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October 8th 2015
Published: October 13th 2015
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We were looking for a bit of sun and hopefully a beach after 4 days of rain interspaced with howling gusts of Atlantic winds that rocked poor old Skippy when we parked at night. Audierne faces south west and might be out of the way of the worst of the north winds that bring the worst weather.

And as we got near the fog lifted and the sun worked its magic. The wind had blown the heavy weather away and inside at least we could feel more positive. Audierne is not exactly on a main tourist route but as I write at 6pm there are a dozen or so motor homes ( camping- car en François ) in the parking lot on the banks of Riviere le Goyen, and of course at this time of day more arriving. So this backwater has something going for it. Its broad sunshine and he sun will set about 8pm.

We did find a beach here. From our campsite, just a 2 and a bit klm walk by the river to its mouth. A sandy beach to boot with surf – without a doubt the best beach we have seen since 13th May. Possibly the only one that had both sand and surf. Not as good as a beach at home - but worthy of note.

Now it turns out that Audierne has a bit of history. Well what French town does not have history?

But this vast stretch of coast is spiked with many rocky reefs. The estuary of the Goyen river is the sole bit of sanctuary around. So it has been known to seafarers since before recorded history.

By the 16th and 17th centuries the port of Audierne had become a base for shipping. Local piloting and seamanship skills were sought after. Ships based in Audierne plied goods to and from Gibraltar and Flanders. The town prospered.

In the 19th century it really boomed. In a Europe keen for tasty food, sardine fishing and canning bought in the cash to Audierne.

But there is a limit to how much sardines a person can eat. Once Europeans had a gutful of sardines the game was over.

So the fishermen turned their skills to cray-fishing but working further afield off the coasts of Ireland and Portugal. From the 1950s tuna fishing supplanted cray fishing.

As seamanship and sea based industry developed the city fathers improved port infrastructure. Now there is a 700 meter long rock wall to assist ships in and out of the harbour, particularly in the face of prevailing south-westerly winds and mountainous Atlantic swells. Gee I wonder if that could work elsewhere. What if there was something like that near - well for example the Spit near South Stradbroke Island ? All sorts of possibilities might come about. Why, even that man made dump of mud in the Broadwater might get a purpose in life.

I sure have some suggesting to do when I get home .

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