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Old 17 September 2005, 18:10   #11
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Singing in the rain…in St. Peter Port

Tuesday remained dismal as far as weather was concerned . Our initial enthusiasm about camping having worn off a little by now , we sought the comforts of the town; first ransacking Millets for kagouls and other rainproof gear.

Travelling by RIB is a great antidote to shopping as there was not a cubic centimetre of free console space on any boat! We toured Guernsey in the hire car admiring the glimpses of coast and pretty villages before deciding to eat ‘out’ as it was still raining. We made a Passage Plan for the next day which would involve a fuel stop at Jersey then sidling through the Minkies (‘Les Minquiers’ a very interesting-looking group of rocks and tiny islands south of Jersey).

We also decided to try to follow a ferry into St. Malo if it looked at all tricky. Finally we deliberated as to whether it was a crime to slaughter peacocks...

Underway...



photo : Paul
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Old 17 September 2005, 18:19   #12
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Guernsey to St. Malo and sun at last!!!!
Wednesday dawned grey but dry. We had all slept fitfully through the regular nightly downpour but the peacocks had remained inexplicably silent! Old hands at striking camp by now, we completed the toilet block run, ate breakfast, struck camp, ferried everything to the boats and returned the hire-car by 8.30 a.m.! We left St Peter Port by 9.00 a.m. Anto and Martin were sporting helmets and so Remedy and crew looked ready for anything as we headed for our next stop - Jersey.

Once again the seas picked up as we cleared the shelter of Guernsey’s coast but the waves eased as we pressed on. A green light welcomed us into Jersey’s St. Helier and once again the refuelling stop was waaaaay easier on the pockets!! We took time to visit a Harbour café and meet up with Charles who assured us that our planned passage by the Minkies would be a breeze and we would make St. Malo in no time at all.

just lining up the waypoints



photo : Paul

a green light and we're in St.Helier!



photo : Paul


Fuelling up in St. Helier : You Chn. Islanders are so lucky (lucky lucky lucky)


photo : Paul

We planned to make high tide at St. Malo to be sure of clearing the sill at Les Sablonnes and so left Jersey at 1.00p.m. Another skipper change ensued and Anto helmed Old Spice as we blasted on through flattening seas towards the amazing landscape of the Minkies (Les Minquiers). Plenty to concentrate on as well as admire round here as we followed our route near the cardinals which marked the extremities of the Plateau. Apart from the quite obvious shapes of the rocky outcrops there was a rash of lobster pots to avoid; all of which kept us from nodding off as the sun warmed up, the skies cleared and at last the coastline of France appeared as a thin outline on the horizon.


Martin studies a Minkies Cardinal



photo : Paul


St. Malo...at last!!!!! Hang on a minute! This looks much easier than the charts!!!(Pete ransacks the fridge again!)



photo : Paul
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Old 18 September 2005, 03:56   #13
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I was wondering what you were up to. Excellent trip and dialogue
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Old 18 September 2005, 09:20   #14
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Great pictures and text> Thanks for sharing!
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Old 18 September 2005, 11:46   #15
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Twoze a great holiday looking to go back next year

GPS said we had done 380 miles in the 10 days, flat calm all the way, well nearly

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Old 18 September 2005, 12:33   #16
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A most excellent experience... we can't wait to do it all again. Big thanks to The Jackeens for writing this up so so well and for bringing the memories flooding back! Thanks to Pete for keeping us all smiling when things got a bit extreme

Can't wait to do it all again next year

M & A
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Old 18 September 2005, 13:08   #17
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Cheers Jimbo, Prairie T., Pete and Anto and Martin for the positive comments. Much appreciated. (Definitely look forward to doing it again!)

Next bit (to follow at some stage) will cover St. Malo onwards (and sideways ) as some self-respecting RIBs turn into canal boats in Brittany!

Us
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Old 21 September 2005, 01:51   #18
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If it’s Wednesday…it must be St. Malo!


Following our leisurely cruise through Les Minquiers, we steered towards the western approach to St. Malo on an ultra-safe line . Keeping a close eye on the hazards popping up on our GPS we proceeded cautiously (only to see all sorts of craft powering in merrily through the shorter routes). With excellent visibility (and red and green markers that we really could not miss ), we began to realise in fact that this approach (while meriting attention!) was much easier than we first thought from our study of the charts. We crossed the sill at Port des Bas Sablons at 2.30 p.m. and immediately a friendly Capitanerie boat appeared and guided us to the Visitor Pontoons. We tied up, walked up the pontoon and we were in France!


St. Malo Campsite


photo : Paul

A quick check in at the Capitainerie and we began to think about accommodation. We really were ready for a roof over our heads (any old chambre d’hote would’ve done nicely!) and were just about to ditch the tents in the deepest recesses of the boat lockers when a local pointed out to us that there was a campsite adjacent to the Marina (albeit at a more lofty altitude). The lure of soaking canvas and battered tent pegs proved once again irresistible!

Once we hauled ourselves and our weighty luggage uphill we were rewarded by the stunning views over St. Malo and the sea, not to mention the reasonable rates (good old ‘Camping Municipal’ style),the excellent condition of the site and a toilet block incongruously situated in old fortifications! From our pitch we had our first glimpse of the Rance which beckoned us on to the next part of our trip; down the rivers of Inland Brittany to the southern coast.

First things first though as we quickly located an Italian Restaurant nearby (you gotta go native ) and knocked back some vino (OK, vin rouge then) in celebration. At the nightly planning session the consensus was that we should explore St. Malo for a day or two before heading into the wilderness of the Breton interior.
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Old 29 October 2005, 15:18   #19
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have had a few requests to get on & finish this tale!

Chilling out in St. Malo (Thurs 28th )

For once most of us seemed to sleep through the nightly downpour and accompanying thunderstorm
Pierre Sept is indeed rightly known as Pete 7 as every morning at 7.00 a.m. he was all organised with kettle boiling in his ‘007’ briefcase (which cunningly concealed a gas cooker!).
The ramparts were wreathed in morning mist as we planned an easy day with lots of café visits and checking out the old walled town. By afternoon temperatures had risen considerably so we all piled aboard ‘Old Spice’ and headed around to Dinard to have a swim and study the formidable prospect of the first Lock we would enter the following day : Barrage de la Rance.

Then back to St. Malo and a Pizza Restaurant where we all got nicely pickled on the old vin rouge and wrote some postcards. We tucked in for our last night at St. Malo and shouted out requests as a nearby camper played a tin whistle. We were ready to hit the River!!!!

Scary Spice Dude!!!



photo : Paul
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Old 29 October 2005, 16:20   #20
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forget CEVNI just don't argue with a bigger boat!

The Rance at Last!!! (Or don’t forget your umbrella and yard brush!)

Breakfast sorted, camp struck, the motley (and often merry) crew made for the Harbour where once again the RIBs were packed for departure. Some homemade, extremely unique (and incredibly economical ) biminis were constructed and attached to each RIB by various methods (in one of the subsequent photos one may spy the use of a yard brush in securing Merlin’s canopy!). Note also Pete 7’s clever and stylish use of an umbrella!

We rounded the point and headed towards the Barrage. We radioed in for the three o’ clock lock and graciously allowed the bigger boats through first (in actual fact I think some of them were threatening to run us down!!!) Then the Road Bridge was lowered and we lesser beings were squeezed in the back of the lock.

At last we were through and made stately progress down the Rance towards Dinan. The river gradually narrowed and the landscape changed to lush green verges.
Of course we stopped for tea…and of course it involved pains au chocolat. (France is a very civilised country where fodder is concerned.) We passed through Chatelier lock on a flooding tide ( this particular lock only operates a few hours either side of highs). We skinned past a Pleasure Cruiser on a very narrow bend and indeed many bends later we found ourselves in the magical medieval town of Dinan.

Conveniently there was a lengthy quayside ! But what set (some of ) our hearts a-flutter was the very un-medieval sight of a big brash Best Western Hotel right there beside the moorings!!! As far as I recall, Anto and I were cheering loudly to distract Pete from looking for campsites! In seconds we were at the Reception Desk booking rooms. An excellent extra treat for Paul & myself on our wedding anniversary!



Martin spies Barrage de la Rance



photo : Paul



Leisurely river safari



photo : Paul
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