Now is the summer of our discontent.

WABI’’’ real time : mid July and day 93 of the voyage.  We are moored, bow and stern, between an anchor on the beach ahead and with a long line to an unused mooring chain out in the small bay of Port Styvel.

For those that know the port of Camaret our position is in the far north-western corner of the harbour almost up on the beach in front of the line of bars, cafes and hotels on the road just before the harbour’s breakwater.  Right now it’s a very warm afternoon with a slightly blustery wind from the north east.  The tide is still rising and i’m working on blog posts and the book draft in WABI’s  cabin : later, it will be this evening, as the tide drops and the boat settles down again i’ll splash ashore and go have a beer at L’ Espadon…..all of 70 yards away……tough life i know !

It’s high summer here now, the French schools are obviously out because there are lots of families and school-age kids about and most, i guess on holiday.  This year WABI’’’ will feature in hundreds of photographs and video clips from the number of tourists iv’e seen walk past on the road and point their mobile phones in this direction : earlier when i walked ashore i watched as one very keen photographer shot WABI’’’ from all angles…..just as well that he hadn’t been there a couple of hours before i was having a stripped-down scrub in the companionway !

Yesterday evening when the boat settled and i went ashore , that would have been Saturday, i walked through the town and down to the small marina because i wanted to take a look at one boat that i’d briefly seen earlier that day on the previous tide when i’d been ashore to get my bread.        

There, i walked past the chunky little gaffer that i could see hoping to speak to the owner but the hatch was still over and i guess they wee still in bunk time.  During my evening walk i returned to the marina with my camera and notebook, still no luck and now the same boat was being used as a landing stage by a family of ‘rather large’ motor-boaters.  Now, while i accept the existence of motor boaters, mostly, and quite like the older ones that go out fishing and know their way around the rocks….this lot were the other sort : there is a good English expression related to the town of Chatham that springs to mind !.  As i say, i kind of accept their existence but i just wish sometimes they would f**k-off and not clamber over carefully restored wooden boats .


At the same time the marina was busier than iv’e ever seen it with the outside, visitors, pontoon already rafted 3 deep and some hero trying to make it 4 deep but by bridging 2 lines of smaller boats with his big one….effectively using 6 other boats as fenders and mooring posts.  I’m really , really glad that i’m in a quiet spot even though i’ve got people walking past only 50 yards or so….the great thing being that none of them can walk past and stare down into my little cabin when i’m working ‘sans culottes’.

Later yesterday : beer-o-clock came and went, i walked back out to WABI’’’ climbed aboard and made my dinner, did some writing work for my first draft of my book….did i say i’m trying to write a book ? well i am and putting lots of time and thought into that project.     A few hours actual work and making notes, and the sun has gone down , the bars and restaurants are still busy.     50 yards away at L’Espadon where i go for my evening beer, the proprietor is ejecting a very loud, drunk and aggressive local man who lurches off up the road, shouting, gesticulating and kicking at chairs outside other bars…..just a nice quiet night in harbour eh ?

Later again , i’d already packed up my writing work and settled down for the night when i was aware of a lot more noise and activity ashore, this being after 2300 when things normally quieten down.       First there’s the sound of multiple uncoordinated snare drums, then the screech and wail of a whole load of Breton bagpipes and the whole lot is getting louder.  I open the hatch again to see what’s going on : a large crowd has gathered on the waterfront and then a procession comes along the road , the drums and pipes being led by Breton flags and followed by what looks like women in traditional dress.  They stop by the cafe and i think maybe that’s it or maybe it’s a procession out to the mariners chapel, they don’t, rather the next thing that happens is a display of fireworks set off from around the Vauban tower and ‘enhanced’ by the local boaters firing their flares off !

Even later….the drums, pipes , fireworks and flares lasted until about midnight and there were people around until 0100 at which point i did get some sleep….at about 0300 i was awake again to the distinct racket of a very bad heavy metal band or rock disco , thankfully at the other end of town : that would have been delightful in the marina !


Moving on then.

Tomorrow morning (Monday)  the boat will settle on the beach just about the same time as i wake up.  As soon as there is little enough water to wade ashore i will do that and hit the supermarket for a fresh food shop and then leave as soon as WABI’’’ lifts again late morning. 

This morning i was able to check the local Meteo and BBC weather to get 3 days of forecast.  The brisk northerlies which have pinned me down a bit in Camaret suddenly give way to one day of easterlies and then trending around to the north west and west by mid week. One good sailing passage will get me  past Pointe ste Mathieu and most of the way up the Chenal de Four.  I could go into L.Aber Wrach towards the end of the day or if i’m feeling really brave a small anchorage  : Porz Malo which is almost underneath the huge lighthouse of Ile Vierge. From there i’m definitely heading for the north coast and at least one of the small anchorages to the west of the Ile de Batz.  

My overall plan now is to make for the Roscoff/Morlaix estuary where Jackie can join me much more easily and i might be able to leave WABI’’’ alongside the quay in Morlaix harbour and travel home. 

In the last post ‘Camaret’ i was going to write a round-up of the voyage so far at around the 100 day point, iv’e made several attempts to write that post and failed each time.         I think now that the furthest point of this year’s cruise has been and gone with our time on the south Brittany coast : both of us would probably say that the high mark was our visits to the Glenans, closely followed by the low point at Pont Aven.

I’m sailing back now over ground iv’e already covered and i feel that i’m marking time slightly although, to be fair, i have got a bit pinned down by these consistent, blustery thermal northerlies so iv’e had a break in port.   Not far ahead now i have a date to be at home and meet my friends from NZ.  It’s almost tempting, if i get the right conditions, to bring this cruise to a finish with a return cross-channel passage. If that doesn’t quite work out well then i might bring my ferry passage forward a couple of weeks and spend some time at home.

This year then….the major change of course is that i really did retire, did get rid of my car and almost overnight tried to make the transition to being a long term cruising sailor and liveaboard.  I’m still getting used to the changes and inwardly digesting the major change of life that the voyage has been a background to.      Just recently i’ve had a few comments and questions about the voyage and the blog posts but not been able to answer them on account of not being online at the right time…my apologies as always.     When I get the chance I will write a more technical post that will cover some of the points that you guys have raised.

This post will most likely be the last post of the voyage blog, by the time it is scheduled for publication i might even be on my way home, if i am then iv’e spent over 100 days at sea and living on this little boat , blogging and photographing as i go along.  A few weeks ago i made a major effort to get the main 10 posts finished, edited and scheduled to give me the breathing space for other work. 

I am now engaged in a major new project of my own while i’m out here and that is writing the first draft of my proposed book. I have absolutely no idea if it will work out but i’m working on it every day and the ideas keep on coming so there is hope for a complete draft.     After that iv’e no idea what has to happen next but i guess it’s a matter of finding an agent who won’t laugh/rolleyes at my grammar and mis-spelling too much and might try for a publishing deal.  From what i know of this then getting a book actually on the shelf at a bookshop is something like a pareto distribution….of all the books that get started very few get finished, then very few of those get a publishng deal and even then very few get read much and have any degree of success.  Books about sailing and boats are a pretty marginal genre anyway so it’s never going to be a best seller but in the background is also the potential novel…several sections of which are on my home computer already.

So…an answer to one comment then : filming, hasn’t worked out for mainly technical reasons so my fallback has been to do at least what i know how to do in basic form ie write and photograph. On the boat I can make handwritten notes as I go along and then type up the text for posts…or sections of the potential book.  There is a logical jump from being a blogger to a writer and that seems to be a more consistent idea for me rather than trying to make my expression in a different medium.  Out here i can write my stuff ,take photographs and tinker with it. Already it takes considerable time and battery power to upload the photographs and that can only happen when I have a solid wifi connection.  I really don’t think i could be filming and then editing the work out here and especially not being able then to upload the finished product.   I think it was Steve….or Steve…that suggested filming and then doing the edit at home, yes that would work although it would seem too need a whole load of additional work here, that I’m not used to, to then be able to put everything together months ahead at home.

I do have some technical issues to deal with on WABI’’’ and i’m really looking forward to seeing Big Al and Nina in the UK to help me chew on a some of those.      WABI’’’ really needs a refit sooner or later, at the least now i would really like to take all the old antifoul off and re-prime and paint the underside…..wouldn’t mind spraying the topsides now as she is over 30 years old and the gelcoat is well chalky.  I would like that new mainsail, really need a new engine and iv’e got a whole page full of jobs that need attending to and can’t do out here.  As is often the case Chris and Julia will probably wake up and find WABI’’’ back at the yard sometime soon and me hoping they will take me in again like a waif and stray….dirtywetdog ! 


Anyway in ‘real time’ here the tide is dropping quickly and i feel that beer-o-clock is calling.   Take care now.

*I really couldn’t find a good way of mangling the next line as well “made summer by this son of York’…..suggestions to the usual address gratefully accepted.

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