Belle Ile

Chris & Sally Longstaff
Tue 25 Jul 2006 22:14

To Belle Ile

                A refreshing stop on the way

Arriving at Sauzon the approach reminds me of time in the Peloponnese, where high cliffs obscure the approach to the very last, and only when at the right angle can you see a welcome harbour.

Moored on a buoy in the outer harbour while we wait for 1metre of tide to allow us inside. Meanwhile the girls go off to wash, book a restaurant (of their choice, I must be mad!), and generally respond to the enthusiastic reception that ‘we’ seemed to generate from a section of the young male population; all obviously keen young sailors.

Dinner superb (well done girls!) Sole, Dorado, and something called “Lotte” I think, all splendid. Chilled Muscadet, from sufficiently close to the Loire for us to be able to call it “local” ?

                  Dinner entertainment

A late evening and groups of French kids roam the quay making a huge amount of noise….all having a jolly good time no doubt. They don’t have the drinking culture that we have but they seem to make up for it in general rowdiness; like roaming packs of feral dogs barking aimlessly at the night. Doesn’t anyone claim ownership?!

Sitting up late with a glass of Robert’s splendid Madeira (cheers Robert) there’s an amazing array and clarity of reflections of masts and rigging in the water that make the harbour appear full of Dali-stilted boats eerily propped all around. Definitely bed time.

The morning looks grey, so we plan to sail on. Have to manoeuvre out of a very tight mooring with an awkward wind. Sally on the Hydrovane ‘third rudder’ just to add steerage, and the very helpful chap next door out in his dinghy to aid if needed…..

Execute a perfect exit ..forward, reverse, forward and elegantly away. To a man, the French stand and applaud in admiration (or so I imagined).

Have to say that the French (sailing community) have been extremely helpful, welcoming and pleasant. Just goes to show what a fine pursuit sailing is.