Joined April 2017
  • Day526

    Guernsey the end of this journey

    August 31 in Guernsey ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    We’ve made it home, I’m glad we delayed as this meant we had wonderful conditions for the journey. The only chop was on Cap de la Hague headland where the two tidal flows split. Our maximum speed through the Race was 11.2 knots and the trip took a total of 6.5 hours. At one point we could see all five Channel Islands Alderney, Jersey, Guernsey, Sark and Herm, I almost got emotional.
    Our arrival was not without a little hassle but things were resolved we were able to temporarily put the boat in Victoria Marina to unload directly into John’s mums car. Then we had to tie it to Swan3, one of the waiting pontoons. On our release on the 14th we plan to do the same to remove the remainder of our gear this time using my Dads van as well so we can offload in one trip. Then we will take one last trip before we get it lifted out for the winter season pending, fingers crossed, getting a local mooring.
    Our house is in incredible condition the only sign that it has been lived in are the slightly sagging sofas. Our tenants have been marvelous even though they were going through an horrendous time.
    We have unpacked all our stored detritus and either found places for it or put it in a box for charity. John is revamping his shed and I am doing some paperwork that’s long overdue as well as updating my CV. The first week of confinement has flown by, the next may start to drag though, we can’t wait to meet everyone properly.
    There is only likely to be one more post, when we lift Take Five and put her too bed.
    Keep safe everyone.
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  • Day523

    Cherbourg

    August 28 in France ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    We had a lovely trip from Courseilles across the Bay de Seine and along the coast to Cherbourg it was just spoilt a little bit by rain on the last headland but hey at least it was flat. The sunrise was a stunner but as John said ‘red sky in morning sailors warning’ luckily we were fine, the journey took 8.5hours we had tide with us across the Bay. It was nice to see some impressive lighthouses on the way. Not long after we arrived and were safely tied up the wind picked up again. We haven’t done much while we’ve been here, tidied up the boat a bit more, binning more ‘stuff’ the minions carpet has gone! Yesterday we wandered around town saw the wonderful old dry dock in the picture below and did some last minute shopping. Today the wind was from the north and pretty evil but this afternoon it eased and we walked to the Cherbourg Liberation Museum at Fort Roule for more information on the Normandy landings and logistics in making Cherbourg a working port after the German sabotage done to it before they surrendered. Cherbourg harbour is huge, I believe it was Napoleon’s idea to enhance the natural harbour and make this one of the largest in this area.Read more

  • Day521

    Courseilles sur mer to Arromanches

    August 26 in France ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    Well the forecast looks good for a long sail tomorrow so we decided that as we would be static tomorrow we should exercise today. We decided to walk to Arromanches, the site of the Allied Mulberry harbour. The tourist office said it was about 15km so 9miles but mostly in sand. It was a great walk and as it was a falling tide we got to see the east arm of the harbour close up. The beaches were interesting with wooden groynes, rock barriers and oyster beds on the horizon. We had planned to take the bus back but the times weren’t great so after a delicious lunch we walked back again sometimes on the beach then as the tide rose in the dunes, loved it. I have seen the Mulberry harbour and Arromanches museum detailing its history and implementation a few times now but each time I am amazed at what was achieved.Read more

  • Day519

    Bugger it

    August 24 in France ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    We missed the 6:15 lock, my fault, I used John’s phone to set an alarm but didn’t check that it was set to local time. It wasn’t it was still on Guernsey time! We did wonder at it being so light but it wasn’t until we were out on the canal waiting, I had radioed, but they didnt answer, that I realised what I had done I glanced at my watch to see how much longer to wait and it read 7:07.
    We returned to the pontoon to wait until the next ‘Lock’ out at 12:15, we did a rough calculation to see what our options were and thought we might be able to get to Port en Bassin if we could achieve 6knots on the cruise. We did a little more shopping, more milk and bread and waited. The lock opened on time but there were loads of boats and we didn’t get out until 12:45 and we were then fighting tide, after 2hours we realised we weren’t going to make the high tide plus 2 gate closure on Port en Bassin and had to either head to Courseilles Sur Mer close by or go to St Vaast and anchor off until the next high tide. The wind was picking up already and there would be nowhere to anchor that would be sheltered so Courseilles was the choice. It’s the site of the Canadian D day landings on Juno beach. They had a good market today for a look around and tomorrow we plan to walk towards Arromanche and the Mulberry harbour to get a bit of exercise as, all being well, we will try for Cherbourg on Thursday.
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  • Day518

    Ouistreham and Caen

    August 23 in France ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    The trip from Honfleur to Ouistreham went well it was calmer than I expected and we made up for lost time spent pushing against the tide as we headed for the open sea. The journey took us 4hours we waited 25mins on the pontoon before we were locked in, the marina is very quiet and peaceful except on the first morning when a numpty with what I hope was his first boat, a little yacht, managed to bump us as he tried to fight the winds and leave. He ran aground and a local then got on board and helped him back to the visitors pontoon but this time facing the right way to be able to leave safely.
    We took an overnight trip up to Caen for a look at some of the many restored churches and the ruins of the Chateau. It’s a nice town and had a huge market this morning, with luckily not that many shoppers so it felt safe to wander around, almost everyone was wearing a mask. Tomorrow we are hoping to get to St Vaast but it’s an 8hour trip and I am nervous about my sea legs not yet being ready, fingers crossed and bags at hand just in case.
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  • Day514

    Honfleur

    August 19 in France ⋅ 🌧 21 °C

    Like I said it’s a very pretty touristy town and without Covid we might have stayed longer but there are so many people in a relatively small town centre and not all of them are following the rules about masks and distances. The restaurant and cafe tables were definitely not 1m+ apart. We did a pleasant walk around the Public gardens looking at photos from the exhibition on the railings and then up Saint Grace hill to the church and view points, one looking over river mouth and other over the town before wandering back towards the centre for coffee and more churches. We are heading to Ouistreham tomorrow morning not too early as need depth to lock out and in at each end, tomorrow should be dry and less wind, then Friday it picks up again so may stay in Ouistreham or head up river to Caen.Read more

  • Day513

    Maritime Seine

    August 18 in France ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    We were pleasantly surprised at how picturesque the lower or Maritime Seine is/was. Once you clear the industrial suburbs of Rouen there is lots of green and lots of beautiful houses some big some small, it was a surprisingly enjoyable journey. We left Rouen at 7am and moored up in Honfleur 10hours later. We’d completed almost all of the journey in 9hours but we were going to miss the lock by minutes so had to throttle back and cruise the last few miles on tick over at 5knots, current assisted and this was even having left at the wrong state of tide. We left Rouen 2hours after high tide so had weaker upriver current with us but would be pushing against it down stream before it turned and was with us at the end. I think all the recent rain helped to restrict the power of the ‘against us’ current, it only ran for 3hours and only reduced our speed to 4knots on average. When the tide turned and was with us we reached our maximum speed of 10.5knots. We had debated waiting a few more days for what should had been more favourable currents but we were both really keen to leave Rouen behind us. On this trip we saw our first functioning river cruise boat, all the others,about 35 in total, have been moored up and mothballed.
    Honfleur is another very pretty historic town with lots and lots of galleries, restaurants and tourist shops. There were also a lot of visitors, it felt busier than Paris. Masks had to be worn in the town centre both in inside and outside spaces, conditions are getting stricter.
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  • Day512

    Re-stepped

    August 17 in France ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    It happened, the meeting with the crane hire company on Friday went well and it was agreed we would all meet Monday at 8am for the mast to be put back on. We were told where and how to moor up, discussed where to lift mast, how to release strops etc. Only downside was it was going to cost €400 for the crane versus the €156 we’d been quoted by the yard. I decided it was worth it as we had no idea when the yard crane would be repaired.
    We spent the weekend in preparation both for re stepping the mast, (where had we put the ropes, pulleys, bottle screws), and for going home ( packing some clothes , throwing others out, sorting through bedding). We did manage a bike ride on Sunday between the showers and went down stream up to Le Bouille for a coffee. The first section of the river was very industrial, cereal silos, sand, scrap yards but then they gave way to little villages and fancy Chateaus.
    This morning we were ready and waiting by 7:45 crane arrived at 8 but.... Christophe, the yard manager, didn’t arrive till 9 and the crane driver wouldn’t do anything without him even though when he did arrive he didn’t do anything just left John to attach strops and release rope. The crane driver was efficient and the lift and lower went off with out a hitch, mast and stays all in place and we were back on the mooring by 10:30. Then came the hard bit, where on earth did all the bits of rope and pulleys go? What about the bolt for the boom, where had we put that? But by 14:00 it was all sorted, we think everything is in the right place. Only the foresail to reattach and it had got a bit breezy for us to do that. A few extra bits of shopping and we’re already for an early morning departure. Thank goodness 😅
    We also had a very cute early evening visitor a blue eyed, long haired Siamese coloured cat came for a look around and a quick pat. We later found out it had decided to stay the night but was no bother.
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  • Day509

    Rouen the saga continues

    August 14 in France ⋅ 🌧 22 °C

    We are at the yard at 9 when we were told the crane would be there, it’s already arrived but is too small to lift boat so driver is trying to get a larger crane to come. Christophe won’t speak to driver about our mast although it turns out small crane is sat there for 2hours doing nothing. Larger crane arrives but again Christophe won’t ask, says crane here just to do boat then goes. He also says he has decided it’s not safe to use his crane and when we ask what we should do he says he is too busy and walks off. We make a note of crane company name and send them an email, I also contact a number of transport companies to get quotes for moving the mast to somewhere with a working lift.
    We decide to head to town again and visit some of the free museums. Even after yesterday nights thunder storm it’s still very warm but this time we did manage to cycle in as John had replaced the punctured inner tubes. We visited the wrought iron museum that was really interesting, then the ceramic museum not so good, pieces all of similar age, style and colour. We look at a few more churches and find a tearoom with gluten free cakes, we buy a few and some normal ones for me, then head to the tourist information to see if they can assist with our mast problem. The girl we spoke to was great, she phoned the firm that had been at the yard and managed to arrange for an English speaker from the company to meet us at the yard tomorrow morning at 10:30, fingers crossed this is going to be OK, we have received a couple of replies from transport companies €750-1000 for moving mast. We are feeling positive as we return to the bikes, bugger it’s starting to spit, crickey the skies open it hammers down. We sought shelter and waited about 40mins, thank goodness we had cakes to see us through. It eases off and we head back fortunately we had closed most of the windows on board so only a few places to be mopped before tea and bed.
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  • Day507

    Rouen and the mast saga

    August 12 in France ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    We were up bright an early to see Christophe at the yard, he wasn’t so early but he did arrive. ‘What mast, no I have nothing, let me see’, none of this bothered us as we had seen the mast yesterday and knew it was there. ‘Oh is it this one, there is no label’. He was right but there were two pretty obvious sections where the wrapping had been removed ummm. ‘ My travel lift is broken since end of June, I don’t know when it is repaired, I couldn’t tell you as no details on the mast’. Well OK no details but we had emailed about its delivery a couple of days before it arrived to let him know it would be there the Tuesday after the bank holiday Monday and who accepts a mast they are not expecting? He had our details and just hoped lift would be repaired. He has no idea when it will be fixed, John asks about hiring Hi-abs or mobile cranes, nothing, he Christophe suggests we just go home wait and come back later. We can’t do this. ‘Oh there is a mobile crane coming tomorrow to lift another boat we ask him to do mast or maybe as it is travel lift not crane attachment that is broken I do on Friday’. Great so we get mast ready attaching cross trees fixing mast light etc. Then go into town for a look around, John has two flat tyres so we walk. Centre of town is very pretty, again loads of timbered houses and shops, a far few churches and a cathedral. The religious buildings are so incredibly decorative internally and even more so externally.Read more

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