Bonjour. We’re in France

We have made it out of England. Finally. After waiting for a few weeks to finish jobs (I say that but Chris is fixing something as I write…boat life.) and wait for good weather we made it. We decided against a Biscay crossing for the kids sake and the sake of my stomach, sadly the latter suffered anyway. It took us just under two days to get from Plymouth to Lorient. We were exhausted and couldn’t really face the thought of navigating into a busy marina at low tide, so we dropped the anchor and waited until morning. At 6.30 we rose, very sluggishly, in order to reach Lorient’s marina at exactly high tide. But missed it again. Even now I’m not entirely sure how. I think our speed and probably our motivation was ebbing. We admitted defeat and sailed on to Belle Ilse. At this point we were conflicted. We hadn’t cleared immigration and all the information we had been given was very contradictory. We had called the office and left messages. Although, our French is disastrous, so I’m not sure exactly what we were leaving a message regarding; the only word we could make out was ‘message.’ Unsurprisingly, we haven’t heard back. Still fighting sleep we pushed on to Belle Ilse and dropped the anchor in a small, rocky, beach cove. Rocky coves are not ideal as the anchor can become wedged but we had little choice. At our first stop we encountered divers, as it turned out  their frantic waving was NOT a warm welcome. Best not to wave happily back. I discovered. We hoped to get a great night’s sleep. It wasn’t to be. Chris set our new anchor alarm. It was highly efficient and a little over zealous; nothing like keeping us on our toes. By now, as you can imagine our petite passengers were becoming mutinous. I wasn’t far away myself. Having been out for three days with no shower, we were determined to settle somewhere long enough to breathe.

We headed out towards a little marina on the coast but once again we we didn’t make it. Immigration were still off the radar and we didn’t want to step on land and risk a large fine. This meant reaching a port of entry, not a small marina on a beautiful beach coast. So, off we went again. This time headed for La Rochelle. We arrived twenty hours later and a little sunburnt.  But we had a great sail. The wind was on our side and we tracked along at 6 knots for nine hours with barely any tacking. By midnight the wind grew tired and we were at a standstill, no amount of sail adjustment was giving us any speed. So for the last leg we motor-sailed, into La Rochelle. By now we had been out for five days and as, on a boat, you need to ration water, we were afraid to wash and very smelly. Having run out of water on a day sail back in Plymouth, I wasn’t going to make that mistake again. La Rochelle marina is huge with 3,000 berths. I have to be honest. I hate, hate arriving at marinas, even our home berth in Plymouth. Chris is a fantastic skipper but there is so much that can go wrong in a few short seconds and I’m not sure the butterflies will ever settle. I’ll take dropping the anchor any day. But marina’s have water and power and fuel, not to mention, actual, real, stand up showers, as opposed to a hose on the end of a tap, in the head where there isn’t room to swing a cat. It’s all good though and we are thoroughly, crazily, happy to be away and exploring incredible places with our little family. It is an idyllic life, of sorts. It is not the romantic ideal that so many people tell me they imagine. It is cramped and exhausting and challenging and sometimes, terrifying. It’s hard work. Even writing this post, I have had to go and be assistant to Chris, who is working shifting cables and creating small boat miracles. Things that will make our lives so much easier living abroad. But with all that said, who doesn’t dream of sailing away, off into the sunset and we actually get to……

If you’re interested in following our journey feel free to track us on the link below:

https://eur-share.inreach.garmin.com/UnderTheStars

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Bonjour. We’re in France”

  1. It’s crazy the pictures tell a story of “smooth sailing” but it sounds like hard work! Hopefully on the next leg of your journey you will be blessed with a perfect sail! Lots of love xx

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    1. Thanks lovely. I couldn’t describe my seasickness it was too painful hahaha!!! I really hope the next leg is smooth, it involves two days over Biscay to Spain. So much love. Hope the new business plans are going well!

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  2. It sounds horrendous but also adventurous. Hopefully you will get some smooth sailing where you can enjoy the scenery and sun bath with the family on deck. Take care and look forward to the next post. We are following you on Ship Finder

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    1. Fab, I’m glad it works. We’re in La Rochelle for a while now, while a load of low pressures pass by. It’s really lovely here so it’s so good to have a rest. But you know Chris he’s itching to get moving again. Hopefully soon! You know you guys are always welcome to come visit. It’d be better sailing than Plymouth for sure and warmer!

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