And we are off in our new Motorhome – Pont-Aven Ferry, Bay of Biscay

We had planned to have visited Morocco and been skiing in France by this point in the year but the Omicron variant put pay to those plans with closed borders early in the year. We then decided we would use our full 90 days on Europe travelling through France, Italy, Sardinia and Corsica. Well 85 days strictly after a quick trip to Lanzarote to visit my Dad for his birthday used up some of my allocation. However, we were keen to get going in our new go-anywhere Mercedes MLT 4×4 Hymer motorhome (Swapped out in January this year) and being sick of the winter weather. It was still fairly cool in the south of France yet, so plan C was born with the booking of a pet friendly cabin on the Plymouth – Santander ferry so we could get more directly to the warmer climes of Spain, Portugal and South of France.

We are only a couple of hours from Plymouth so a steady start finally ticking off the last of the dozens of To Do lists. We set off for Plymouth under alternating sunshine then black skies and by the time we were in the check-in queue it was hailing and freezing cold, with a rather threateningly strong wind considering we had the infamous Bay of Biscay to cross that night. Perhaps as a sign of things to come the incoming ferry was a little late in and consequently with a fairly steady docking process, we were 20 mins or so late departing.

We quickly found our nice outside cabin with the dogs and headed to book ourselves a table at the restaurant, being veterans of the Roscoff ferry and knowing how great the French food is served onboard and how the queue forms to book in as soon as you board.

We got ourselves settled in with a celebratory beer and the dogs with some food and a first trip on the dog walk deck to try and persuade them to break the habits of a lifetime to do their business on a hard metal deck. Lola the bold was persuaded but Lizzy the sensitive was not to be persuaded for the whole 24 hour crossing despite many trips out.

Lizzy and Lola enjoying each other’s dinner in our pet-friendly cabin

In Lizzy’s defence by the time we got out of the sheltered Plymouth harbour, the wind and sea state was really building. Some of our dog walks featured some very impressive sea states as the trip progress the wind blowing the crests if the waves and massive breakers hitting the ship beam on creating massive spray and noises through the ship. Having crossed these waters ourselves in a 36ft catamaran in mirror calm seas from a carefully selected weather window, we were very thankful to be in this sea state in a much bigger vessel with a professional crew as I am not sure our boat would have made it.

Rough seas on our Bay of Biscay crossing

However despite a history of seasickness, I survived the crossing even managing a splendid dinner in the restaurant with wonderful French service and cuisine with a three course meal for €30 including roast turbot for Kevin, a delicacy not seen often even in Cornwall where they are caught and not for that price either.

We managed a reasonable, if broken night’s sleep considering the crossing. We were up early for more Lizzy persuasion and breakfast and even managed to read our books whilst we took the final trip in towards Santander.

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