The currents around the Gulf are very strong and the pilot books all warn about the dangers of being swept into places one would rather not be swept. We plan to get through the entrance and up the Auray River on the rising tide and leave our mooring at Le Palais at a respectable hour for a Sunday morning having made one last trip to the market, the boulangerie and the small shop for essentials such as wine and loo rolls.
The day is overcast, but with a steady 8-10kts from just over the port quarter we join what seems like half the French nation out on the water. In some respects this is a bit like the Solent on a bank holiday, but….everyone is sailing. We have mentioned this before, but the French seem not to have fallen under the spell of Sunseekers and penis extensions in the same way that many Brits have. The Solent on a Sunday is not exactly quiet, with big motor boats powering up and down in a hurry to get…where? We like to think of ourselves as an island seafaring nation, but when it comes to sailing the French seem to be much more egalitarian and, dare we say, less snobbish. There are still lots of young people/couples in small (8-10m) sailing boats. Certainly, moorings and upkeep seem a lot cheaper here compared to the south coast of England. It all seems more akin to the more northern and eastern parts of Scotland…brilliant.
We pass lots of interesting boats on the way over and the wind comes and goes, but it is glorious to be out on the water and exploring places we’ve not been before.
We dog-leg through the Passage de Teignouse…one of many through the string of rocks and small islands running off from the Quiberon peninsular. We count off the buoys as we get swept into the Gulf proper and on up the Auray river.
We have no real plan other than to anchor somewhere quiet but within a dinghy ride of Auray itself. We sail in company with a couple of other boats up the river in a steadily increasing breeze (gusting 18 kts), but what a brilliant ride. We start to get to narrower bits of the river, but we’re not the first to chicken out and lose the sails!
In no time we are searching around looking for a quiet spot and finally pick up a vacant mooring buoy near the village of Bono. Only a handful of other boats around, and none seem occupied!
We decide to take a trip in the tender up to Auray itself and spend a relaxing late afternoon with a few beers and the odd ice-cream and a wander around the lovely old town and its twin St Goustan.
We catch the start of the ebb back down stream to Heydays in the last of the evening sun.