Tuesday 28 May Ile de Groix

No alarms, no tides to catch….bliss. The only snag on the horizon is a problem with the water cooling on the engine. As we entered with King Cnut yesterday, we started to overheat and have traced the problem back to the sea-water part of the system. For anyone not remotely interested in any technical details, you can skip the next paragraph or so…

We first do the highly skilled tasks of checking the filter…clear; blowing down the inlet from the sea-cock…clear; and running the engine to see if we get a flow…we don’t. The next most obvious issue is the impellor, but had only changed it in the winter. The impellor looks OK and turns over with the engine. With the obvious stuff done it gets a bit more bothering…blockages up stream of the impellor in the bowels of the heat exchanger suggest some expensive bits to be bought…if we can get them.  Oddly though, when we put a hose into the inlet from the filter, everything works OK and we get good flow out of the exhaust. The conclusion must be some air being sucked in…leaky hoses….cracked filter? In the end the problem turns out to be a tiny perished O ring around the fixing wing nut. Problem solved and the flow would make an old man proud. The little harbour is busy but very pretty…

On the quay-side we meet an old Scottish guy called Steve (probably our age!) carrying his cat in a bag. He is on the contessa next but one and has sailed with his cat up from Portugal. He and his wife and cat have been down there for 6 months and now the time has come to sail back home. In the meantime, the rules on Easyjet have changed and apparently they will no longer take the cat. His wife had to go back to Scotland on her own and so he and his moggy sailed across Biscay together. He said that he was very frightened with some of the seas he met and was glad to be in harbour for a few days to recuperate.

We have a leisurely afternoon and after the showers pass we hire bikes (electric ones for Chris and John and a Tandem for James and Yee Tak) and have a brilliant cycle around the western part of the island…its not big!

The rain holds off and we convince ourselves that we have burned calories in excess of the entire alcohol consumption for the trip! Yeah right,

We do some supermarket shopping and return he bikes to get ready for some drinks on deck. We invite Steve and he brings a box of Cab Sauv…plus Susie his cat who has been with him since they left Scotland a year ago.

Steve has been a marine as well as a joiner/carpenter and lecturer…clearly a good bloke. We spend a brilliant evening glugging wine and swapping ever more wild stories of mountainous seas and heroic adventures. Sailing solo is not for everyone and it clearly takes its toll, but we have found a new friend in Steve and hope to stay in touch over the years….maybe we will get back to Scotland one day.

We dine late on fresh  spaghetti and an anchovy sauce and marvel at the people we have met along the way….and how lucky we are to be able to do this.

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