(2131 – 2440 km)
As soon as I arrive on the ferry, it's clear that France is different from here on. The country is flat, I drive dead straight through pine forests. The next time surfing should be in focus and lead me along the Silver Coast to the Basque Country. 230 km of almost continuous sandy beach is to explore.
The actual Médoc with its vineyards lies further inland as I drive parallel to the coast. The sturdy granite stone houses of the north are no longer to be seen, and instead one tends to find summer mansions in bungalow style here.
The weather forecast for the next few days is for bad weather, so my choice is a large campsite in Lacanau. As well as other amenities, it also has an indoor swimming pool. There are even vending machines where you can buy swimming trunks, as swimming in board shorts is not permitted here.
The surf spot is not far away. I get the bike ready, change and head straight for the beach in my wetsuit. Unfortunately, the waves were blown-out by the strong onshore wind. I try my luck anyway. The first thing I notice is a typical feature of the whole coast. Because of the trenches between the sandbars and the shore, the waves break relatively early and quickly, creating a boiling whitewater field with a cross-current as it heads towards the beach. I struggle with the white water without really making any progress. I manage to get a few small waves but the constant pedalling is tiring and so I let myself be washed up on the beach. The next few days are rainy and stormy and offer nothing for surfing. I explore Lacanau, still in hibernation, in the rain-free moments and watch the churning sea in the hope that it will improve.
But that doesn't really happen. At least the weather is getting better, so I head south. The route takes me around the basin of Arcachon and allows me to make a detour to the Dune de Pilat. It is late afternoon and the sun is slowly setting. Leaving the car park, the sandy path becomes softer and softer, and suddenly I leave the woods and find myself facing a 100-metre-high wall of sand, which gradually eats away at the edge of the woods. Fortunately, a staircase has been installed which makes the climb a lot more comfortable.
At the top, the wind almost blows me back. But on the crest of the dune, I have a breathtaking view of this spectacle of nature. It's almost like being in the middle of the desert. Endless masses of sand spreading inland, continually moved and driven by the wind.
Back at the car, I pour half a box of sand out of my shoes and then I drive on to the town of Biscarosse-Plage. Here I park the car on an almost empty parking lot in the middle of a pine forest and I even have the beach within a few minutes walking distance. At the same time, a Junior Pro Surf Tour contest takes place here. And so I spend the next couple of days surfing and watching the other surfers.
After four days, the sea calms and it's time to move on. With a stopover for surfing at Mimizan-Plage, I arrive at Cap de l'Homy at noon and as I walked over the dune, my breath is taken away. In sheer surprise. There is no wind and the water is full of clean tubes winding their way down to the beach. I book into the campsite there for a few days. Surprisingly, the Germans seem to be clustered around this spot during the Whitsun holidays. The way to the surf spot also goes over the dune. So I am already perfectly warmed up when I reach the water. Before the swell dies down, I have two days of good conditions.
The last leg of the journey before the Basque Country takes me to Capbreton. I make another stopover here. In the Cote d'Argent's hinterland there are many large lakes offering sailing and kayaking. The Etang de Léon is one of them. I take a walk along the lake and along the river to the sea and enjoy the silence and the nature.
I land in Capbreton after a quick stop at the Ripcurl Outlet Centre in Hossegor. My first stop is OMG, a surf shop specialising in bodyboarding. After dropping off a few euros, I head to the campsite with a new pair of fins in my bag. It is too late for surfing, so I stroll along the beach to the remains of the famous Blockhouse bunker and a beach bar with live music. With a beer and the sunset in front of me and relaxing music in the background, I watch the last of the surfers hit the water. And then I had to hurry back before it got dark.
The night brings heavy rain, which fortunately stops in the morning, giving way to sunshine. I spend half the day in the water and enjoy the waves, which are quite smooth.
Unfortunately, the weather moves me from one place to another. And eventually I end up in the Basque Country.