We plan to get to Belle Isle somewhere around 3pm which means a leisurely start with breakfast and showers even thought the day is grey and overcast. The little harbour is busy as we take our leave …
….and say a fond farewell to Steve. He has a slightly sore head ….which is definitely nothing to do with the red wine and G&T last night. He swears that we spiked his drink! We had a great time on Ile de Groix, the only regret for Yee Tak is that she didn’t get to see the Abalone farm!
We slip out into a steady 10kt of wind on a beam reach and soon Heydays is scudding across the light swell. The only thing to dampen our spirits is the fine drizzle which from time to time sends us scurrying below for the waterproofs, only to leave us hot and bothered again as the cloud passes and we have some more sun. We barely have to touch the sails, just a fiddle here and there and Heydays spends the next 4 hours at a steady 6 to 6.5 kts. This does not often happen when sailin g and we make the most of the glorious wind. As we close the island the wind builds and we have a steady 18kts with Heydays skimming along at over 7.5kts. All to soon thought we have to think about losing sail and making our final approach into the tiny harbour of La Palais which is the Island’s capital.
The pilots warn about the movement of boats in the harbour and a ferry dashes in before us just as a small freighter leaves.
We are met at the harbour entrance by a young woman in a rib who gives us instructions about mooring between a bow buoy and the harbour wall. We have the long line ready and she is so amazingly proficient at handling her boat and the lines that we are soon moored securely and thinking about dinner. We watch a couple of other boats come in who clearly don’t have long enough lines and are simply not either prepared or aware of what needs to be done. We try not to be smug, as we will also make a hash of things in some other harbour before long…still….!
The Dutch guy on the boat next to us watches in frustration as a French boat scrapes along his side and nearly T-Bones the harbour wall. “That is why they keep losing to you” he shouts none to quietly to us as they struggle with bits of rope hastily tied together. Not exactly PC or designed to keep harmony among the remaining 27!
We blow up the tender and trundle ashore in search of some nosh. We quickly realise that the island is much busier and more touristy than Ile de Groix…we need to look around some more before we make a final decision about it, but at the moment its charms are more Skegness than Stromness.