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Monday, 23 June 2014

Belon - Pornichet (4 June 2014)

The day after our visit to Chez Jacky we moved on to Locmiquelic in the L'Orient estuary. We have been there before and I had been in email contact with the lady in the Capitainerie in the hope that we could leave Whileaway there for  August.  The personal visit worked - contract for 5+ weeks from end July until early September agreed!
After a couple of days, last Friday we sailed to Port du Crousty at the entrance to the Morbihan. We were then only 30nm from Pornichet where we were to leave the boat so good progress. In contrast with the quiet Belon, Port du Crousty is very very busy, a bit "motorway services" I suppose! But the peninsular is very attractive with excellent rural and coastal cycle paths and on Saturday we cycled over 20m on our Bromptons.
Two more new harbours were planned before Pornichet.  Firstly another downwind sail, in light airs on a sunny Sunday late afternoon, to Le Croisic. This is another little navigational challenge as entry is restricted to around 4 hours either side of HW; in addition you have to carefully line up with leading marks on the shore to follow a channel. Most of the harbour dries but there are some moorings in a pool which has a minimum of about 1.5m of water. We picked an empty mooring and fought our way to it - now mid tide and it was coming in very fast - but we got our lines on. The Pilot says that all the moorings are locals but visitors can use vacant ones. Over the next three hours we watched as half a dozen boats returned, fortunately none for our mooring! Le Croisic is the "city of salt" as all around are sea salt pans as well as oyster and muscle beds. We have seen the pans before but not the town. It is very attractive with some fine old buildings, a number centuries old. Two small hills in the town are apparently formed of the ballast from 19 century ships that came to take away the salt.
The photo shows Le Paule (photographed from the Town) at LW and you may just be able to see the tractors of the muscle farmers on the exposed sand in the background.
Our next harbour was only a short 15nm down wind F4 sail away. But timing is even more cruical at La Baule/Le Pouliguen. The entrance is across a long sandy beach so I was keen to visit at high water the first time. There is a marked  channel but even at HW we only had 2m. A further question is that different Pilots suggest that the minimum depth on the Visitors pontoon was somewhere 1.2 and 1.5m. And we draw 1.4m. Apart from a rib, a sailing dinghy and a catamaran we had the pontoon to ourselves. And that night we had nearly 2m of water at LW. Le Pouliguen was quiet, a pretty old town but with newer blocks of flats on the sea front. Photo shows the channel at LW!
On Tuesday we had plenty of rain from mid afternoon. And early on Wednesday morning it was getting windy. We left around 0930 LT. Fortunately Pornichet was only 4nm across the bay but it was the windiest part of our trip, gusting to 33kn,  F6/7. We wouldn't usually go out in that! Good news was that Pornichet had our berth available and we arrived very quickly!

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