30 Jul 2022 New log entry: Destination reached! ↙ Report?
When we first started planning where to sail in Exeat this summer, we always hoped to reach France. But after our son was invited to stay with a friend on the Ile de Ré in August, our plans started to crystallise. We could sail him there!
Now, following months of planning and six weeks of sailing down the French coast from Roscoff (after crossing the Channel in early June), we have finally arrived at our destination: Ars-en-Ré in the north-west of the beautiful Ile de Ré, just off (and linked by bridge to) La Rochelle. En route, we’ve discovered some stunning islands, picture-postcard anchorages and delightful coastal towns. But Ars-en-Ré may just be the gem in the crown of this gorgeous coastline: the bijou marina is minutes from the town, where an array of welcoming restaurants spill over onto the streets (Chez Remi is expensive but wonderful, with service that matches its superb menu). Another nearby asset is the huge market, open every morning seven days/week during the summer, selling everything from clothes and pottery to artisan bread, cheese, saucisson and shellfish. (An added bonus is that the marina showers here are the best we’ve sampled yet in France!).
In short, I’d happily stay here for a week but the water level – both in the Bassin de la Criée marina and its shallow entrance – will soon become too low for Exeat’s 2m keel, as we move out of spring tides and head towards neeps. We entered at High Water on Saturday and even that was a bit hairy! So, two nights here is all Skipper will allow us, and then we must make for deeper water – possibly La Rochelle, or maybe the nearby Ile d’Oleron. I’m looking forward to exploring the anchorages here over the next week, while our son has some time on land with his friends. Then we’ll pick him up in a week’s time and begin our sail back.