Friday, January 13, 2012

Cruise of the ‘Ishani’, a 26’ Eventide – Part 13

Belle Isle

Barometric pressure remained high at an astonishing 1,029 millibars, but the sky was overcast. Visibility was not great, due to haze; nevertheless we pushed off from our Port Joinville mooring at 0550 on Wednesday, 24th June. A light wind blew from the northwest; this was in accord with an area of high pressure centred to the southeast. By mid-day the wind had increased to a Force 3 enabling ‘Ishani’ to motor-sail with her sails fully sheeted.

A convenient radio beacon halfway between de l'Île d'Yeu and our objective, La Belle Île, made navigation a piece of cake. On account of a fast-moving current to the southeast of the island, the water became quite lumpy. To make way over the ground, we had to increase engine revs. Our progress was slow, but when we came into the lee of the land our speed remarkably increased. By then we had taken in all sail. We could have persevered without the engine, but the effort required, and loss of time in reaching the harbour of Le Palais, would not have made it worthwhile. Smoother water close inshore allowed us to make very good progress.

Le Palais

We arrived at Le Palais at 1825 where we immediately prepared and cooked mackerel we had caught only hours before.

Fishing boats at Le Palais

Customs Officer

On the morning of 25th June we were visited by French Customs who asked for the ship’s papers and our passports. Almost immediately after they had gone, the harbourmaster introduced himself, and requested ‘dix neuf’ francs for one day’s harbour dues. We stayed at Le Palais for three days, and each morning Monsieur ‘Dix Neuf’, repeated his task of collecting dues. Generously he had under-estimated the length of ‘Ishani’ by insisting she could be no more than “sept metres”. This entente cordiale was gladly accepted by Les Anglaises.

Once again, we hired bicycles for a bit of exploring. At first we cycled to Sauzon, a small port to the northeast of the island. There, we examined a shark that had been caught in nets. Bill asked one of the fishermen to open the jaw of the fish so that he could photograph its teeth. Somehow there may have been a misunderstanding, on account of Bill’s limited linguistic skill, because his request only brought an expression of disdain from the one he addressed.

Before returning our cycles we had to see the rocky inlet of Ster Wenn that serves as a natural harbour on the west side of the northern tip of the island. This is a small, but pretty fiord where yachts anchor stern first to the cliffs. Bill described it as a lobster pot from which the catch could not escape, should the weather suddenly take a turn for the worst. Under calm conditions when we were there the anchorage was idyllic; nowadays, I guess it would be so popular, that it would lose its appeal.

Text for the Day

Romans 12:9 ‘Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.’

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