Departed Ouistreham at 12:15am (first night sailing) arrived Saint Vaast la Hougue 09:15am (47.8 Nautical Miles)
Beautiful night with stars out, nice to watch the sunrise over the horizon.
We tied up at the visitors pontoon which we had to ourselves and then decided to move RedRoo back a little further into the corner protecting ourselves from the wake of the large fishing vessels that motor in and out day and night as the gate opens with high tide, easy enough – we have walked the boat forward or back at most docks once we arrived however today was different as the bow line snapped as we were moving and the stern swung around hitting the next pontoon and taking a small (50 cent piece size) patch of RedRoo’s paint off! Disappointing, but put correct very quickly by the two other lines we had attached. Sad as it was our first scratch but I am sure there will be many more as we continue. Hopefully no more braking lines tho!
Saint Vaast La Hougue is primarily a fishing harbour, the marina has plenty of private motor and sail boats docked but none in use over winter. Some big fishing vessels including catamaran fishing boats, every day we would walk along the marina wall inspecting the days catches and haggling for some Saint Jacques (scallops) fresh in or calamari. One afternoon we were lucky enough to be gifted a large bag of mules (muscles) from the Cherbourg marine boat that had been out to inspect and clean the navigational beacons (they were moored on the pontoon next to us for a couple of nights), and between our little French and their little English we realised they were a gift rather than us having to buy them. They had got them when cleaning the buoys, and they tasted absolutely delicious cooked up with a bit of onion, white wine, garlic and crushed tomatoes.
The marina is tidal (controlled by a gate) and tucked in between Fort La Hougue to the South and Isle Tatihou (with it’s own castle and fort) to the North. Built in the 15th century and a classified as world heritage, coastal fortresses to defend France. We explored both, being able to walk around the perimeter including the sea wall of Fort la Houge (unable to go in as the military own and operate it) and then having to pick a day at low tide to get across to Tatihou and even then the tide wasn’t quite low enough and resulted in a lot of giggling as Phil (wearing gumboots) had to piggy back Maree across the 20 meters that was still covered by sea. (It required more than one run and jump to get up on his back and he has since brought me my own gumboots), but I am pleased to say I didn’t get wet feet nor did he despite the hole in his ExtraTuff Alaskan gumboots.
To the north just over the marina wall as well as around the other side of fort La Hougue is hundreds and hundreds of Oyster beds farms (2,700 acres in fact). When eating with friends in the region we were lucky enough to eat many a Saint Vaast Oysters and they were absolutely magnificent.
Saint Vaast was also a town that we were able to shop direct from the producers in their weekly markets and also where we discovered a delicious market treat – sausage in bread with frites (chips). Over the coming weeks in Saint Vaast and then again in Cherbourg we were to over indulge in this treat every market day, to the point where the guy running the stall knew our order when he saw us in the line!
It was here that we also met Christiane and Luc (fellow Alliage owners) who went on to not only show us around the region and include us in many activities and sight-seeing but to also introduce us to their friends which went on to become friends of ours. (See friends page)
With these wonderful tour guides we visited Cape Barfleur Lighthouse which has 52 windows (weeks in the year) and 365 stairs to the top (days in the year)!
We enjoyed a walk-a-thon charity with them from Barfleur (their home town) to Mootfarville (2km) to Le Vicel (4km) to La Pernelle (3km) finishing in Quettehou (3km), it was a great evening with the stars out and no rain (which was pleasing after it had rained each night earlier that week). The walk took us along country laneways, and back roads and at each new village the locals put on drinks and supper for the walkers. We enjoyed French onion soup and crepes (as well as a couple bottles of wine) with all our new friends at the end point in Quettehou, a great night for a fantastic cause (people in the region with disabilities).