Having been on a day trip to Jersey, many years ago, I wanted to re-acquaint myself with the Island. Jude and I had decided that we would stay two nights in the marina. The first day was spend shopping in St Helier. Duty free of VAT, prices were below expectations. An enjoyable day just mooching about the town and sea front area, and included booking a hire car for the following day. A quiet evening on the boat was followed by a good nights sleep and the next day we picked up the car. Do they drive on the left or right in Jersey? Not helped by turning out of the hire depot into a series of one way streets. As I was the driver we somehow decided on an anticlockwise tour of the Island. We headed for the headlands we had rounded by sea a couple of days ago. A sobering visit to Point Cobiere as it was scattered with WW 2 defence relics including gun emplacements and lookout positions made of very thick concrete. The pain and suffering of those involved in the occupation of the Island during the war must have been immense.
Our journey continued around the wild and beautiful West coast of the Island . Low lying with stunning sandy beaches were replaced on the North side of the Island by coves, inlets and high sided cliffs, akin to North Cornwall. The East side is a mixture of the two with rock outcrops extending far out to sea surrounded at low tide by golden sand.
The following day was met by poor weather so decision made to stay put. High winds and rain were the order of the day, but we did manage to come out of self inflicted hibernation late in the afternoon and shopped around St.Helier with a view to pricing up a pair of folding bikes. We declined the offer of a carbon fibre ‘G Tech’ folding cycle at £2800 each!
The next day, Saturday 29th July 2017 we left the Marina in St Helier and ventured out to sea. Ok, Ok we all make mistakes and with the benefit of hindsight travelling in a south westerly direction for 36 odd miles into a strong south westerly wind possibly wasn’t the best idea. What in essence should have taken around 6 hours took 12. O’ boy what a mistake. The tide turned when we were 10 miles off the French coast. Well we tried everything to reduce the 10 mile gap but it proved difficult. We went South, we went North, we ploughed straight towards our destination with engine straining, but the tides in this area are very very strong. Our track on the GPS chartplotter resembled a spider weaving a cobweb having had a heavy night on drugs! Eventually through a series of trial and errors we entered the mouth of the River Trieux in semi darkness. Again not ideal as the river mouth is strewn with some very inhospitable rocks, and my eyes were glued to the chartplotter as we weaved our way up the river to an identified anchorage spot.
Now in darkness, surrounded by rock on three sides, oyster beds underneath us we had to carefully pick our spot and launch 30 KG of anchor and chain in the vain hope it didn’t end up on top of a fishermans livelihood in terms of oysters. Jude and I had an uncomfortable night at anchor, compounded by the fact that the rocks were close, very close, will the anchor hold, and the 30 Knts plus wind which decided to accompany us for most of the night. At day break I woke up to survey the scene outside. Flipping heck. We were bang in the middle of this inlet, away from the valuable oyster beds and far enough away from the dreaded rocks. Hopefully the end to a very unpleasant 24 hours which left Jude and I totally exhausted!
Time for rest and recuperation, so we upped anchor and travelled up stream some four miles to the sheltered waterway of Lazardrieux. The town is small and we again decided to drop the big hook a little way downstream and eventually used the dinghy to reach the shoreline in what was beautiful sunshine. We needed a walk as we had been confined to Moneypenny for too long. A brisk stroll along the highways and byeways of rural France and following our sense of direction (mine by the way, not Judith’s)it lead us to the town of Lazardrieux. A very French town in the sense that the centre is dominated by a church around which the town was then built. Got to get used to the fact that nothing, absolutely nothing happens in France between 12md and 2pm. We managed to purchase roll, pate, etc and enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch on a bench overlooking the marina. After an equally long walk back to the dinghy, we returned to Money Penny and opened the Champagne to celebrate arriving on French Shores.
The following day we moved further down stream to an anchorage on the ‘Ile de brehat’ (Brehat island). Wow. what a stunning place. having pushed our way into the anchorage we leaped into the dinghy and motored ashore to discover this island which was displaying all the signs of being exceptional. We were not let down. There are some 350 inhabitants on the island, yet there seem to be more houses than inhabitants!. Paris holiday home area prevails me thinks. With no cars allowed on the island you either walk or cycle which was idylic, no noise, no pollution. A leisurely walk reinforced our intitial thoughts that this island had to be promoted to number one in our hit parade of the nicest place visited so far on the Alistair/Judith adventure.
Isle De Brehat
Our Anchorage on Isle de Brehat
We dinghyied (if there isn’t such a word then I’ve just made it up) back to the boat and the following day couldn’t resist revisiting this enchanting island. Remember we are only about a mile off the French mainland at this point. We travelled in the dinghy to the island port where we mixed in with the tripper boats. French day tripper boats do not give way to Welsh man and English woman in a rubber dinghy was the order of the day! Again the island did not disappoint, with narrow paths, rocky outcrops and very desirable properties. A small three bedroomed cottage will set you back 1.3 million Euro should you have the urge to purchase.
That afternoon, taking full advantage of the outgoing tide we headed from Ile de Brehat to a neighbouring river estuary called Treguier. Having read a magazine article on anchorage spots in the Treguier river Judith was keen to put her new found knowledge to the test and we anchored Money Penny about half and mile downstream from the town bearing the rivers name. We anchored on a bend in the river under a cliff face and near to a chateau. Well, if I owned that chateau I'd have the chainsaw out as soon as the papers were signed. All the river views from the large maison were screened by a wall of mature evergreens. No doubt some obscure French/ European law prevents the felling of trees that blight the view from your own posh abode.
Our Anchorage in the Treguier River