Here is the story of 8 [almost] strangers who chose to live in a sail boat for a week…
Ry and I felt quite fortunate when our friend Li invited us to come along with her to sail the Northwest coast of France. Of course we promptly rearranged our work schedules to make sure we didn’t miss this opportunity. Li was the only friend we would know on this trip, but we were excited to meet the rest of the crew.
Shortly after arranging flights, I immediately began to romanticize the idea of being in a boat enjoying a nice glass of vin rouge while the sun caressed my skin. I couldn’t wait to eat baguettes, creme brûlée, and the amazing array of French cheeses and creamy butter.
The day finally arrived, and after a long day of connecting flights we arrived in Rennes, France. Re had kindly volunteer to pick us up at the airport, and so we finally met him, Li, Et, and Ri. We drove a short distance to his and his wife’s lovely, cozy and very well decorated apartment. Ja and Ric were waiting there, it was nice to finally put a face to everyone’s name. Re, Ri, and Li cooked a great warm and welcoming lunch. Soon they all left ahead to go food shopping for the week and begin to set up the boat. Ry and I stayed behind to shower, rest, and wait for Se (Re’s wife) who would join us on our first 2 days of sailing.
We spent our first night at the harbor in La Trinité-sur-Mer and went to eat Moules frites before heading to bed. We set sail early am after a safety briefing. The waters were a bit more exciting than usual, and so Re, Se, and Ric ensure we remained safe, the rest of us hardly knew what to do but slowly learned sailing terminology as the days progressed. Jibing, tacking, buoy and dinghy replaced dreams of romantic sailing while sipping French wine.
what a team!
Our fist stop was Ile Houat, which required transportation via dinghy boat to land. I was feeling quite seasick and skipped the small trip. Here are some photos Ri and Li took with our camera.
Se teaching how to tie certain knots.
A few hours later we sailed to Quiberon for the night. The next am Ry, Ri, Li, and I went for a jog along the beach. It was a bit cloudy but we still enjoyed the beautiful waters and friendly locals.
Around noon we set sail to Belle Ile, we docked at Le Palais. Li, Ry and I went to explore the fort and found some secret passages which lead to the top where we enjoyed beautiful views despite being caught in the rain.
The rest of the group went to enjoy a drink at a local bar, and we reunited for dinner. The next am most of us took a bus to Les Aiguilles de Port Coton, a cliff with beautiful views of blue and turquoise water and free standing rocks.
The area is most well known for the rocks below being in one of Claude Monet’s impressionism paintings.
Sorry Li, not quite a lavender field, but they are pretty.
This little guy began leading us on our walk.
We had a few hours to spare so decided to take another bus to the Southeast part of the island, Locmaria. This area was filled with people windsurfing and enjoying the beautiful beaches. We walked around admiring the quaint architecture of the homes. 3 of us sat and enjoyed some crepes and a Breton Cola while the rest explored around the small town.
Here are some wildflowers we came across while waiting for the connecting bus to Locmaria.
Nothing but a grass field here…..
OHH, Hi Ry!
As we returned to Le Palais, Re told us to get off the bus 2 stops earlier in order to take a shortcut to the harbor. We found ourselves hiking up and down hills, hidden cobblestones paths, and under-hill tunnels. All in all, a fun little adventure off the beaten path.
We immediately began to sail to the North part of the island Sauzon. After anchoring on a buoy we took the dinghy to the small town. 4 of us rode with the harbor master who warned Ric of the potential of getting “wetass”. This word later became a joke and well, we got quite creative with the different types of ass one can have on a sailing trip.
We dined at a local pizzeria and showered before returning to the boat.
Our boat is the one with stripes.
The famous dinghy.
versus low tide…yes those are the same steps.
Oh so beautiful.
We departed Sauzon early the next am during a beautiful sunny day which turned into a 9 hour long sail. We were very exhausted upon arriving to Les Glenan islands. Which decided to explore the next am. Unfortunately it was cloudy but one could still appreciate the white sand beaches and cute canines!
Next stop Lorient! But not without some sailing fun first! Now that the wind would be behind us we used the spinnaker sail since the wind would be behind us. Next thing you know we are completely sideways and the sails are in the water. After much commotion we managed to return to a proper level and it was smooth sailing…until the a sudden gust of wind hits the sail and all of a sudden we are sideways again, and again. Re instructed us to take down the spinnaker immediately and then explained that it can only be used with certain wind speed, in this case under 12 knots. The rest of the way was true smooth sailing. We arrived to Lorient and immediately rushed to the most amazing hot shower ever. We dined at a local restaurant near the harbor.
Ry and I would depart to Paris from Lorient train station. Re, Li, Et, and Ri accompanied us on the ferry ride towards town. We stopped to grab a French breakfast of pastries and cafe ou chocolat, then to shop for some souvenirs. Some of us even got matching mariniere sweaters 🙂 which we shall wear on our next sailing trip ;-).
I love Paris, and after our short 2 days I think Ry may also like it quite a bit. We stayed at Hotel Malte, which I was very satisfied with.
We walked along the Seine river admiring the views and the boat houses before taking a cruise.
Can you tell we miss our cat and pup…
We dined in a random restaurant, followed by a leisurely stroll before heading back for some needed rest.
Above: a band playing during late hours along the Seine, if you look closely the guy playing a trumpet is wearing an alligator tail.
We spent Friday exploring the city some more, starting with Musee D’Orsay, followed by a picnic at Jardin des Tuileries, and a walk down Champ-Elysees towards Arch de Triumph. We returned to the hotel for a shower and nap. Dined at le tournebievre, then walked around and enjoyed the sunset. We hailed a taxi, I told Ryan to cover his ears while I instructed the driver to take us to La Moulin Rouge for a late show. This a must do at least once, and believe me it was not what I expected.
This chocolate fondant was amazing.
Sailing the Northwest coast of France was certainly no fantasy out of a book or a movie. It was a lot of hard work, most of us were seasick, eventually even “boat-ed out” . I still have got bruises on my legs, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world, and if asked to do so again I wouldn’t hesitate. I got to see some unusual places but most importantly, the fun memories made during a challenging voyage will forever be cherished.
Au Revoir to an amazing adventure.