After a bit of a rolly Biscay crossing (well that is what the Bay of Biscay is famous for) we arrived in Camaret yesterday afternoon. It may have been a short crossing, but the crew sprang off the boat as soon as we touched the dock, excited by ideas of cycling, walking, French cheese, pastries and wine tasting – some have been dreaming of French or British cheese for months after spending so long in South America, where the cheese is rubbery and flavourless . Camaret is a pretty little seaside town across the bay from Brest. A walk through the town shows that tourism and art are the biggest industries in the town. The waterfront is a long street of restaurants and the picturesque narrow streets behind, arched by wisteria branches fully laden with heavily scented lilac flowers, house numerous art galleries full of paintings of seasides, waves and boats.
The crew did not make it too far, and were found in some of the cafes tasting the local treats – unfortunately the local pastry, Breton Far, did not go down so well and was accused of being a damp Yorkshire Pudding filled with custard cream. A few did make it onto one of the beaches and went for a swim, but came back to report that the water is freezing. Even those who swam in Antarctica and South Georgia found it cold. In the evening, we went out for a delicious meal in a lovely local restaurant where scallop terrine, oysters, fish soup, mussels, steak, apple tart and chocolate mousse were all delicious. Nick and Emily were sad that their “Snail Garden” salad turned out to be just the garden without any snails in (I think something was lost in translation), but aside from this disappointment the food was all absolutely delicious.
Today some of the crew have gone to hire bikes while others are off on a coastal walk. I am enjoying some quiet time on the boat, sorting and packing my kit ready for Falmouth. This is perhaps the first time I have spent on my own in 5 months so it’s quite a strange feeling. As much as I love all the company, fun and energy from having all the others around, it’s quite nice to have some time to myself, though I know that soon I’ll be back in the “real world” and very quickly will be craving the chat, support and fellowship of my crewmates again. When I joined Elinca in August last year, I was very worried about how I would cope with so many people in such a cramped space after having lived on my own for 2 years in a flat much bigger than the boat. I can now say that it has been absolutely amazing to sail with every single person on board, and I have not once wanted to get off. Even now, when the long-timers are all exhausted from continuously sailing for so long, there is a wonderful harmony on board. While I look forward to being on Terra Firma, seeing family and friends back home, and eating good British food, I will miss all the people I have sailed with, and the close company of never having to walk further than 20m to talk to a friend. I think Sarah summed it up very well yesterday when she said “we have seen loads of really amazing and beautiful places and sights, but what has been the most remarkable and will stay with me longest is the friendships that I have made”. Hear, hear. Cliggy.