Part 3 : Sunday 12th November
Well fortified from lunch
, the Nauti Team set forth for the marina to take advantage of the now lighter winds and soon-to-open lock gates. Some time was spent warming up the engines and stowing away (legal) equipment while Simon and Paul got their first shots of the brand-new Parker RIB in the water.
The French Customs Team, complete with le very friendly labrador
, sauntered towards us.. They had probably had their post-prandial coffees and digestifs
at leisure while watching us pack away every inch of kit before turning out to ask politely if we wouldn’t mind taking it all out again for their inspection.
It was almost a social occasion as they seemed to spend an undue amount of time asking how fast the new RIB could go and how many ‘horses’ it had! Meanwhile their dog sniffed Nautibuoy thoroughly for any exotic herbs and spices (or failing that the bones of a rotting old garfish). Job done (and firmly clutching their new Parker RIBs brochure), the genial Customs Team wished us a bon voyage
before resuming their Sunday afternoon constitutional.
complete by 2.30 pm (dental time - Robin
), Richard got his crew to focus on the real business of the weekend and we pulled away from the pontoon. We radioed the Port a few times on the recommended channel and were haughtily ignored before the lights finally changed to green. This was it!!! All of Richard and Andre’s planning was at last taking shape as the RIB began the journey home to Portsmouth.
There was general excitement on board (as things had gone so smoothly) and not a little anxiety as well since the reasonably strong north-westerly promised to put us all through our paces.
The wind and waves kicked in as we left the harbour and Richard feathered his twin throttles to get maximum performance in beamy seas. There were plenty of other craft in view all rocking and rolling through that very busy waterway. We began to cross the shipping channel at the appropriate angle (guided by Mike in the navigator seat) and we settled in for the long passage ahead. Suddenly there was a break in the clouds and there was ‘sunshine over the white cliffs of Dover’ as we headed for the coast of Blighty.
(Part 4 to follow Andre & Nauti only it’s Debenhams 24-hour Spectacular Sale tonight and I need to buy Christmas Pressies.)
9) Les French Customs resuming their Sunday Afternoon pursuits
10) Bit ‘Parky’ innit!!! But Nauti's flippin glowing with pride!!!
11) A cheerful Nautibuoy leaves grey old Calais
12) Shipshape ! A logo to be proud of!