Friday, August 22, 2014

On the Sainte Jeanne # 2

So, well-padded in our life jackets, we had to slither down a rather steep ramp, not to a teeny tiny green tender in fact, but to a waiting inflatable boat, known as a Zodiac.

This was possibly the most exciting part of the whole trip in terms of speed and closeness to the waves, but I was not able to take any pictures as we were told to put our cameras away, to avoid their getting wet and also so we might have our hands free to hold on, since we all sat round the edge of it. A couple of trips and we were all aboard, and were very happy to learn we could divest ourselves of the life jackets, they were only for the trip across.

Early in my short-lived career as a primary teacher, I was set to work with two five-year-olds to make a big long poster-type-thing illustrating their recent trip somewhere or other. One of them, when I suggested making a picture of how they went on the coach, had no difficulty in drawing a recognisable picture of a such a bus and a group of children outside it waiting to get on board, though she had never in fact had such a view of it.  The other looked bothered, struggled and failed to represent an image of the inside of the coach from her seat as she recalled it.  This was a textbook case some Piaget-designated shift in cognitive functioning, probably involving other terms I've now happily forgotten, that takes place at that kind of age and stage, whereby we learn to de-centre and see ourselves in situations from the outside. However, it seems to me the second, less advanced child's view was more true to perceived reality; having been unable to catch a satisfactory sideways-on view of the Ste Jeanne from the shore, once on board it wasn't possible to do so, of course.  

But I was able to pull this jib sail up.  

Otherwise, the images one could collect gather were all from the viewpoint of on board the boat, looking up and down and out and along, various masts and booms and bowsprits and such like, skyward and seaward, at various angles:

or at various sheets and halyards and stays and shrouds and other bits of cordage, and various marlin spikes and cleats and clews and other satisfying bits of gear and tackle:

However, we were joined for the party by a diverse small fleet of other craft, 

which afforded the opportunity to get some longer shots, notably the Pauline, about which I've written before. I photographed her rather a lot,

and also the two smaller old-style sailing boats we had already seen waiting in the harbour

this slightly larger one with the dark hull was Mimosa,

but the slightly smaller white one I didn't catch the name of (on enlarging it a lot it may be Léon, I'll have to check the full-size photo).

It was very calm on the sea. Later Mimosa changed her regular jib for a Genoa, a term for which I had to search my memory and, chiefly, the internet. Whatever its appellation, I found the bold black shape of it aesthetically very pleasing.

We didn't really go anywhere much, pootled about in the bay, went a bit further up the headland towards the seashore quarry for the famous pink sandstone (not pink granite here, whatever anyone tells you...), which had been the Ste Jeanne's main source of cargo, all the way over to England sometimes, and also her nemesis when they overloaded her with it.  But it was deeply satisfying, we came away very relaxed and happy.  

Tom even got given a smaller lighter life jacket for the return to shore, so he looks happier.

We had proper Italian style soft whippy ice cream cornets on the way back to the car, (with a momentary pang that there was no one to give the last point of the cone with a residue of ice cream in it), and as we turned to look back, we observed the tide had come in so that Ste Jean could come round to the inside of the harbour to pick up her next load of passengers, and so show us a perfect, sideways-on, long view of her in full sail.

A lovely afternoon on the water. For more details about the Ste Jeanne, see the website, or there's an English one from the Erquy tourist website here.


marja-leena said...

Fantastic shots - I feel as if I was along with you. I've actually never been in a sailboat so this was a treat!

Jean said...

Marja-Leena took all the words right out of my mouth - really terrific photos! And I love your bit about the little kids and the process of learning to see/narrate your situation from the outside.

Ellena said...

I am late but "now I can say I was on a sailboat". Your teaching career is still in full swing.
Interesting excursion.

Ellena said...

Oh! and hugs about the leftover in the cone.

Dale said...

:-) :-) :-)

Catalyst said...

You got some great shots, Lucy, but I particularly like the one looking straight down at the water off the rear end of the boat. (Would that be the aft, sailor?)

zephyr said...

What fun!
i absolutely love wooden sailboats

Lucas said...

Your mast and boom shots are excellent, giving a sense of being out to sea or looking at land from water. I don't know the correct terminology but I like the shots of the ropes and pulleys with the water underneath. The Pauline is a very beautiful boat.

Roderick Robinson said...

Not many people employ that meaning of Zodiac. It's easy to over-do marine jargon and be caught out showing off with something that's just a bit too specialised (eg, garboard strake) but Zodiac's good for slipping out of the corner of your mouth and seeming plausible.

I'm not sure whether your experiences covered the truly heavenly moment when the engine is switched off and the sails are allowed to take over. It's not just that things become less fussy or that power is being supplied free - it's being able to hear the sounds of sailing: the creaking, the slapping, the squeaks, the humming (over the stays), the hissing, the sighing, the abrupt voices from Channel 16. Quite noisy, really, but that's not entirely surprising; there's no reason why something weighing a ton or two should move silently. Ah, those noises. That's what you buy with a sailing boat. And the place names which are so pleasing to say out aloud: Cap Breton, Arcachon, Ile d'Oloron, La Rochelle. What a sentimental fool I'm making of myself.

Lucy said...

Thank you everyone, I've just realised I haven't replied at all here, how very ungracious of me!

First, I should have said I think Tom took some of these, but I can't be sure which ones! We duplicated quite a bit.

ML - I'm not sure I've ever been in a bigger one like this, only dinghies and such like, I think, oh and of course my niece and nephew-out-law's vintage racing yacht they used to live on in Australia, which was magical too, smaller and faster than this.

Jean - It is an odd thing, isn't it, the de-centring, I wonder how much it happens naturally and how much we learn to do it. I suppose it might be one of those things autistic people have difficulty with. Perhaps we take it too far sometimes, removing ourselves from the immediacy of experience, I don't know.

Ellena - despite having done quite a bit of it in my life, I don't actually think I'm really much cut out for teaching, it was a training and job I did for want of other ambition or aptitude! We enjoyed watching other dogs sharing ice cream, or hoping to; if Mol had been with us we'd not have been able to go on the boat though, not that we ever minded.

Dale - and the same to you!

Bruce - in fact the straight down shot was over the side, the SB is painted on the sides of all the boats I think, it's for St Brieuc where they must be registered, but I think aft is OK, or astern...

Zephyr - me too, and they are enjoying something of a renaissance; when I was a teenager and enthusiastic sailing boat spotter, it was a rare thing to see one, now there are certainly more about. When Ste Jeanne was rebuilt 20 years ago, we were told, there were only about a fifth the number of 'vieux gréements', traditional sailing boats at the regatta in Brest where she was launched than there are now.

Lucas - I'm a bit sketchy on the terms too! Both Pauline and Ste Jeanne are replicas, though I think perhaps Ste Jeanne contains some original elements. Pauline is stockier and more compact, a fishing rather than cargo design, they're all lovely really, with much personality. We're lucky to live where there are so many to be seen.

Robbie - you must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea etc etc! Your recalled impressions are delightful. In fact we pulled away under sail alone, and were told it was rather rare and special to be able to do so, though we came back in with the engine. There were those noises, it's true, but it was quiet really, and it seemed strange and charming how all the other boats rather danced around and behind us, sometimes lining up with the crews seeming to chat amongst themselves, all rather festive and like a party, yet all was silent and sedate, the sea absorbed the voices. Old fashioned naval battles must have been an odd thing in terms of sound and pace, even with cannons, ancient ones even more so.

Lucy said...

Oh yes, meant to say, I'd never heard that term Zodiac before, had to ask what it was, and we swapped them 'inflatable' for it!

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

You and/or Tom caught those details that one (or I) wouldn't necessarily notice and certainly not in such focused clarity. Strange and wonderful how the camera, and of course the individual eye/brain behind it,can sometimes turn the confusing world into perfectly formed works of art.

Pam said...

How lovely. I can smell the seaweed.

the polish chick said...

i find all things nautical, but especially boats, to be very photogenic. what a lovely set of shots, and how glad i am you've had a good time!

Rouchswalwe said...

Oh, I really enjoyed this. The Mimosa, the nautical terms, and the smell and sounds (which I experienced somehow reading your words and "watching" your photographs). Wow!

Marly Youmans said...

"And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim."