Îles de Chausey

The Purpose of this overnight trip was to take advantage of the brilliant sunshine and make the crossing over to Île Chausey and take stacks of photos. The tidal co-efficient was 78, Easterly winds Beafort 4 with a sea state 3.    Ideal conditions for the crossing of 8 Nmiles. I anticipated around 2 hours for the crossing.

Launching from the ‘Cale d’Haqueville progress was rapid, once a couple of kilometers into the channel, the wind was pushing the swell up nicely to around 1 meter producing a good wave shape allowing some good surfing, recorded speeds of 13 Km per hour. This good progress continued for an hour and half until I reached the reef. Here the wind driven swell stacked the waves up to a meter and a half often breaking quite fiercely.  The floor of the reef adding to this disturbance as the tide raced over, really quite small overfalls exagerated by the combination of wind and tide.

I landed on Île Anneret at 3/4 Low tides, a good 200 meters portage up above high tide mark, as I unpacked the Camera gear I noticed a patch of condensation in the top LED viewer, this was not  good news. The film count was still registering in the display. I decided to take out the battery and MM card, leave the doors open and let the condensation dry out. After some 30 minutes the display was once again clear, I reinstalled the battery, nothing happened, the display was dead.

This rather  took the edge of a rather excellent crossing, here I was on an empty island to take some pictures with no camera. I had originally planned to make the return crossing the following day, however with this camera mishap I was feeling quite frustrated and after checking the next flood tide times decided to return the same day.

Another check on the weather showed the Easterly BF4 remaining for the rest of the evening, I expected this would add an additional 30 minutes of paddling onto the trip.

I quickly packed my kit carried it down to the boat and got loaded up with an hour left to launch time. I used the Iphone app ‘Tides Plan’ and saw there was no need to move the laden kayak, at my launch time the tide will have risen up to where my kayak lay on the beach, so good news. At 4.15 pm I climbed into the boat and by 4.30 the tide was up and I was on my way

It was another fast run but this time with wind against tide it was really quite bumpyI would race up the front of the waves at 9 or 10 km per hour then crash down onto the back of the wave  sliding down into the next wave the speed of the boat would drop to 4 Kph.  This continued all the way across, by half way I was suddenly aware of being surround by RHIBS Yachts and motor cruisers, at this point now having paddled some 24Kms  I felt obliged to show some good style in my technique … I really didn’t want to have the coastguard called in to a tired Kayaker 8 km off the French coast at dusk (paddling on the sea at night is against the law ! ) So I pushed on at some 9km per hour, soon as night fell all the other sea-goers had left me behind.  I had my head torch on which was doing a great job illuminating my compass.

As light fell completely the Granville Lighthouse started which meant I no longer needed the compass, allowing me to switch off the head torch. within minutes my night vision had returned fully and I began to enjoy this night paddle. I cut in very close to the point at Granville above which is situated the Coastguard semaphore station, from a distance it appeared in darkness, but as I approached closer I could see the red glow illuminating the watch keepers. I slipped quietly passed under the coastguard station passed the Harbour entrance and finishing at 7pm where I had started off that morning

A somewhat disastrous day for the camera but with two very enjoyable crossings spiced with a nice balance of challenge.

Would I do this again … Yes definitely !

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