Exploring Arcachon - Wednesday, 6 August 2003, 9 miles

We were anchored quite a way from any possible landing in Arés, so we motored Razzmatazz closer inshore and anchored in the shallow on the rising tide. We then found we had a long walk through the rather nice holiday houses to reach the village centre. We passed an oysterage, for which Arcachon is famed, on the way back, and bought ourselves a couple of dozen.

After lunch, sailed through the channels between the oyster beds to the town of Arcachon itself. There was creek running alongside, recommended as a possible anchorage. However, it was jam packed with moorings, to the point that turning around was tricky. On the way out, well inside the marked channel, we hit something very solid with both, half-raised dagger boards. Fortunately, we were only doing a couple of knots. When we inspected them later, we found one had lost several inches of wood from the bottom of its leading edge. We hoped the trunking was undamaged.

Anchored off Arcachon

We found an anchorage at the edge of the main fairway, of the North East corner of the marina, shared with another large cat. Ashore, we found a convenient mini-market and specialist shops; also, an ice-making machine for fishing boats, with more than enough ice lying around on the ground to meet our needs.

While we were grateful to Arcachon for providing a break in our passage, I don't think we'll revisit. It has none of the charm of other big inland harbours to which it might be compared - Morbihan, Chichester or Poole - and is absurdly crowded, with lots of motor boats making wash, and few convenient places left to anchor. The marina at Arcachon is one of the most massive boat parks we have ever seen.