Brexit, Vive la France!

Our last evening in Dublin was fun, as we had friends over at Libra, something we did last in July! However, our last night was far from fun as Libra started rocking violently in the middle of the night and we suddenly heard a loud BANG ,which made our hearts jump off our chests. We rushed out of bed only to find out that our whole cockpit and the pier was soaking wet, our rear mooring line was broken and the back end of Libra was all the way in the waterway! Jelle quickly jumped on the pier and with the help of a Dutch neighbor (who woke up due to the noise), they pulled Libra back to the pier while I stayed on board and threw a new mooring line to tie up the boat. What had happened? We suspect a tugboat passed very closely to us during the night, producing massive waves which caused Libra to rock and our line to break. Thankfully only the mooring line broke and not any cleats, cause that would be a big issue! We securely tied Libra once again and went back to sleep, but without much success, as we were both quite shaken.

On Thursday, 23rd August we left Dublin for a new sailing adventure, heading to Scilly Islands. And what an adventure it was! At first, we hoisted both our main and front sails but soon enough we had to roll in the front sail and put reefs in the main sail, as the wind gusts often surpassed 25 knots! Unfortunately, we were not quick enough, and our main sail got a rip. As soon as we noticed, we put down the main sail and covered the rip with duct tape. We hoisted our main sail once again, with 2 reefs and continued our sailing. Further down the road we noticed that the duct tape was starting to get off, so we put down the sail and rolled full our front sail, which was ripped all over! Nonetheless, we managed to sail fast with only a ripped, old jib! The trip was a mix of scare and excitement. The sea was rough and the ripped sails did not help our cause, however, Libra was, going so fast (we even reached 10 knots speed!), just flying over the waves and we managed to sail 210 nautical miles in 34 hours!

The isles of Scilly are beautiful, sunny, green and with a Mediterranean vibe. They also have terrible anchorages. The swell from the Atlantic catches you wherever you go, and although we anchored in 4 different places during our stay there, we did not get a decent night sleep due to the constant rocking of the boat. Nevertheless, our visits to the shore were totally worth it! We visited Hugh town, the capital of St Mary’s, where we stumbled upon a local charity event with BBQ, live music and many locals sitting in the grass and enjoying the sun. We also properly fixed our main sail with sail repair tape and good old thread and needle. You can barely see the repair now! The next day, on the 28th, we went to the shore again but this time with our bikes and we visited the Old Town, which was even cuter than the capital, with old stone houses and a striking sea view. The same afternoon we moved to a new anchorage, at St Helen’s Pool, which was an interesting route through rocks, only achieved with high water tide.

Wednesday, 29th August was our last day at Scilly Islands and we decided to celebrate it by treating ourselves to a delicious meal at Ruin beach Café, where we enjoyed two large oven pizzas, compliment from our friends back in Holland. Thank you Daan, Babis, Guido and Moises!

We left the same afternoon and for a few hours we had a nice sail downwind but during the night the wind died out so we had to motor all the way to our next stop, Brittany! Currents are a big deal here in Finistere, and if you do not calculate correctly the passage times, you could be in trouble. Thus, arriving on the 30th August at 4 in the afternoon at North France, we could not pass through the Chenal du Four, so we anchored temporarily at L’ Aber Il Dut. After some food and rest, we started up our engine once more and at midnight, we set course for Brest.

Travelling at night is always interesting. In the beginning it is hard, your eyes take time to adjust to the contrast of pitch black horizon and the bright colors of the buoys/lighthouses/other boats, but once you get used to that, there is a certain tranquility. There is a quietness surrounding you, which is only interrupted by the sounds of the waves or some passing birds. We successfully crossed the channel and arrived at Brest, where we entered the Marina Moulin Blanc.

Exhausted from our long trip, we spent the full Friday on the boat sleeping, eating and generally relaxing. Saturday, 1st September we decided to explore. First, we visited the Oceanopolis, a unique aquarium next to our marina, which was amazing! We saw so many different fish species, sharks, sea lions, penguins and we also learned a lot about them too!

Next stop was the city of Brest itself. The bike path took us via the Brest port and all the way to the Maritime museum, which was our next stop. The museum itself did not possess many artifacts, except a German World War II mini submarine, but it was a stone castle with beautiful views. Next, we biked around the old town, which was surrounded by a big stone wall and covered in green grass and flowers. Over the wall you could see the industrial port but also the commercial marina, quite an interesting view!

Our final stop (and my favorite) was a local restaurant “ Le Maison du Crabe”, which specialized in crab. You could only order crab, crab with oysters, crab with shrimps or crab with lobster and you were given a wooden hammer to smash the crab! So much fun and so delicious! Totally worth it! We spend the whole Sunday cleaning and fixing the boat, including changing our front sail and inspecting our keel, rudder and propeller!

Now we are at our next stop, in Audierne and preparing to cross Biscay Bay to reach North Spain. Stay tuned, as we plan to change three countries in one month!