Monday, 20 August 2012

More on the Loire

Day 3 Head-winds and 3ft Waves

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The day begins with breakfast as expected. Steve brews some coffee with the maker that he's thoughtfully brought along. Unfortunately we don't have much water as we lost our supplies in the river yesterday. With this in mind we intend to stop off at a village as soon as we can and get some more supplies. It doesn't take long to break camp and get everything packed into the canoes and we are on the water well before 9am.

Before long we approach a long thin island and take the narrower side on river right. As we make a bend we can see a church tower in the distance. It doesn't look too far to walk and after passing a couple of fishermen we pull over. I decide to wait by the boats whilst they explore the village. I amuse myself by taking photographs of the damselflies that are around. I guess they are gone about half an hour, but they do return with some goodies and we are back under-way again.

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When we get back into the main channel we find that we are facing quite a head-wind and have to battle our way ahead. The river widens out again too and it's like paddling on a lake at times. It gets worse because as we approach a corner near the village of  Cinq Mars le Pile as the waves start to build up and it gets decidedly choppy. This is pretty weird for a river expedition. At the end of the bend though we head to a small beach and take a well earned break. Kristine and I decide to walk into the village to see what we can get. It turns out to be a long, tedious, hot and wasteful walk as the village is more or less closed.

On our return we discover that Steve and Coral have enjoyed the rest, have had a swim and are now asleep on the beach. We have our lunch now after being pleasantly surprised that they have waited for us to return.

After another couple of hours canoeing into the wind we arrive at the town of Langeais. Again we beach up and this time it's me and Steve who walk into town to get some provisions. It's a beautiful little town with a castle in it's centre and lovely medieval streets. It look like a nice place to hang too. Plenty of restaurants and cafes. It also has everything we need and after hitting the epicerie and the boulangerie we stagger back to the boats laden with stuff. Now it's time to find an island for camping for the night.

We get past the bridge at Langeais (all bridges now being associated with rapids), and come across another island fairly soon. It's rejected however as still being in sight of the town. We continue. The consensus is that we will paddle for another hour with the intention of making the paddle tomorrow shorter. In the end however we paddle on for two hours and its after 6pm before we find somewhere suitable. The island is mostly flat and beachy but on the left-hand side we find a row of trees and a grassy bank which will do nicely as a camping spot. As we arrive a whole host of bird-life takes flight. There are Gulls and Terns and Herons which are the birds we've been seeing all the time, but I also suspect that we out Cormorants, Storks and Ibis into the air too. They don't return so I suppose they went off and found another island. Sorry about that!

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The camping spot wasn't great, but beggars can't be choosers when looking for an island as the evening draws in, and Kristine had to clear away a few brambles before we could pitch the inner. Pretty soon however we were all set and Steve once again got the dinner on. This island was also loaded with fire-wood so we got another huge camp-fire burning and revelled into the night (sort of?).