Our next stop from Ouistreham was St-Vaast-la-Houge. We had heard plenty about St-Vaast-la-Houge from various people that we had met during our sails. Both of us had separate but definite desires to go to this place. For Yves, it would be our first opportunity to be able to moor La Nomade (1er mouillage) and not have to dock at a marina. For me, well, on two different occasions, I was told that not only could one eat one of the best fish and chips (especially if we decide to anchor our boat and save on marina fees) but that oysters at St-Vaast-la-Houge were just delicious! How could I NOT want to go here?!

After a pretty easy sail to St-Vaast-la-Houge, we arrived late afternoon into the area just in front of the entryway of the port. For our first try anchoring our boat, there were no complications and all went smoothly. After going back and forth to check with our GPS whether or not the boat moved with the anchor down (it did NOT move!), Yves breathed a happy sigh of relief and quickly set about to get our inflatable kayak to see what was around.

St-Vaast-la-Houge is part of the UNESCO heritage and is a very picturesque little port. You can see the neighboring small island of Tatihou which I have to say is quite cool to have in the background while we take our apéro as we watch the sun set. I apologize…we were too busy drinking rosé to take pictures but I will work on the picture taking especially since I received an AWESOME camera from my dear friends not too long ago! (Encore merci merci merci! 당신이 엄마 아빠 감사합니다!)

The next day, we took our kayak and went to visit the small town of St-Vaast. Although I am not the biggest fan of the kayak, I must admit that it was good to know (and feel!) that my muscles being used. We were able to “park” our kayak at the marina without having to pay fees (phew!). St-Vaast-la-Houge is another quaint little port with lots of charming rock cottages strewed all along the port. I could easily imagine renovating an old abandoned cottage and building a beautiful garden. For now, I am quite happy living on our “movable” home, La Nomade. One of the impressive things about St-Vaast-la-Houge is their oysters. The port is surrounded by oyster “parks” where oysters are very meticulously cultivated.

Oyster parks at low tide

Oyster parks at low tide

It was a long and lovely walk around the port but after four hours of walking, we decided to rest our feet at an old chapel just in front of the port. Lo and behold, we looked out into the sea where…our La Nomade was moored! Can you spot our boat?!

I spy...La Nomade!But the very best end to this day…definitely…without a doubt…had to be our dinner. There was no question, we were going to eat oysters AND fish and chips! I mean, if people go out of their way to point you to delicious food, are you not obliged to follow through?! We were both very very happy to be able to taste the famous “delicacy” of St-Vaast-la-Houge. However, before I make any judgment, I will have to taste many more oysters in Brittanny!

Miam miam! Yummy yummy!

Miam miam!
Yummy yummy!

After dinner, we kayaked back to the boat in record time and went promptly to sleep very full and VERY SATISFIED!

Voyage La Nomade Manche-27

In search of seals

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Bay of Somme is famously reputed to have a whole flock of really adorable seals just swimming and lounging in their bay. As part of their tourism spiel, there are many ways to see these seals…by boat, by foot and by kayak. As soon as Yves found out that it’s possible to kayak in this bay without too much danger/trouble, he gleefully started to get our kayak out from the deep depths of our cockpit locker. Yes, we have an inflatable kayak. Most people with a sailboat have a dinghy and a small outboard engine in order to get from point A to point B when the boat is anchored down. Us? Well, I guess this is part of our fitness program?! Anyhoo, we have a really great sturdy kayak and I’m hoping to get really great arm muscles.

However, one can not just kayak around the bay whenever and wherever. This bay is pretty much dictated by the tides and tide currents. After many calculations, Yves explained that the best plan for us to kayak and hopefully observe the seals, we would have to leave early morning. With sleepy and groggy heads, we scrambled to get our gear and kayak into place and started paddling out of the marina…I think I lasted about 20 minutes before I started explaining (Yves would refute and say that I was complaining) to him that I felt the lactic acid burning in my bi/triceps. Were we there yet? How much longer? Where are the seals?!? Wait a second…

What’s that up ahead Yves?! Is that a seal??


Hey…over there, is that another one there?!?

Uh, no Joanna…that’s a buoy.

(Just a sidenote, in respect of these poor seals who are subjected to being constantly gawked at by us tourists, we spoke in our loudest whisper voice possible as so not to disturb their morning siesta). We continued further out into the bay and I could see the lighthouse of Cap Hourdel where we biked to. Suddenly we saw one seal, then another, then another…then another…we hit jackpot! We started making our way to a sand bank all the while excitedly whispering how cute they were (hmm…that was more me than Yves). We brought the kayak ashore and Yves proceeded to take National Geographic quality pictures. Well, at least he looked like he did.

Yes yes..the seals are there.

Yes yes..the seals are there.

2014.06.02_sortie kayak phoques 320140602_123505

All in all, another great excursion and what was even more rewarding than seeing all the seals that we did was the fact that we could just jump in our own kayak and start paddling out. This was exactly the type of adventure I had imagined so it was definitely something to actually be able to do it. VERY. AWESOME.

Life is good!

Life is good!