Writers : Martin Burley / Odetta de la Vega
At daybreak the fog lifted imperceptibly to become a
blanket of stratocumulus and revealed the Raz de Sein. Passing between the
islands and mainland we exited the Bay of Biscay; thankfully, an easy passage.
At the start of this gray day we sallied forth in search of the idyllic
lighthouse, to capture an image required for the STARSHIP Millennium Voyage book
currently in production. Transiting the Chanel du Four and Passage du Fromveur,
we fought against the might of the English Channel or, as we are in France, La
Manche. At one point STARSHIP was reduced to a mere 3 knots, the sea heaping up
into short and steep waves, pitching the vessel like a cork in a bath tub.
However, on turning this vessel to ride with the tide behind us, we topped at
15.3 knots, usually at full speed we attain a mere 10 knots!
Michael arrived and minutes later departed with James in tow to reconnoiter the the lighthouse by car, but James can tell you about that :
After being in the humming depths of STARSHIP for an ocean passage, the sublime silence of countryside takes one by surprise. It was quite a relief. Michael and I drove through quaint stone villages with steeply pitched roofs and intimate gardens. The road seemed to be an afterthought and wound between the houses sometimes forking in indecision. We arrived at Pointe de St-Mathieu, a rocky coast, striated with deep incisions, through which the waves crashed. Grass and wildflowers covered the crest of the rocks and overlooking it all was an massive lighthouse standing adjacent to a ruined church. Gothic arches oddly complimented the tall structure. The sea sloshed around the rocks and gulls cried overhead, Michael's shutter clicked over atop the tripod. Between 2030 and 2330 he fired off more than 160 exposures, the last taken in the darkness approaching midnight. The far reaching sweep of the lighthouse cast a beam over our heads and flashed off houses in the distance, protecting unseen sailors and lulling residents to sleep that have become accustomed to the rhythmic touch of Sant Mathieu.
Martin, Odetta and James