Part Two : ‘Waiter, waiter!!! There’s a Snail in My Soup!!!’
The successful completion of the first phase of the operation brought great relief ! and all of a sudden a fierce thirst came upon us all!
Andre generously insisted on picking up the dinner tab. Nothing for it but to get in some nice beefy bottles of red and practice our food ordering. Mike, being a multi-cultured sort, went for the snail option while Richard chose the less threatening vegetable soup. The rest of us ‘rosbifs’ thought about the weather and went for steak.
There was a bit of a delay on Mike’s snail order and he queried this while urging the rest of us to tuck in. The waitress was very puzzled (while we wondered if perhaps the snails had escaped and were heading for Sangatte themselves that very minute). Richard was meanwhile finding his vegetable soup a little chewy…and it wasn’t until the real veggie soup was produced by another waitress that he realized he was actually polishing off Mike’s squishy little friends!!!! It needs to be recorded that at no stage did he declare ‘I’m a celebrity, get me outta here!!!’
Outside the hotel the trees were flattening in the wind as it howled up the marina. The intrepid team went back to check the RIB and double-checked that the lock gates were due to stay open the following day (Sunday) until 7.15 a.m. (6.15 GMT). Not great news. Waypoints & passage plan checked, we decided to meet in the foyer at 6.30 (French Time). However there was no retiring early as everyone got into full flow, swapping tales of maritime adventures.
All Saturday night the wind didn’t let up. The EU flag outside spent the night trying to break our window and by dawn, Skipper Richard took the decision to wait for the forecasted break. This was a difficult call as the lock wouldn’t open again until 3.00 (French time) and there was a relatively long passage ahead on a wintry evening. Once the decision was made there was then time to chill, have breakfast, load up and double-check the boat’s readiness for sea.
Indeed we managed lunch as well, this time in the more authentic surroundings of a French quayside café. Aging Youth got through to Mike to wish us all well. Action Man Simon told us of his plans to kayak to Ireland and recommended a trip to the Scillies as a particularly beautiful destination. Most of the discussion centred around the trip ahead however and we listed possible emergency ports if needed. The hope was to make it to Brighton at least before nightfall.
5) Nauti’s twin beauties!
6) There’s something cheerful about a yellow boat!
7) There she goes! Berthing at Calais.
8) Plenty of room in here for Sarah’s kit!
...to be continued....