Let Pierre introduce you to a different side of the Gulf of Morbihan
Enjoy the thrill of the open sea, on a paddle-board or in a dug-out canoe
How do you fancy discovering a different side of the Gulf of Morbihan? Pierre would love to accompany you on a trip out to sea, paddle-boarding or in a Hawaiian dug-out canoe, to see the islands, their birdlife and their history at close quarters. After that he’ll invite you to try Ivan’s oysters or a gourmet aperitif, all in a dream setting !
A little piece of heaven
From Baden, follow the signs for the Pointe du Toulvern headland. This narrow spit of sand, woodland and rocks is the spot Ivan chose to set up ‘La Cabane à Huîtres’, his oyster trying and dining restaurant. Ivan’s the fifth generation of oyster farmers in his family, and he says that he never gets bored with this magical place... and it’s not hard to see why! Enough of this idle chat – Ivan’s great friend Pierre, another fan of the Gulf of Morbihan, is waiting for us. Pierre holds nationally-recognised qualifications in sailing, windsurfing and kayaking, so we’re in good hands. Now everyone’s here, it’s time for friendly greetings all round, then the wetsuits and paddles are handed out, and off we go.
From one headland to another
The sun is blazing today, but a north-north-easterly wind has got up, compelling Paul to take us to Port du Parun in his Zodiac dinghy. "If the weather had been calmer, we’d have headed for Huernic, Runiot, Grand Vezi and the Île Longue near the entrance to the Gulf." But you don’t take any chances with the dangers of the winds and currents around here. "When you set off from here, you’ll sail downwind, with the wind behind you.” Once we get out into the middle of the bay, Paul gives us some technical advice: “On a paddle-board, you have to keep the paddles as close as possible to the board. Two strokes on one side, two strokes on the other... The dug-out, on the other hand, is very good at surfing the waves but it’s not easy to steer. The helmsmen have to stay in synch and anticipate every change of direction.” And yet it doesn’t look much more complicated than steering a normal canoe. How wrong can you be!
Everybody out on the water !
While the paddle-boarders take full advantage of the calm, glass-like sea to test their balance, we clamber into the dug-out, only to start spinning and struggling to stay on course. Pierre explains our mistakes and we try again. Now that’s more like it! As we go along we discover the charms of the Gulf. There are wild headlands with pretty houses, built in the traditional local style, perched high on the top, and rocks rising up out of clear waters that are home to many bird species, including herons and ibises. "Not far from here is a boat that was run aground, and it’s actually been converted so that terns can nest in it," Pierre tells us. We’re all thrilled by the beauty of this little inland sea with its 42 islands at high tide and 365 at low tide, or so legend has it. A cormorant scornfully flies over us. "Cormorants are excellent at fishing. In fact in Asia, fishermen put rings round their necks to stop them swallowing, and train them to help them fish," says Pierre, who’s an expert on birds.
After all that exertion... we deserve a drink !
A quick breather. We can change craft if we want, so I get onto a paddle-board. It feels very stable and turns out to be very easy to manoeuvre. Knees slightly bent, we all progress at our own speed. Some of us enjoy the sensation of letting the wind drive us along, arms outstretched. Everything is bathed in the warm light of early evening. As we reach the Blair headland and Pierre reminds us to hug the coast because the wind has got stronger. The bay we need to cross to get back to base is suddenly full of ‘white horses’. It’s not so much of a walk in the park any more; there’s an edge to it. Forget about taking it easy on your board, now we have to fight against the wind and paddle non-stop. Some of the group are up for the challenge, and their sheer determination coupled with hard arm-work bring them to join us on the pontoon for a welcome aperitif. The table is laid with several plates of Ivan’s oysters and a good Muscadet wine. A right royal feast, and a terrific way to end a superb day!
Text: Julie Danet
Additional information :
The oyster tasting and the aperitif are optional and the price may change accordingly (to be specified when booking)
Nautik Experience offers a range of themed excursions and trips to discover a different side of the Gulf of Morbihan.
All the details can be found on their website: www.paddle-experience.com
Trips out to sea are subject to weather conditions, and firm confirmation of the trip will be given 48 hours in advance.
Depending on weather conditions, routes are subject to change.