Sunday 09 August: We set off from Camaret after lunch. Folk expressed surprise that we were heading straight off across the bay and indeed it would have been nice to visit more French ports, but we were concerned about the amount of time it had taken to get that far and felt we should take advantage of a favourable forecast (thank you to Malcolm for help with forecast) to head south. Started off motoring, then motor sailing until we took our departure from the Chaussee du Sein buoy (so we were outside the Raz) then we were able to sail close hauled throughout the night. There were brightly lit ferries going to and from Santander and Portsmouth, lots of fishing boats in the distance – Purse seiners with
flashing yellow lights.
10-12 August: Getting ever more peaceful by dawn and eventually had to start the engine again. Hordes of Dolphins – I think they were fishing, rounding up mackerel, over the area where the sea bed drops off quite quickly from 200-300m to 2000 to 3000m. This is called the Biscay Abyssal plain, not that we could tell as our depth sounder only reads down to 75-100m. Lovely to see the Dolphins fantastic acrobatics leaping out of the water and many took a break and came and played all round the boat, with me rushing about and hanging over the side taking photos and video. Later on we saw 2 whales heading north. Sperm whales I think as they were sending blow high in the air – this was the first thing I saw of them.
We were beginning to wonder if we had fuel to motor the whole way to Spain, but got wind to sail about midnight and we are still bowling along in a moderate swell. Nothing to be seen but waves and grey sky, no ships on the AIS. It was cold on deck at night (though warmer than the Irish Sea) so fleeces etc are not packed away yet. Watch system so far is Steve on duty 2100 to midnight (after dinner), Anita midnight to 0300, Steve 0300 to 0600 and Anita 0600 to 0900 (breakfast time) with both up during the day. Seemed as though generally we were to sail at night and be becalmed and motoring by morning.