Buried at sea

What has Lucy the fish been eating in Concarneau?

16th September 2011

What has Lucy the fish been eating in Concarneau?

Sainte Marine and Benodet

There’s an old adage that states “Man comes from woman and spends the rest of his life trying to get back in”. More to the point there is also an old sailing adage that states “You can arrange a certain place to meet. You can arrange a certain time to meet, but you should never arrange to meet at a certain time and place”. We now know why!

Angelina’s sister and brother-in-law were driving down from England. We had arranged to meet them in Concarneau which was only round the corner from us in Benodet.  I should have known there was a conspiracy afoot when we saw the other boats battening down their hatches. It was probably to keep the mosquitoes out, wasn’t it?


The Atlantic can be very rough

As soon as we got out of the river and into the Atlantic it was pretty obvious the mosquitoes were battening down their own hatches and requesting emergency blood donors. Below the crew of Cygnus III began trials for NASA as they floated around in negative gravity due to the growing swell. It was a bit like watching “The Exorcist” as books and anything else that wasn’t tied down began to soar through the air. Items stored in cupboards became animated and were banging loudly to be let out. Angelina’s head spun round several times as she uttered a string of words that could only have come directly from Beelzebub himself. Aiden had turned green and decided that it was time to call his friends on the porcelain phone again. Strangely enough, in the cockpit I could see the deep Atlantic swell and felt quiet at home lurching from side to side and up and down. To me it was like having a good night out minus the hangover, kebab wrapper and pocket full of loose change. I was happy.



Cygnus III in the marina

Cygnus III in the marina at Concarneau

After an hour or so things calmed down to the level of a Mariah Carey tantrum and we were able to make the tricky entrance through the shallow channel and into the Concarneau marina.

We had time to reassemble our jumbled intestines and put Cygnus III back in order before Lizzie and Chris arrived for the week. It was good to see family again and just spend time relaxing, catching up and being mellow. They are such good company and brought us a host of goodies.

Chris and Aiden like to be men and fish being hunter gatherer, fly in my hat types. I had done my hunter gatherer thing earlier in the day down at the supermarket and caught a huge chorizo sausage. It must be the bait I am using.


How not to kill a fish

Later that night there was an almighty scuffling outside and frantic running between the boat and pontoon. Apparently some great white shark or Moby Dick himself had grabbed Aiden’s bait and taken it, hook, line and sinker to the depths. Ten minutes later there was more scuffling and running as some dozy fish had taken Chris’s bait. Aiden sat astride the monster as they hit it with a hammer to stun it. They then stabbed it in true British hoodie style (the blade bent), punched it, head butted it before it laughed itself to death. They were so proud of their sea bass (which in fact was a mullet). Never the less, it had sacrificed itself and Chris did a fine job making it palatable.


The beautiful town of Concarneau

The fort in the centre of Concarneau

The fort

Concarneau is an old French port that has in its heart a wonderful old stone fort. Knowing the French work ethic it was probably started by Adam and Eve’s uncle Jacques but it seems to have been finished in the 1600’s. If it were a British castle it would now be owned by the National Trust, fenced off and falling down. There would be a Hubble telescope several counties away so you could look at it providing you were a fully paid up member. The French outlook is different as within the walls of Concarneau castle is a thriving community with restaurants, shops, bars and people who actually live there. You can walk on the ramparts, touch it and there is not even a Beefeater in sight to throw his false teeth at you should you consider taking a photo. As a result the inside of the walls are a tourist trap and the money is used to keep the castle beautifully preserved.


The French way

What is French time

What is French time?

That is the French though. They have their own identity, are very proud of their heritage but are not scared to move on with the times. There is no wandering Muslim mailboxes draped in black in the streets here as they have banned the Birka. There are shops selling every kind of knife imaginable, flick knifes, throwing knifes, big scary knives yet we have felt safer here than nearly anywhere. The French and Brittany flags fly proudly everywhere.

England is now being told it does not need an identity, it is multi-cultural. Hence you have Eastern Europeans pretending they are English, except they actually work hard, Asians that are confused between family values and British ways and British kids dressed in hoodies, speaking Jamaican. They are stabbing any granny they see and everyone is trying to chase a Muslim female to post their mail.


Lucy. An epic sailing adventure in the Bay of Biscay

Whilst in Concarneau we met a wonderful lone sailor called David from Plymouth who was on “Lucy”. Before you tell his wife, Lucy is a boat and not a female. I am sure he won’t mind me telling you the short version of his story:-

David and Lucy leaving

David and Lucy Leaving

David put a bid in on E-Bay for a boat.  He never thought he would win but did. Unfortunately the boat was in Greece and as he had not told Mrs David, he was well and truly in the dog house. I imagine that telling his wife that he had done something stupid, was going to Greece to see Lucy and was bringing her back may have caused some consternation. The fact that the bank account had also been depleted did not go down well either.

Anyway, he went to Greece, picked Lucy up and a few weeks later ended up in a big storm in the Bay of Biscay, 120 miles from land with very primitive navigational aids. His head sail blew out and the tattered remnants hung like a wailing ghost as the seas battered him to submission. The massive seas and tiredness made him crawl down below to think and contemplate death. He realised his fuel may not get him to the coast so he just drifted for several days. Eventually he was close enough to motor into L’Orient and tie up to a buoy. Just to add insult to injury he was awoken the following morning by customs who wanted to search his boat.

Personally I have nothing but respect for this mad man who got back on Lucy and made his way back to the U.K alone. He is a real sailor and we wish him fair winds and very, very calm seas.


The Grim Reaper and how to dispose of a body

Grim ReaperHearing a story like this got me to thinking about Mr Grim Reaper.  It would seem he not only rides in on a headless horse holding his chopper above his head but may have a boat as well. Things are changing in the word of Burke and Hare and we have a lot more freedom to consider our own waste disposal. OK, it has not reached the stage where you can say, “Uncle Bob’s just croaked, it’s your turn to put him out for the dustman. I recycled Auntie Rita in the compost bin last week”. But we are getting there.

Being buried is expensive and does not do much for your looks. If you want your loved one to bury you in your prized garden you can bet your boat that next year, when Mrs dearly beloved has found someone younger with better teeth and bought a new house, your remains won’t be top of their list of things to take with them. That is of course, if Fido hasn’t dug you up already and munched away at your left tibia on the beautiful green lawn.

I could be cremated but that does not appeal to me either. They could scatter my ashes at sea but the chances are the wind would be in the wrong direction and Auntie Rita and Uncle Bob would swallow and spit me out all over the deck. Not very dignified. Then again, if I got into their eyes there might be a few tears.

I suppose if I had the choice I would go for the sliding off the wooden board under the flag and straight into the sea thing. It’s cheap, non-messy and at least I could help a few fish with their evening meal. OK, Bob and Rita may go into their local later for a large cod and chips and get a bit of me but that’s OK. On the other hand Chris and Aiden, just what had that mullet in Concarneau eaten before you ate it?



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