12 August 2014

Ile de Molene

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

We woke up as early as we could, grabbed a bite of breakfast, and by 8:30 Luke was ferrying us to Ile de Molene. We were determined to tour as much of the the island as possible, before departing at noon for our new destination. In fact, we meant to circumnavigate the whole island, if we could.

This island is very different from Ouessant: the streets are really, really narrow; the small, concrete houses are arranged in no discernible order;  and there is only one car on the whole island, as far as we can tell. Population during summer, counting all the tourists: probably about 250. Winter crowd: I would guess 8.

The village of Molene

The waterfront with fishing boats

Narrow... streets?

Who knew the French were such keen gardeners?


Quaint little gardens, neat stone walls, flowers everywhere... with several landscaping ideas already brewing in my mind, I can't wait to get home and start working on my garden. The landscape beyond the tiny town, on the other hand, is much the same on the other islands: lots of grass and barren rocks, no trees, no stray animals, and a neatly mown grass trail along the seafront, all the way around the island. And the sea. Always the sea. Lovely.

The calm Atlantic
Hiker? Sailor? What can I say?
We circumnavigated the island in 2 hours. Back in the village, we found that all the cafes were closed, but the owners of one were nice enough to rustle up some croissants and coffee for us. By noon we were back on Agnes, ready for the next adventure.

As we set sails, there was little wind, no waves. We sailed very slowly for hours in complete silence. The water sounded like a trickle under the boat; the Celtic Sea was flat as a pool, with a beautiful caribbean color to it. What really impressed me was the absence of marine life... no fish jumping here and there, no birds (maybe one or 2), nothing. Really, it was like a pool, but cold.

Hoisting the anchor with Agnes' man-powered windlass

The big fisherman's anchor was hoisted aboard with this easily-rigged crane

Sweating the mainsail up.

Johanna taking us out

Me, hard at work

On the positive side: it was my chance to steer the boat. Keep it at 90 degrees on the compass and just look ahead, I told myself. Nothing out here to run into. I was glad to have the experience at the helm.

Meanwhile, Luke and Mark took advantage of the rare no-wind situation to launch the dinghy and buzz around Agnes, taking pictures of her with all her sails flying.

When the wind picked up, we recovered the dingy and then all the sailors aboard Agnes were smiling again! Oh, Yeah! High winds, full sails, heeling boat,  sheets and halyards creaking with the tension: that's what this trip is all about.

We are on our way back to the mainland of France: next destination Camaret-sur-Mer. Sounds fantastique!

Approaching Camaret... the Captain on the bowsprit

We arrived at Cameret before sunset and decided that we just time to go ashore for a walk before dark. Mark, John and I left for the hamlet. We walked on the beach shore where we collected tiny colorful shells, beautiful. The sunset was warm, and the light just perfect for pictures.

The old quay-side church
Some fixer-uppers, for readers longing for adventure

This one needs a bit of TLC

The (nearly) empty beach at Camerete

Rock sculptures on the sea wall

Happy sailors (with a nice breeze blowing!)

Back on Agnes, once again Johanna served up a fantastic dinner of pork chops covered with mushroom and mustard sauce, good wine, and amazing conversation. The crew is really friendly and we are getting along just fine.

Next Episode: Camaret-sur-Mer

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