the presence of police on an island so small, but whatever) who told us that our boat was anchored too close to the shore. There’s a line of yellow buoys that you’re meant to stay behind, but on our arrival we saw many french boats on the wrong side of them (two were even dried out on the beach itself), so we decided to live dangerously for once and join them. But those boats were long gone now, leaving us to face the authorities alone. The cops were pretty strict about it: we had to move. Now. So that ruined our plans for our little bike ride, but we did manage to negotiate a slight reprieve to allow us a quick trip to the local boulangerie where we bought a lovely ham and melty cheese baguette thing. So at least the excursion ashore wasn’t a complete waste.
We moved the boat out, re-anchored, enjoyed a lovely lunch of fresh bread, salad and chicken and spent the rest of the afternoon reading on deck, relieved that if any part of our day was to be interrupted at least it wasn’t the bit where we get to sit around doing nothing.
This morning we left Ile Houat and once again motored to an archipelago of islands called, collectively, Les Iles des Glenan. There’s nothing here apart from a sailing school and one bar- not on the island we’re anchored off, alas- but it’s very picturesque and makes a pleasant change from the more lively marinas we’ve spent so much time in on this trip so far.
Tomorrow we plan on making another long (well, longish- these things are relative) passage north, and we’re looking to be back in the UK in two short weeks! We can’t believe how quickly the last month has gone and how much we’ve done, and we’re determined to make the most of the rest of our time in this incredible country.