Saturday, 20 August 2011
Charente, La Gironde
Somewhere different, the mouth of the Gironde. Our plan was to catch the tail end of the ebb from Royan for a ferry glide out to the Phare de Cordouan (just visible in the distance 5nm away). Europe's and possible the World's oldest lighthouse 400 years old this year. However, it was one of the biggest tides of the year, coefficient 120, and after covering about 2 miles we realised that there was a real danger of not making the ferry glide. It is hard to estimate current in open water, but we tried paddling uptide and at full speed found we were making about 0.5kt backwards. The lighthouse was disappearing from time to time in the haze and small races of breaking rollers sprung up here and there due to the uneven bottom.
So discretion was the order of the day; retreat decided, the ferry glide back proved quite challenging as we didn't want to end up too far downtide.
Once on back on the Royan shore, we waited for the tide to turn, then paddled inland along the coast past cave dwellings and fishing stations,
to land at the small port of Meschers-sur-Gironde.