Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

5 th to 6 th of August 2018 - Ushant

Crew : Andy and Helen
Destinations : Ile d'Ouessant.
Distance : 28 miles

Our alarm was set for 0530, far too early. We got ready slowly and weighed anchor as the sun came up around 0645. We motored for the first couple of hours until we were able to bear away from the wind as we headed in a more westerly direction toward Ile d'Ouessant. We made great speed with the tide once around the first headland . There were other yachts all going through at the same time but none appeared to be going to Ushant with us. Once past the first navigation buoys the fog started to descend and everyone else disappeared. We turned the radar on. Only one other yacht had AIS so we were now on our own and very glad to have radar. We sounded the fog horn every couple of minutes and since we were now sailing we were able to hear anyone else clearly. We didn't hear any other fog horns.


When we passed south of the island, we still couldn't see it. Occasionally we caught a glimpse of rock or a lighthouse but then the fog descended again. We made very slow progress of 2 knots despite sailing well since the tide around the island was quite strongly against us. However the sea was quite smooth for most of the time, just a few gentle overfalls at the narrow points. Gradually Ile de Ouessant appeared and we saw the lighthouse we needed to go around to pass into the large bay on the west side of the island. At the same time a large pod of dolphins came over for a play.  We followed the transit, which was the Stiff radar tower and a big rock in the middle of the bay. The radar tower was just peeping out above the fog on the far side of the island. There were 12 mooring buoys which were all full so we found space to anchor close to the shore, not far from a rock. The sea was amazingly clear and we could see the anchor chain and sand on the bottom. We had a row ashore to check out facilities and have a swim. (Andy watched). The sea was unbearably cold but so clear. Most people had wetsuits on and didn't stay in for long, unlike at other beaches we had been to recently. 


As we got toward low water the rock nearby was quite unnerving and we were worried we might swing onto it over night. Instead of moving we decided to put the kedge out over night. The following morning after breakfast we moved on to a vacant mooring buoy so that we could make the boat shipshape and ready to leave quickly the following day. We had a lovely walk along the rocks and cliffs to the north west of the island before picking up a few groceries from the small supermarket in Lampoul and going back to the boat. A lot of other yachts left during the day, though others soon came in to take the buoys.

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