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Piers and Lin du Pré are the owners of the Fleming 55 Play d'eau, based in Beaucette Marina, Guernsey in the Channel Islands at N49° 30’.197 W002° 30’.350.

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Paimpol – our extended stay

Play d’eau
waking up as dawn is about to break
click to enlarge

Although we’ve loved being in Paimpol, a weather window is opening to allow us to escape to St Helier, Jersey, after 9 days here.

We had wanted to visit Binic first, but given the delay from high winds we’ve had to miss that part of our plan.

Paimpol

Paimpol is such a beautiful, small old Brittany town, built around its original granite harbour from which many sailing trawlers crossed the Atlantic to fish for cod off the Newfoundland’s Grand Banks.

The harbour remains a fishing port yet today’s trawlers have swapped sails for engines, salt for refrigerators, and only venture a few miles out to sea. In addition, the Port de Plaisance accommodates over 330 yachts, with more available in Basin 1.

The marina’s wi-fi didn’t reach the corner of Bassin 1 where we were moored. So we picked up our ‘ordinateurs’ and walked along the line of many cafés and restaurants on the harbour front, all advertising free wi-fi.

A line of trawlers stretched out behind us
click to enlarge

One told us we could use their wi-fi if we ordered a meal. ‘Non,’ I replied. The next, Quai Quest, welcomed us, gave us their access code and found us a good place. With no demand for us to order anything, we ordered deux chocolat chaud – grand.

Having to cope with a large back log of emails we went on to order lunch – and what a great meal. The first course was slices of goat’s cheese on small crispy bread, served on shreds of lettuce with a honey dressing and walnut pieces. Sheer delight. We were so pleased we didn’t give our patronage to the previous restaurant.

We used their wi-fi so often, we had dinner there one evening. Again, it was excellent food and at a very reasonable price. Not a tourist in site – that said something.

Farmers’ market

Yes, there’s a regular farmers’ market on Tuesdays, and as with others we’ve seen, it’s vast. The selection of foods let alone the varieties on offer, sparks the imagination and makes shopping such a joy.

The tide recedes for over three miles leaving soft mud. The channel is narrow and you need to stay on the centreline
click to enlarge

Makes you wonder how well a market stall full of pre-packaged, pre-prepared, pre-cooked, chemically enhanced, food reconstructed, GM modified ‘meals’ would survive.

In contrast, how great it was to buy unpasteurised cream, spooned out of an open large tub from the dairy farmer’s stall.

The tides

Paimpol is approached along a long, narrowing channel, and until you’ve seen what happens to the sea after the tide’s drained it all away, it’s hard to imagine just how dry and narrow it becomes.

Looking back along the channel from the shore at low water makes you realise how vital it is to stay between the markers for the last half mile especially, unless you want to feature in the next edition of the local paper – and the UK magazine Motor Boats Monthly!

Play d’eau’s Departure from Paimpol

Looking from the lock gates to the harbour entrance
click to enlarge

The plan is to leave Paimpol on Saturday 21 September for St Helier, Jersey, where we’ll meet Graham and Frances of Woolly Mammoth and have a meal at Shaun Rankin’s new restaurant, Ormer.

Needing to be back in Guernsey for 29 September, we’ll probably leave on the 26th, weather dependent.

Piers and Lin
From the Pilot House of
Play d’eau
Fleming 55

You can get in touch with us any time by using our Contact Form.

3 comments to Paimpol – our extended stay

  • Patrick J. Colahan

    Given the extreme tidal flow and the low slope of the land, I would imagine during times of high tide there is significant traffic in and out of the port. This would make passage interesting given the restricted maneuverability of the channel.

    I have greatly enjoyed your cruise throughout the summer. Glad that all went so well and you are getting along with life aboard. I hope that your winter months will be as enjoyable. It took us a couple of winters to become accustomed to the winter life style and to adapt. All the best to you and Lin.

    • Hi Patrick. It’s been really great having you along for the ride, and thank you so much for all the posts you’ve made. Makes it feel so worthwhile.

      Yes, the traffic in and out of Paimpol can be really busy at times. The fishing fleet is one thing, then there’s the mussel and oyster fleet, as well as the leisure boats.

      We look fwd with mixed anticipation to the winter months. NE’ly gales are able to throw their swell into the marina when the tide is over the sill, which ricochets around causing surging. Can be really uncomfy. However, if it ever gets to that stage we’ll simply decamp for a day or so to a local hotel for some R&R….

      Again, thanks for the posts. Piers and Lin

  • Patrick

    Winter live aboard is definitely different. We will put a shrink wrap on the windows to prevent the cold breezes from coming in. the diesel hydraunic heat really is great for keeping us not only warm but dry. I replaced our combo washer and dryer with a stackable set so it is more like a small apartment.

    We had a very early summer, which turned out to be one of the best weather wise than had been experienced for some time. We are expecting an early winter, which means will may have snow by November. Our first year on board we went from warm fall to the marina frozen over in a couple of days. Thankfully it only lasted a week or so before we went to our normal wet weather.

    All the best.

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