Ships and Boats

Our telescope, used at home for star gazing, now lives at our window in Dinard.

“Look at the two sail boats. The one in front is moving slower than the one just in back. The one behind took a sharp tack towards shore to avoid getting in the wind shadow of the one ahead. He’s tacking on the leeward side and the two are converging. The one behind is overtaking the leader to windward. Ah, but now he’s stuck in his wake up against the rocks. I imagine he’s yelling ‘Sea room!’”

This was the narration I had from Rick one Saturday morning in October as he was gazing out the window watching a couple of sail boats in the middle of a race. The vocabulary was mostly unfamiliar to me. Rick’s enthusiasm, however, was infectious. He himself has participated in many sail boat races on the San Francisco Bay, but there has not been much sailing in his life since we’ve been married. I wrote down the conversation in my journal so that I could remember it. For the first couple of weeks, we were able to watch sailing races each weekend, and many sailing vessels often all through out the week. Now that we are on lock down, the sailing boats have mostly disappeared.

While there is virtually no pleasure boating at the moment, marine life does go on and we still have lots of ships to observe as they follow the shipping lanes in and out of St. Malo. Fishing boats, ferries, freighters, even Rescue boats.

Yesterday morning we watched as a large ferry was moving through the bay, being closely followed by both a helicopter and a coast guard speed boat. We then noticed that there was a man shinnying down a rope from the helicopter to the ferry and then back up again. We realized it was a training exercise, as there were no people on the ferry. The coast guard was likely following so closely in case the trainee fell into the sea. Which he did not.

There are always fishing boats, mostly trawlers, to watch. One late afternoon we saw a large boat heading out from St. Malo towards the open Atlantic. With the telescope, we could see many fishermen, dressed in their waterproof gear standing side by side on the deck, watching the shore slip past. We could read the name of the ship, it was called the Joseph Roty II.We looked it up and were able to discover that the ship was part of a fishing fleet out of St. Malo called La Compagnie des Pêches. The ship was on its way out for an extended expedition along the north coast of Spain and all of the west coast of France.

While we’re relatively isolated over here, in our beautiful ocean view apartment, knowing no one and able to visit with nobody, it is extremely entertaining for us to watch life go by outside and imagine the sailor’s life. If you have to be locked down, this is not a bad place to be.

3 thoughts on “Ships and Boats

  1. Bonjour ! So pleasant to look over “la baie de St Malo” from your window! looking at the sea is for me like looking at a fire place: it changes every minute.
    I know quite well JOSEPH ROTY II as the ship used to call in Brest for repairs. She was bult in 1974 in Poland and underwent a major conversion in 1992 in Brest, including a completely new fish factory, and again in 1966 with new refrigerating plant and new deep freezing system.
    You will be interested in visiting this website :


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