Pink granite can be found in many other places, but not this chaotic landscape: it’s a very rare phenomenon. At the beginning it was only one big block; then, little by little, century after century; it split, and turned into granite chaos.
So the handout says that we picked up prior to setting sail for the Sept Isles (Seven Islands) archipelago. (There’s actually only five islands but there was a problem with the translation between the Breton and French languages so they’ve always been known as the Seven…though there’s only five.) Actually we didn’t ‘set sail’ exactly. We were aboard the delightfully powered boat the Fou de Bassan.
I rang first thing in the morning (I had to leave the gite in order for the phone to have a signal) to book us onto the 4:15pm boat trip around the islands and we set off for Perros-Guirec almost straight after lunch. There was a bit of argy bargy with some rude French drivers but eventually we arrived at the shorefront.
Of course we first had to visit a small cafe so I could have an espresso and Mirinda could use the toilet (or perhaps the other way around) but we then walked down to the Gare Maritime (where I went to the loo), bought our tickets and waited behind the huge group of excited bird watchers…because that’s what we were scheduled to do. Watch birds.
As we waited, we watched a couple of groups of kids learning how to do all sorts of sea things like kayaking. Actually only one of the group managed to row her kayak back to shore, the rest of them swam in front, pulling them along behind them.
Naturally we had to take a boat trip (because we always do on our holidays) but this one happened to include visits to the most amazing colony of gannets that I’ve ever seen (well, outside of television). The colony numbers something like 40,000 birds and I think that half of them were sitting on the rocks and the other half were flying above our heads. At one point Mirinda was concerned that they may poo on our heads. When we left the boat one of the women sitting just behind us had her back covered in bird poo. We, I think, were very lucky.
We then saw a seal. Well, a seal’s head as it bobbed around in the water. It could have been inflatable the way it conveniently appeared. Actually I’m being unnecessarily cynical. The woman giving the (completely French) commentary over the tannoy suddenly became incredibly excited when the seal was spotted and started carrying on like a woman possessed.
The French word for seal is phoque and pronounced ‘fuck you’. This was quite disconcerting when she kept yelling it out of the loudspeaker and the many older men and women on the boat started repeating it in wonder and delight. It’s somewhat odd having an older woman (about 70 I guess) standing near you and suddenly saying “Monsieur Fuck You” in a quiet and reverent tone.
It was then on for a spin around the cormorant crags for a look at these wonderful birds – my favourite. They didn’t garner quite as much excitement as the seal. Not surprising, I guess, given that ‘cormorant’ in French is just ‘cormoran’.
Sadly we didn’t see any puffins but it’s a bit late in the year for them given they go somewhere else in July. We also didn’t see any razor bill or guillemot. Still, what we did see was pretty amazing.
Before heading back for the dock we took in the pink granite coast. It was extraordinary, particularly given we’d seen the same thing from onshore only the other day. It’s an amazing looking landscape from either end.
It was an excellent two hours and well worth the effort getting there.
For dinner we went to the Hotel des Bains to, hopefully, recreate the delights of 2007. While it was a lovely night and the food was delicious, it didn’t seem as good as the meals we enjoyed way back when. Mirinda reckons it was because we hadn’t had such brilliant French food back then and now our tastebuds have been spoiled. She might be right. Mind you, they did give us an awful lot of courses we didn’t order and the red wine did smell rather oddly of horse manure.
It was a lovely day, despite the weather’s attempt to spoil it.