Erwan is a breton of 25 years. He’s also a Breton from Belle-île, and there aren’t very many of those! We met him on the ferry between Brittany and Ireland. We looked at the Irish map together whilst lying on the carpet between two bouts of insomnia. Erwan has several identities: to start, he’s Breton; a seasonal restaurant worker; international sound system examiner; plumber; future offshore welder; and more recently, a surf fanatic. He started surfing two years ago and hasn’t been able to stop since. He has taken 10 days of holiday, 4 days in Brittany and 6 in Ireland looking for the most coveted spots. He’s travelling in a little white 205 that is sparsely but efficiently equipped.
The rear seat and passenger seat have been folded flat leaving just enough space to slide in two surfboards hidden under a white sheet. There is a foam mattress behind the passenger seat. When it’s time to go to bed, he lays his seat down flat, rolls out the mattress all the way to the steering wheel, which he uses as a pillow, and sleeps under his duvet. It’s basic, but well thought out. He said it himself, you have to be organised because “the tiniest bit of clutter becomes a huge mess”, that’s true in the van too, despite the relative comfort.
We said goodbye at the ferry exit but we ran into each other again at Inch Beach. We left him for two days, long enough for him to get lost, breakdown and get stuck on the beach, but he always manages to bail himself out, keeping up morale through thick and thin and with the help of the amenable Irish. In Brittany he surfed with old sea dogs from Sea Shepard, but in Ireland, the waves weren’t there. The ocean was completely glassy. We tried a round of fishing instead of surfing. That was a failure too, but we are making the most of it by picking up a mountain of rubbish tangled up with algae left by the tide. We share our journey for another day; there are still no waves but several pints in a pub to the lively rhythm of traditional Irish music.
[On the road, at the 52°08’08.3″N and 9°58’32.4″W]