Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cruising in the rain

I had booked another island trip today but all sailings were cancelled thanks to the persistent peevishness of the weather god, so as any abnormal person would under glowering skies, blustery winds and grey drizzle, I agreed to take the alternative offered - a cruise on the Odet between Benodet and Quimper.
What a reward I got for my folly! One of the best boat-trips ever, not only for the absorbing scenery but also a gem of a guide in Céline, who spoke beguilingly in French and English with that rare perfect judgement of when to stop talking and let the riverscape speak for itself. All she had to say was worth hearing, a real aid to interpretation of the journey. The Vedettes de l'Odet are lucky to have her, and the other members of the crew on that sailing. This is an experience I can whole-heartedly recommend. Chapeau, Céline!
The trip itself is surprising. Much is made of the many chateaux glimpsed along the route, but that was not the highlight for me. I already knew that the vast majority of the land along the river is privately owned and that no public right of way applies in the estuary as it would (in theory) on the coast. So sadly it is not walking territory.
What is more important is that the law prevents these proprietors from cutting down the lushly dense trees that fortify the banks with high green walls. To get a narrow view of the river for their privileged pleasure, they have to hang around during storms and give a helping hand here and there ... It has certainly preserved a compelling verdancy. I spent most of the trip alone on the top deck in the rain just looking at trees ...

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