Chapter One: Ré-velation
I had promised myself many times not to return to this island again because it always was too crowded, too expensive and too chic (The Ile de Ré is sort of the French pendent to the German island of Sylt, very popular amongst the rich and famous and people coming in camper vans are not really welcomed) and – even more important – it was notoriously flat with tricky tides in addition which reduced potential surfing time to a few hours a day. There was not even a realistic chance for plan B as the winds were just not strong enough for windsurfing. But there was the odd day with swell and / or enough wind during the several weeks I had spent here during the years (check this story to get an idea) and it had always been July or August that I had spent the family holidays here.
So I had some hope that October would show a different picture. When we arrived the first significant change was the bridge toll: 8 Euros for my van instead the hefty 24 Euros in summer felt like a much warmer welcome. The first day on the island was like usual, it was dead flat, but a decent northeast wind was blowing and I at least managed to score a fun windsurfing session in plain sunshine. The next day the wind was gone and all that was on offer were pathetic knee high ripples. I went out with the longboard nevertheless just to get wet. The day after there was a light onshore blowing and messing up the again just knee high “swell”. Felt like summer. But the forecast was better for the days to follow.