Ramblings from Port du Masque Obligatoire
No, it’s not a new place, but certainly a strange one we find ourselves in. I write on the last day of August 2020. We are in St Martin, Ile de Ré . It’s sunny, its warm and hardly a breath of wind. The holiday season has come to an end. It’s unusually quiet on the water and in the port.
Covid-19 has something to do with it:
Everyone, and I mean just about everyone, has to wear a mask in busy public places as well as everywhere indoors. It’s probably similar in the UK.
There are very few boats on the water and hardly any British boats. Covid-19, the threat of another lockdown and 14 day quarantine for those (including us) returning to the UK has meant that so far, after nearly 3 weeks we’ve only come across 3 other Brit cruisers to talk to.
Has been cool, but we’ve done a lot of sailing: of the 137nm covered so far 80% has been under sail. Nice. Cheap.
It could be worse. Meteo France included this report of the dire weather afflicting Ireland this year:
With its second storm in less than a week (Francis after Ellen), Ireland ends a well-watered, cool and little sunny summer of 2020.
The resort of Valentia, in the southwest of the island, received 53mm of rain in 24 hours, bringing the July / August total to 415mm (double the already high normal).
It has certainly rained less in Dublin, but the only hot day of the whole summer was observed on June 2 with 25 ° C and, since the beginning of July, the sun has been shining there on average only 3 hours a day, i.e. a deficit of more than 40%, while in May, it had shone 9:30 a day.
And that’s why we came to sail in France.
Belgians, Dogs and Stinkpots
So, has there been an upside to compensate for the downside? Well in a gross generalisation we have noted the following:
- There are many more Belgian boats than previous (this may be linked to travel restrictions for Belgians heading to Scandinavia).
- Stinkpots (liveabord motor cruisers): definitely more of these around. And from far away places (for example our neighbour in La Rochelle had a boat from Nice.
- Dogs. Too many. Of the ugly sort. We think this might be related to the point above
Les Minimes – even bigger Mega Marina
We’ve just arrived from the now expanded les Minimes: with over 60 pontoons capable of accommodating over 4500 boats it is huge.
1st / 2nd September. Saint–Martin–de–Ré
It’s warm, sunny and nice here. A section of the Tour de France finishes a few hundred yards away on the 8th. We might want to see it, masques et al.
The long range forecast shows weather remaining warm, sunny and nice here. It shows something very different for home.
Our original plan was to return home on 17th September, which would mean being quarantined until going on holiday on 26th. And on return another 14 days of quarantine. That’s the best part of a month locked up. We can think of better ways to spend our time.
Our thoughts turn to thinking about staying out here in the nice, sunny warm for another week. mmmm. it’s a tough one.
I wonder what might help with that decision?
Or possibly all of these – so we have indeed delayed our return from France by a week.
Weather and Covid-19 progress permitting.