We left Doaurnenez at 16.00 on the high tide on the 8th of August. We had at great meal at Emily’s restaurant in Douarnenez , all organic produce and beautifully cooked ! We left with wine samples for restaurants in Nantes, the crew labelled the wine samples we stocked up on bread and veg and headed south for the Raz de Sein. This is a passage through the rocks off Chaussee de Sein and important to go through it with the tide. We had both wind and tide favourable at 20.55 we were through heading 100 degrees towards Isle de Houat. The moring bought a beautiful sunrise, flat seas and wind it could not be better sailing. Hot too !
We anchored off Houat island (similar feel to Herm or Sark in the Channel Islands) for a quick swim and row ashore. We had dinner on deck and set sail again that evening . We had to be at the river Loire entrance by 05.00 in the morning to get the full tide up to Nantes. The first bridge we went under was the Nazaire bridge to a small river side village called Paimbouef. Here we sailed onto the pontoon and delivered some wine samples to restauranteur Stefan. The River Loire has a very different feel to our South UK coastal rivers, it is hot down there, the water is brown and it has a almost jungle or West African coast feel to it…we kept expecting to see hippos…….it was really quite exciting to be somewhere new 20 miles up a river , hot, hot weather and small home built wooden boats coming to see us it was quite exotic ! All the way up the river there were wacky art pieces around ..a house marooned at an angle which apparently has something to do with a theatre company….hanging sculptures, boats etc come the afternoon we were alongside our berth in the city centre of Nantes some 30 miles up river.
The crew had some time ashore over the weekend and we had lovely meals on deck late in the evening fairy lights twinkling in the covers lots of organic beautiful wine to share. Great facilities on the pontoon showers and sinks for washing up reminded me of early childhood camping holidays. We were moored 10 mins walk from the centre of Nantes a beautiful city. Good to be away from the coastal seaside towns and in a normal working city watching all go by. We had lots of visitors and friends of our Breton crew came to visit. We also had three local reporters and a radio reporter come to interview us. Once rested Tuesday bought the new wine delivery 3 tonnes of wine from Stephane Orieux’s vineyard in La Touche about 5o km from Nantes. Stephane turned up with the delivery and all his family. The school holidays meant we had all the teenage children and smaller children helping us with the loading. It was a special day. I feel especially moved by this moment because here we were two small family businesses supporting each other and all our children were helping, it felt good, wholesome and old fashioned. We were loading white, rose and sparkling wine bound for Douarnenez, Falmouth and Totnes. Once the wine was loaded and we had taken many pictures and sampled some new wine we had a day to wander the city again before our departure towards the sea on the evening tide.