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Old 11 September 2005, 16:53   #1
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To St. Malo and Beyond - July 2005

Part One

Five go Ribbing In The Channel...

Months of planning (well alright several evenings in the pub with advice of varying quality from our RIBbing mates) culminated in an early start on Saturday 23rd July for Antoinette, Martin, Pete 7 and ourselves. The weather was due to break and of course we were due a blue moon!

Remedy, Old Spice and Merlin set off at 8.30 a.m. on a gunmetal-grey morning from Portsmouth Harbour hoping to make Alderney before the weather broke. We steamed on against the tide through a cluster of sailing boats near Cowes; their spinnakers making a bright splash on the windless morning. Already we had settled on 25 knots as the ‘happy speed’ for all three boats so we could stay comfortably in sight of each other and not guzzle fuel supplies. Yarmouth was our first stop to fill up on fuel and breakfast before heading out past the Needles (10.30 a.m.) for Alderney.

Merlin leaves the Needles in its wake



photo : Paul
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Old 11 September 2005, 17:01   #2
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Needles to Braye Harbour in Alderney

A mid-channel stop was essential for us as long-distance cruisers (OK we were only 33 miles from the Needles ) and we began to pay more attention to the extra fixtures and fittings on Pete 7's famed craft 'Old Spice' as a choice of hot (stove-brewed) or cold (from the fridge) beverages was on offer! The sea was still reassuringly calm with only one or two tankers to break up the grey scene ahead.

Mid Channel cuppa


photo : Paul


Heading more or less 205 degrees for most of the time we soon made out Braye Harbour in Alderney where we had our only contact with officialdom as the douanes (customs) helicopter checked us out. (The Rule of Paperwork held good all the time we were away i.e. the more paperwork you prepare and carry the less likely anyone is to check it ! No-one asked us for a scrap of paper the entire trip !)

Friendly Customs Chopper


photo : Paul


We were soon on a swinging mooring in Braye Harbour as Martin cracked open the (pink ) bubbly to celebrate Day 1 of our trip.

Bubbles at Braye
photo : Paul

(Have a google at
http://www.alderney.gov.gg/index.php/pid/37 and many other Braye Harbour sites for detailed info.)
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Old 11 September 2005, 17:10   #3
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looks cool!, put some more pics up!
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Old 11 September 2005, 17:11   #4
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Hoooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!
(or the unforgettable sound of the Alderney Foghorn)



A couple of trips in the little water taxi (we used the traditional method of calling him up : waving and shouting ) ) delivered us and our camping gear to land and a friendly local taxi-driver drove us uphill to the campsite. Lowering skies necessitated speedy pitching of tents in the very pleasant site which had historical fortifications on the seaward side. Off we trotted in search of refreshments and eventually dinner in The Moorings.

Our first night elicited some regret at the decision to camp as the wind howled and tore at the tent pegs and what seemed like all of summer's accumulated moisture dropped on Alderney. We also paid dearly for the campsite's charming location near the lighthouse as the foghorn hooted relentlessly all through the night. There were advantages however! The inevitable trips to the toilet block across the once green sward that was by now a sea of mud were intermittently illuminated in a ghostly fashion by the arc of the lighthouse! (Four flashes as I recall ).
Sunday was planned as a rest-day but our hopes of a lie-in were summarily dashed by the loud battery emanating from the fortifications as the local clay-pigeon shoot got under way! However the campsite owners took pity on us and produced a fried breakfast and some mighty pots of tea. We did nothing to correct their assumption that we had come all the way from Ireland as we felt in the need for sympathy. However soon the day brightened up and we set off to explore.

Martin, Pete and Paul walked around the coast to check out the behaviour of the well-known Alderney Race and had a look at the equally infamous Swinge in order to plan Monday's trip to Guernsey. Anto and I explored the town ( a workout in itself perched as it is on such a steep hill). Provisions for barbecuing were bought and we all spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon in The Georgian which had a beer garden (more of a cream-tea terrace really but we did our best!) great food and extremely friendly owners.

Back at the campsite we surveyed the (minimal) damage of the night before and offered to help a teenager who seemed to enjoy the sensation of flight from the way his tent was pitched... BBQ time!

Camping in Alderney



photo : Paul
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Old 11 September 2005, 17:13   #5
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I really do like that tent!
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Old 11 September 2005, 17:14   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyit
looks cool!, put some more pics up!
Hiya Olly !

Will do some more during the week ! Off to get organised for Monday now (see ye tomorrow at Church)

Thanks Jimbo!!!! It's very cheery on the inside too...permanently blue skies and flowers...and boy was it necessary!!! Got it in Pompey

K n P
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Old 11 September 2005, 17:50   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyit
looks cool!, put some more pics up!
didnt take as many as I thought Olly but will sort out a few more in the week

Paul
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Old 12 September 2005, 06:44   #8
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Excellent, not jealous at all honest
Keep it coming!
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Old 13 September 2005, 03:33   #9
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Cheers Nick !


Sunday evening : Passage Planning and Wings of Fire

Thinking ahead, we booked another cooked breakfast for the morning and began work on the BBQ. One narrowly averted forest-fire and burnt-out patch of grass later, we decided we needed a base on which to set up our little disposable BBQ. (This is where Training comes in. ) Pete 7 immediately hurdled Olympic-style over a barbed-wire fence to search an overgrown field for a stand of sorts. He emerged minutes later clutching the wing of a Landrover (probably a WW2 relic) and immediately restarted the fire to applause from the rest of the team.

Bottles were produced and extensive passage-planning ensued which involved muttering about avoiding the Swinge in the current conditions and timing our departure with the predicted flattening out of the Alderney Race thus ensuring a reasonably comfortable passage to Guernsey.

Night fell and once again we were entertained by the familiar sounds of our friend the foghorn as well as high winds and rain and for good measure, a vibrant and deafening thunderstorm!
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Old 13 September 2005, 03:41   #10
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To sleep, perchance to dream…

A leisurely Monday morning routine involved a prolonged campsite breakfast, striking camp and a forced march to the harbour. This time ‘Baby Spice’ was pressed into action as Pete inflated his onboard tender and competed with the Harbour Taxi!

Baby Spice does her bit! (shot later in Guernsey)



photo : Paul

We left at the optimum time for the Race (1.00) but managed to catch the tail-end of the wrath of the Swinge as the waves boiled up outside the Harbour. They were mountainous!!! and the drops were cavernous!!! We all hung in there grimly until we rounded the Island cheering up as we realised The Race was exactly as predicted…running nice and smooth. We bid farewell to our friend the lighthouse as we rounded the point.

An hour of hard work lay ahead however as the seas were still full of the energy of the previous nights’ storms. On one occasion Pete’s two ton Pacific launched straight into the air, Baby Spice still strapped on the back. After an excellent landing (no faults) Pete soldiered on regardless. We kept a lookout for each other as we disappeared in the troughs and were all mightily relieved to spy the rocky coastlines of Sark and Guernsey ahead.


A welcome landmark...heralding our arrival at Sark and Guernsey


photo:Paul

The tide was dropping as we toured around Sark and we reluctantly decided against the undoubtedly remote and beautifully situated campsite simply because of the downpours of the previous two nights and our wish to be nearer amenities in case of inclement weather once again.

Anto at Sark



photo : Paul

We headed for St Peter Port and were immediately struck by the distictively French ambience.

http://www.visitguernsey.com/product/?PageId=7


Guernsey (as far as we recall!)


photo : Paul

First stop refuelling! and celebrating the significantly smaller dent in our wallets! We were guided to raft alongside each other on a pontoon and Baby Spice ferried us ashore. This time we chose a campsite outside of town and Anto organised car hire (luxury). Anto ably took the helm of the hire car and patiently taxied us and luggage to the campsite where we set up the evening BBQ, downing a few flagons in happy anticipation of a night’s sleep. For we were in the middle of the Island, far from the town, far from foghorns and lighthouses...

It could only have been the influence of the blue moon however..as from four o’clock in the morning we were all awakened not by the nightly rain (we were used to that by then) but by the farmer’s precious peacocks. JW would have enjoyed that ! They shrieked all morning to scare away foxes, greet the dawn or whatever it is peacocks do…and in the process ensured another sleepless night for us weary campers! .
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