Live the Breton experience !
Fancy trying an unusual boating adventure ? Travelling in small groups, sea-kayaks cut through the waves on the Trieux estuary, opposite the Island of Bréhat. This is a rare and fascinating way of landing at the phare de la Croix, the only sea lighthouse in France, along with Cordouan, that is open to visitors. With Florian at our side, and the tide in our favour, we’re ready to enjoy a very special boat trip.
Ready for boarding !
The pôle nautique Loguivy-de-la-Mer water sports centre nestles in a sheltered spot on the coastal path, and it’s from here that Florian and his brightly-coloured kayaks head out to sea. He helps us to choose the right paddle (which should measure your height with arm fully extended), and fetches the kayaks. It’s quite the beach fashion parade, with spray skirts and lifejackets in place ! Our instructor Florian takes good care of us, giving useful hints on how to get comfortable in the kayak, and demonstrating the best techniques for paddling. Foot braces in position, arms ready for action, a fabulous playground awaits us under our bows, stretching as far as the Bréhat archipelago.
A stretch of water that’s a delight to explore
Let’s head for the Old Lady of Loguivy ! No offence - actually we’re talking about a very well-respected beacon recognisable by its black and yellow hat. The greens and blues of the sea sparkle in the sunlight, across a palette strewn with rocky islets. Sand and kelp rush past under the bow, with only the wind and the rhythm of the paddles to complement the silence. Every so often you’ll come across small coves with all the charm of lagoons. On the water, the sights are even more impressive. Skirting a granite stack, the kayaks come to a halt and form a group, taking a moment to say hello to the cormorants, wings spread, drying their feathers. Continuing our journey we skim gently across the water, heading towards a fabulous treasure.
Landing at the lighthouse
The guide’s keen eye is essential for navigating around the small islands that guard the lighthouse, which is accessible only at certain tide coefficients. The first adventurers to arrive will greet the rest of the party with a smile and a helping hand, showing a spirit of friendship that is second nature here. From the foot of the 13-metre tower, the view over the estuary and the archipelago is outstanding. The sillon de Talbert draws a pale line across the horizon, and the lichen and algae clinging to the rocks show the incredible tidal range of this constantly-changing environment.
- A 3-hour kayak trip
- Accompanied by Florian or Bertrand, instructors from the Pôle nautique Loguivy-de-la-Mer
- A visit to the phare de la Croix lighthouse
- Light refreshments featuring local Breton products
- Equipment supplied : kayaks, paddles, spray skirts, lifejackets
A journey round a sentinel of the seas
Florian has the key to open the door of this ‘hell’, as lighthouses constructed at sea are known. Rather a strange name for a little piece of paradise ! It’s a unique privilege to land here on this nautical construction. The two floors of the stone mini-fortress, built in 1867 and restored in 1949, are home to many secrets of lighthouses and beacons. The visit is an opportunity to discover that the red, green and yellow lights are not just for decoration, and there’s also time to get our energy levels back up when we enjoy an apple juice and some caramels.
Enjoying and exploring the waves
Back to the kayaks ! Paddle in hand, we get settled back in our kayaks. Crossing the channel of water, a few small waves lap against the hull, but the stabilisers make sure we’re steady. Once we get near the rocks again the sea becomes smooth. From here, we skim the pebbled shallows, accompanied by shelducks and cormorants. Young birds ruffle their feathers and raise their beaks to the sky. The current makes the return journey easy, and paddling over oyster beds and lobster pots might well give us an idea of what to eat this evening !
Travelling back up the estuary, the surroundings change. The banks get higher, trees grow among the pebbles. We can clearly make out the beach of the water sports centre. Just a few more sturdy paddle strokes take the little fleet of boats safely back into port. With a taste of salt on our lips and a pleasurable ache in our limbs, we can pause for a moment to look back and savour the adventure. Our muscles may ache for just a little while, but the experience of this fabulous trip will linger long in the memory.
Text: Annick André