Someone wakes me up at about 1am, as they make lots of noise getting into their van, which I have parked next to. Its sounds like they have a TV turned on. They are making lots of noise. I hear some shouts in French. I am assuming someone is telling them to shut up. I am tempted to start the van and move it to the other end of the car park. There is another shout and their sliding door shuts, and it is quiet again.
When I get up I drive to the youth hostel. The area is very urban, and not very inviting. I have driven through quite a lot of the city on the way. It is pretty, but I wonder what is here for me. I park up near the beach, and take a look. It is not very pretty, the tide is out and it’s mainly mud, with a small beach. I decided to drive on south, to stay with the good weather and to get some sun and surfing in.
I set a course for Lacanau-Ocean which is a famous surf spot. My satellite navigation unit plots a course that takes me over a ferry, from Royan to Le Verdon. All things being well this will be good, as I get to see as much of the coast as possible, without having to go back on myself or through Bordeaux, which I think will bore me. I drive up, and buy my ticket. €39 seems a lot, but if I deduct the €20 or so in fuel I would use and maybe the same again driving up and down the coast it does not seem so bad. The ticket man says ‘hurry’. I drive straight onto the already loaded ferry, and the ramp shuts. I do not know how long I would have to wait, but I am glad I did not. Perfect timing.
The crossing is quick, about 20 minutes. I can see the beaches from the ferry as we land, they are big and beautiful. There are no high rise flats or other developments. It very much feels like I have landed on an island. The ferry approach, and general feel very much suggests this. But this is not an inland, just an unusual formation of land.
I drive for about an hour before reaching Lacanau-Ocean. I follow the signs to the north beach and park easily. I make a sandwich and walk up the path, across the dunes towards the beach. As I climb the top of the dune I have the spectacular sight of the massive beautiful beach, and fantastic waves. I feel very pleased to be here. This is not what I expected of central France, it still reminds me of an island in Australia or somewhere similar.
I spend an hour or so at the beach. I drive into town and have a look around. It’s small and modern. I head back to where I had parked as there is a recommended campsite. I check in. This is a fantastic campsite. It has everything one could need. It is very surfer friendly, with a wetsuit shower and its own private access to the beach. I settle the van and take my board to the beach. I surf for about an hour, but the big waves are hard to catch. Everyone is having a hard time. My leg is better, but still hurts.
I go back to the campsite, eat and do my jobs. I take a walk back to the beach and watch the sunset.
Today’s weather report says it is 25 degrees. The thermometer in my van reads 34 at one point! The sea temperature must be 20 degrees. Many guys are surfing in shorts. It try my wetsuit and it is not too hot.
In the evening I walk around the campsite. The campsite closes an a few days. My guidebook says it is open until December, but they must have changed this. There are several cars from the UK here. Most people are surfers. I get chatting to 2 German guys who are camped in a tent, very close to me. They have been surfing in Spain and France for the last 2 weeks, and are making their way up the coast, towards German. This will be their last stop, before driving home. They say the waves have been good on their trip, but a little unpredictable.