After our long and somewhat circuitous journey from Guernsey, we were anchored in a bay at the mouth of a river next to a fort built to keep the marauding English away. The next morning there was no wind and none expected that day so we decided to take a tour up river. The river is tidal but at high tide there was going to be plenty of water so we left early and followed the rising water upstream.
To begin with we passed a small fishing village and it was immediately obvious we were in France – you don’t see louvred shutters in England. Then the river became much narrower and we were sailing along with cars passing us on the roads on each side. We waved to the occasional cyclists and they returned our greeting. There is something very surreal about travelling on a 36 foot sailing yacht through the middle of the french landscape waving to passers by. A few times we nearly touched the mud below us but with a rising tide we were all in chilled mode.
We passed under a huge bridge that carried the motorway over us and then rounded a bend and saw the lock in to the town harbour ahead. We began preparing to tie up to the chains hung on the wall but the harbourmaster came jogging out to meet us and told us we could enter the lock immediately. Luckily his English was better than our French so he was able to explain where we should berth and give us a little map so that we couldn’t get lost. With the exception of Porthmadog he was the only harbourmaster we have met to be so well organised. Must be a celtic trait.
The harbour is in the historic city of Morlaix so after mooring we set off to explore the old town center and the huge viaduct that carries the TGV trains over the valley. Once we had looked at the old houses faced with stone shingles, we did some serious price comparing in the local supermarkets. We were so successful that we could even afford vanilla ice doused in Baileys (actually cheap substitute Baileys – we are unemployed 🙂
Having spent a morning being tourists we buckled down to some serious cleaning, deck scrubbing and anchor chain remarking (thanks Max) before rewarding ourselves with a bottle of wine with dinner and another glass at the harbour side bar.
It’s a tough life in France.