07/11/2009, St Peter Port, Guernsey
A seen on the picture and well pointed out in Reed's, fog is common here.
Good, so now we've seen it. Today we went for an Expedition. Mountain-climbing? Diving? Canoeing? No, just the ordinary cruiser life-style essential shopping. Equals gettign some food from the nearest grocery store back to the boat.
Consists of the following:
Inflating the dinghy (after searching through the entire boat for the valves, the pump and the oars, all stored at different spots onboard.
Rowing the 2 ca to the stone wall called dinghy dock in swells, surge and a cross-wind and the outgoing tide.
Trying to get rid a variety of fresh seaweeds attached to our clothes and feet after safely arived on shore, soaking wet.
Then the easy part: Strolling around in the Port area, where a calssical boat meeting is taking place this weekend. Purchasing what we need in terms of food and storing it in our rug-sacks/backpacks and then enjoying a wonderful 'moules marinières' at a pub, accompanied by rich, locally brewed Real Ale. A lunch worthy of a true seafarer, Adm. Nelson maybe?
After that we discovered that someone had pulled theplug in the entire harbour basin. I have no other way of describing it. Quite amazing that since five hours when we came on shore, some six and a half meter of water just disappeared! Incredible for a northern Pagan as myself.
Then some exploration of the marine life that was stranded on the beach at low tide and back to the dinghy.
Reversed process with the dinghy. I e first carry it down to the water that had moved 'offshore' some 45 meters (glad it wasn't the other way around...) getting soaked while loading our stuff in it and getting ourselves onboard. Then de-sanding and de-seaweeding ourselves and our sandals before going down below.
That said, we were quite lucky in that the rain actually didn't start until we were back. Grog to the Chief Commanding Officer up there... the Met maybe?
St Peter Port is a very nice town and Guernsey seems well worth exploring so it isn't that bad that they forecast SW for the next few days.
And then there is the Real Ale! We'l be back in town tomorrow -cheers
Well, we found that out anyway, the hard way. When we thought we had half an hour of motoring to do at dawn to enter Cherbourg Harbour(large commercial hbr) in the dying wind, we found ourselves making 6,5 knots through the water but close to zero over ground! I e the tidal stream was about as strong as our 30 hp Yanmar diesel engine.
So, we found ourselves pretty much 'standing by' outside the entrance on 2700 rpm for a few hours. Then we diecided to at least take advantage of the turning tide, which kept us going at 10+ knots for a few more hours.
For a while e considered continuing one day more, but headwinds aren't our favourite treat, so we turned Bb to Guernsey when it showed up after dawn when passing Alderney, the first of the Br Channel Islands.
So, just after lunch we anchored in Havelet Bay,just off St Peter Port which is the largest town on this lovely island.
All in all, a much better alternative than Cherbourg and at least some 30 miles closer to the W part of the English Channel.
BTW, the area here at the Channel Islands, Cherbourg and last but NOT least, S:t Malo, is together with S.t John - Newfoundland; Canada the places in the world with the largest Tidal Range. Around here, seven meters Tidal Range at Spring tide is not at all unusual.
St Peter Port on the photo
After a couple of lazy days here, while a minor low swept by with some near gale force winds on the nose, we will go up at 4AM in the morning to take a little leap over the Channel to France. Isabelle is gettign a bit homesick I guess... ;:)
Bembridge from the boat just a few minutes to go in the sunset...
Pretty sunny and the wind is picking up from SW. A small and comparately weak Low will pass over the British Isles the next couple of days. At this moment it looks like we could have a good weather window starting on Thursday for the leap around the infamous waters surrounding Ile d'Oessant (Ushant) and the western point of Bretagne/Brittany.
This suits us just fine, since we would like to explore Isle of Wight a bit closer.
After the usual chores before taking off from harbour/marina, consisting of going provisioning (buying grocerys) equipped with backpacks, topping the boat's tank of fresh water etc. we took off around 3 PM on the last outgoing tide. We didn't even bother to set sail for the 3,5 mile trip across The Solent to Priory Bay just outside Bembridge - Isle of Wight - where we anchored a bit closer to shore than last time. Seasoned Solent Sailors by now obviously. Given that it is Sunday and sunny there were 15-20 boats at anchor here, most of them left when the tide turned in the afternoon, for another working week I guess.
We had a quiet evening just the two of us catching up on some writing and reading.
Everything has an end, even these ineresting and enjoyable days in the NW part of England. Today a new car drve back to the boat for us, and Dave continuing to London by himself to meet an old friend on his Birthday-
We made a stop at Stonehenge where we spent an hour or two admiring these 'Pyramids of Europe'.
Just before Portsmouth, we had dinner at Pub where the menu was very modern, 'Med Style' and the surrounding countryside as nice as ever.
For myself, I spent the latter part of the evening installing a new harddrive and Win Vista + Nav. software and charts on Isabelle's laptop. The symptoms weere there for some time, but a few days ago the computer could simply not find the Harddrive on start-up.
When it comes to charts, we carry three computers. The work-horse, the backup and then the backup on the backup. Furthermore a couple of external drives plus the installation discs. Additionally we carry some paper charts too, including large scale charts (plotting charts) of the waters we plan to sail the nearest six months or so.