Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Those Chausey Nights

I doubt I have said much about sailing on these blogs?

Sailing started with the churchwarden but when I sailed with him he could get carried away with sexual talk.
I only sailed with him for a few months and very quickly transferred to doing sailing courses run by the States as well as sailing socially with a group in St. Helier.

The St. Helier Group were quite inclusive and welcoming, and I learned a lot from them, we raced dinghys and also sailed yachts.
We would go for weekend sails to the other islands and France, and my all-time favourite destination was Chausey, Iles Chausey were the French Channel Islands, a group of Islands mainly Bird sanctuaries off the coast near St. Malo, but the larges Island was home to a number of holiday cottages and a nice restaurant.

I remember several stays over at Chausey, one was when I was doing my competent crew certificate with the sailing school.
We moored at Chausey and I got in a muddle rowing the dinghy and nearly got carried away on the current that runs swiftly down Chausey Sound.

Chausey was a lovely sandy Island, I remember walking on it in bare feet along the dandy paths among the tall grasses, a bit muddy trying to get to the dinghy at low tide though, someone forgot to bring the dinghy in properly! Not Me!

We had dolphins playing round the boat near Chausey, and I always remember the French yacht on the same route as us, they were fishing, and grilling the fish on a BBQ on the back of their boat, how's that for decedance?

I remember another Chausey trip with my sailing group, several boats went, and we moored in the Sound,  one of the boats was piloted by inexperienced new owners and we had to help them with the lines to moor.
When we were all moored, we took the dinghys over, and we had our evening meal at the restaurant.

It was late and most of the group were merry as we returned to the boats in the pitch black night, with the stars shining bright but no other lights except the ghostly beams of the light-house sweeping over us, the sweeping beams on the cold pitch black water, and the shouting from one boat to another, reminded me of that rescue scene in titanic.

We all got back safely despite the alcohol, and settled to sleep, tired by the day's sailing and the evening's party.
Waking in the beautiful sunny morning on Chausey sound, the water calm and still and the birds crying, it was so deserted, so quiet, so beautiful.

My other great memory from my competent crew course, one of my all-time best memories, was sailing back overnight from Granville to Jersey, it was another clear night, the sea was a little bit choppy, I was told I had passed my competent crew certificate, and I was helming some of the time, and sitting out on the foredeck in my harness the rest of the time, watching for lobster pots, of which there were plenty in French waters, and also looking up at the sky, at the clear dark sky and bright stars, it was heavenly, no wonder people spend their life out there! I have always looked enviously at the commercial ships, if it wasn't so risky I would love a life out there on the sea.

Anyway, we had a course plotted, but really we just followed the lights on Jersey's telecom tower, which can be seen almost from France.

We arrived back into Jersey at about 5am, very tired, and went home to sleep.


  1. Sailing is divine. At one with nature.

  2. Yes, it was one of my biggest losses when I lost my sailing.
    Have you ever read life of Pi?

  3. No. But I have raced in a Mermaid in Dún Laoghaire.

  4. Hm, Polo and the mermaid :)

  5. What a happy memory. I've never been to Chausey (I'm not a good sailor), but it sounds like a place well worth visiting.

    Did you know that there was an episode of Bergerac filmed there!
    Beregerac location.....The Fort,Grande Île, Chausey. Excellent Photo c/o Pline.... Wikimedia common. Wikipedia encyclopedia.

    Sir Clive Haymer's H.Q.....episode SPARTA .

  6. Thanks Tony. I never knew Bergerac was filmed out there.
    Chausey is well worth a visit if you are ever in France in the summer, I think they do day trips from St. Malo or Cartaret.
    It is beautiful out there, and is a birdwatcher's heaven. :)

  7. Thanks for introducing me to the French Channel Islands, I had never heard of them.

    By the way, requests for happy posts are not just to distract from the awful things you experienced and write so well about. They help people get to know and understand you better. And we get to learn things we didn't know - like the French Channel Islands.

  8. Thank you Polo. Yes, Chausey are beautiful Islands, I am luck to have been to Chausey several times.
    I do understand the reason for happy posts and I am benefitting from recalling and posting happy things.