Vannes and the Gulf du Morbihan. The last blog?
The Gulf du Morbihan
The devils cauldron or Donald Trumps bowels is the only way I can think of describing it. The AA book describes it as the Gulf Du Morbihan. All I know is that I wish I had two jet engines to get through it but in the end, as everyone promised, Vannes was the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow.
I know how many times I have said that one place or another was beautiful but this place really is the Mona Lisa’s coy smile. Vannes is stunning and there is no other word for it. Old walled city, wooden Shakespearean houses, narrow cobbled streets and some of the friendliest people you could hope to get drunk with. We absolutely love it.
Painful memories in Vannes
I bring you all this information suffering from near fatal trauma of the right leg but it is easier to go back to the beginning so you know my suffering. (Wavy wobbly lines fading into a misty haze).
“You cannot miss the Morbihan, it is so beautiful”, I was told. An inland lagoon fifty miles around with islands dotted everywhere. “Beauty on a stick”, it is the best place in France with Vannes up a canal at the top. “You just have to go”. Never being one to miss out on a spot of beauty that is where we headed.
Yes I was aware of the huge currents, rocks, shallow water and mad ferries but if you cannot challenge your mortality once in a while then what is the point.
Sailing into the Morbihan
The entrance to the Morbihan is best made just after low water otherwise the currents are just too strong. It also means you can ride them all the way to Vannes, two hours away on a slalom course through all the Islands.
We joined with the convoy of boats waiting to venture in to the Morbihan and within a minute or two Cygnus accelerated fast enough to rip the skin from your petrified face. We needed WWI pilot’s goggles and flying jacket. Cygnus III was going nearly as fast as she has ever been. The trouble was that we were under engine alone and that was only ticking over, just in case it all went wrong. It was the biggest log flume in the world and all for free. There was bubbling water, whirl pools, boats under sail and engine going backwards against the current and people fishing in the middle. The nearest thing in England I can compare it too are “the Needles” and that is a stuffed teddy bear with one eye missing compared to this. The course up to Vannes is two-hour roller coaster ride through beautiful islands, ever-changing currents and some very shallow water. Set up an underwear store at the end and you would be richer than Bill Gates in a week.
Watch the mad ferries into Vannes
Canal entrance to the marina
As you approach Vannes itself you find that wheels on a boat could be a good thing as the channel is very narrow and very, very shallow. To make matters worse we met two ferries coming towards us and in the game of “chicken” that ensued they were grand masters. I even saw the veins in the captains steely eyes and along the side of the ferries were silhouettes of boats that though they could win.
At the top of the channel you hang around a broken pontoon waiting for a swing bridge to open whilst the water underneath the boat gets less and less. The book says there is a phone on the pontoon to ring the bridge master. There is indeed a phone but it’s not connected so you pray to any god that he has a radio and can speak English. When the bridge does open you go through the narrowest part and follow the yacht lined channel up into the heart of the city. Is it worth it? Your damned right it is.
Horrific accident in Vannes
Vannes old town
We have spent several days just admiring Vannes, the jewel in the crown of Brittany. Being sat outside at the plethora of cafes watching the world go by or wandering around the streets was heavenly. Well it was until I had my horrific, life changing accident that is.
Cygnus III always looks after us as she is a living, breathing boat so we try to look after her. I was giving her a bit of a clean which she likes and jumped down onto the pontoon. Well, when I say onto I should have said into the pontoon, literally. As I landed the wooden plank on the pontoon shattered and one leg went all the way through leaving me stuck in the pontoon and water. I did eventually haul myself out and found my leg was hanging off. There was muscle, sinew and bone everywhere. It was worse than man flu. OK, I may have exaggerated a little but my leg was grazed, bruised and swollen, honestly. Well OK, it hurt. A lot!
Do I have a place in the promised land?
The broken pontoon
So at the moment I am resting my wounds in the Irish Bar as someone mentioned Guinness helps. It is certainly beginning to dull the pain.
Delirium due to gangrene or alcohol poisoning is now setting in so I fear this may be my last blog but I can tell you as the end approaches dreams do come true. We are sailing the world, the sun is shining, the beer is cold and opposite me I can see a thousand women in skimpy shorts and t-shirts. This is obviously the Promised Land where the Taliban bring their backpackers before sending them onto the streets of London.
I can see them running towards me now so is it the end? I must have led a good life otherwise it would have been the French Rugby Team in jock straps coming to get me. I just have time to thank you all for reading the blog and if I am allowed to send messages from wherever they send me I will do so. That is, when I have recovered from my just rewards of course.
Girls, Girls, I’m here. What is Susan Boyle naked and her cat doing there? (Wavy, wobbly lines fading into a misty haze).
WARNING! Image of my horrific injuries.
I was tempted not to put the last picture of my injuries on as it is so horrific. If you are at all squeamish in any way I suggest you look away now. It is gory and certainly not for the faint hearted.
The lighting is not the best but I did warn you than my pontoon injury from Vannes was horrific.
So, has getting petrified sailing through the Morbihan, ripping my leg off in Vannes and being attacked my mad ferry skippers been worth it. Without doubt and to get to Vannes and the Morbihan I would do it all again in an instance.