Kayak to the La Croix lighthouse
At the heart of our maritime heritage, between Le Trieux and Bréhat
Are you up for an unusual kind of nautical adventure? Small groups of sea kayaks cut through the waves in the Trieux estuary, facing the Bréhat archipelago. This wonderful trip is one of the very few ways that you can land at the La Croix lighthouse, which, apart from Cordouan, is the only sea lighthouse open for visits. To make this truly special excursion possible, we need the tides and Florian on our side.
The Loguivy Water Sports Centre nestles in a cranny on the coastal pathway. In this sheltered spot, Florian and his brightly-coloured kayaks turn their prows towards the sea. Florian will help us to choose the right paddle, one that’s just the right length when our arms are at full stretch, and then he brings out the canoes. With our sprayskirts pulled up and our life-jackets fastened, we make a comical sort of fashion parade as we head down the beach. Florian, our genial instructor, gives us advice on how to get into our kayaks and paddle without busting a gut. Our foot rests are adjusted, our biceps are flexing ready for the off, and an awesome playground opens up before us in the waves, stretching all the way across to the Bréhat archipelago.
A stretch of water that drives you to explore
Set your course for the Old Woman of Loguivy! That’s not an insult; it refers to a distinctive beacon capped with black and yellow. The sun makes the greens and blues of the sea glisten and sparkle. This palette of colours is dotted with thousands of pebbles. Looking through the clear water, we see sand and kelp slide by beneath the hull. There’s no sound apart from the wind and the steady beat of the paddles. Here and there, tiny inlets look almost like lagoons. The sights just below the surface are even more impressive. Rounding a granite stack, the kayaks heave to and come together to form a raft. We take a moment to say hello to a few cormorants spreading their wings to dry. Our silent approach means that we can sneak up on all sorts of wonderful sights.
Landing at the lighthouse
The guide’s local knowledge is invaluable as we thread through the little islets to reach the lighthouse, which is only accessible at certain tides. When it comes to landing, the first to arrive enthusiastically help the rest: we feel we’re part of a team, so giving each other a hand comes naturally. From the foot of the 13-metre tower, there is a stunning view across the estuary and the archipelago. The pebble-strewn promontory of the Sillon de Talbert can be seen as a sharp line on the horizon. On the rocks, lichen and seaweed show how big the tides are in this ever-changing environment.
Voyage to a guardian of the sea
Florian, keeper of the keys, opens the door to “hell” – the name given to lighthouses built in the sea. A strange name for this heavenly little dot on the map! We feel especially privileged to be allowed inside this nautical building. The miniature stone fortress was constructed in 1867 and restored in 1949. Its two floors house all the secrets of lighthouses and beacons. This is where we learn that the red, green or yellow lights are not there just to make it look pretty. This stop-off is tasty as well as educational: apple-juice and caramels restore our energy.
Sport and discovery on the crest of the wave
Back to the kayaks! Paddles in hand, we once more become one with the boats. As we cross the channel, the waves get a bit choppy and tickle our hulls. Stabilisers help keep us on an even keel. Once we’re near to the cliffs again, the sea becomes smoother. We’re sailing along in shallow waters just above the pebbles. Shelducks and cormorants keep us company. Young birds, with their feathers all fluffed out, raise their beaks as we go by. On our return journey we have the current behind us. We glide above a few oyster-beds and lobster-pots. A hint of what this evening’s dinner might be?
Happiness is paddle-shaped
As we go back up the estuary the view changes. The banks become higher, trees appear among the pebbles. The beach of the Water Sports Centre comes clearly into view. Just a few energetic thrusts with the paddle and our little flotilla has reached its home port. We have the taste of the salt-spray on our lips, and our arms and thighs feel healthily tired. We linger for one last look at the distance we’ve covered and it’s a good feeling. Our muscles will soon stop aching but our eyes will remember this enjoyable expedition for a long time.
Length of trip: 3 hours
Suitable for children aged 12+