We crossed an invisble line today. I couldn't tell
you exactly when, because we were busy dodging dozens of huge freighters queuing
up to enter the Loire at St Nazaire. But between leaving La Turballe at midday
and arriving in l'hebaudiere at 6ish we passed from Brittany to what, for
reasons of morale and self indulgence, we're calling 'the south of France'.
Turballe was made up of small whitewashed cottages with steep-to slate roofs.
Such as you see all over Brittany. But on the Ile de Noirmoutier, people live
under terracotta tiles. This 'voyage of a roof fancier' may seem strange, but it
is the first thing that struck us when we arrived.
We have also christened two important new bits of
kit. First, the pressure cooker, which will save us precious gas during the
Atlantic crossing by cooking things much quicker than usual. We boiled spuds in
about 5 minutes. The only problem is that it takes 30 minutes to cool down
enough to remove the lid, but there are apparently ways around this. Second, we
used the Hydrovane for the first time.
For the uninitiated, a Hydrovane is a tangle of
metal that protrudes from the back of the boat with a little wind vane at the
top end and a rudder at the bottom. It allows the boat to be steered by the
wind. This again will be important for long crossings. It works mechanically
without electricity and means that we won't have to sit there clutching the
tiller to steer the boat 3000 miles across the Atlantic. It worked like a dream
today, after a few tweaks, so we spent the 20 mile crossing of the Loire estuary
reading books and thowing M&Ms at each other. And dodging
Mackerel again for lunch. We've consumed about 9 of
our 12 beasts and I'm seriously thinking about some philanthropy, by giving the
rest to the gulls. We'll see. I didn't dare put the fishing lines out again
today in case we actually caught more of the little blighters.
We're aiming to borrow someone's mooring for the
inght in the hope they don;t rock up just as it gets dark to demand their place
La Turballe marina, viewed from the Musee de la