Date: 21.08.17 – 25.08.17
Trip: Guernsey – Sark – Diélette – Guernsey
Distance: 80 nautical miles
Crew: Harvey (24), Becky (24) and Dave (25 and 364 days)
We motored out of St Sampsons harbour at 7:30am on Monday 21st August 2017, off on our first overnight stay on Sampanena since all the work we had done on her. It was a very cold and cloudy day…perfect for a summer trip! There wasn’t much wind but we were headed to a local bay to wait for the right tide and the forecast was for the wind to pick up so we were still hopeful of making it to France. We stopped off in St. Peter Port harbour, the biggest on Guernsey, to fill up with fuel. There was a big swell meaning the fenders we going well above the pontoon to well below it every few seconds – cue our first scrape on the hull and me panicking as per usual! We managed to fill up our 50l tank for £30 and leave the pontoon without any more drama, to the disappointment of the fuel attendant! 20 minutes later and we were in Fermain Bay where we decided to practise anchoring with our new 20kg Lewmar Delta anchor. Whilst getting to grips with the windlass, the anchor was deployed rather rapidly nearly taking Dave’s hand with it but it dug into the sand and we were stopped, all hands still thankfully attached. Harvey left for an (unsuccessful as usual) fishing trip while Dave and I read.
To be going north with the tides, we were aiming to leave at 11am. At 11:03am with both sails up and cups of tea in hand feeling like true sailors, I heard a loud tapping noise on the hull. As I’m sure you can imagine, neither Dave nor Harvey found this unsettling which resulted in me emptying the contents of most cupboards on my own. I decided the noise was coming from under the stern bunk but on the outside of the hull and after a brief discussion it was decided that Harvey (who can hold his breath for much longer than my 4 second PB) would dive down to have a look. He tied on to a rope and jumped in, returning a few minutes later with no answers. A second attempt found the rattling rope cutter being the culprit of the tapping noise and I had to admit that no, we were not sinking and no, there was not a huge fish banging on the hull. All good, apart from Harvey surfacing through the ladder instead of choosing an empty spot in the sea resulting in him loosing his snorkel. This fiasco meant we had missed the tide and so we decided to stay the night in Sark as it was much closer.
5:45am and Harvey tiptoed into the main cabin to let off a party popper in Dave’s ear as it was his birthday…apparently the only acceptable method of waking him up. A beautiful sunrise and light winds saw us motor-sailing off to Diélette, birthday cake in hand. A few misjudged high speed ferry waves whilst Harvey was in the toilet and questionable bearing decisions later and we were in Diélette, having seen Alderney very close up during our minor detour. We motored into the harbour to find the 30m long waiting pontoon completely empty and moored up without incident, right in the middle, having definitely not aimed for the end. An encounter in the Harbour Office left us feeling practically fluent in French, costing us €91.97 for 3 nights. We moved into the main marina later that evening with a few minor squeaks of “I think going astern would be best now!” from me being completely ignored and went for moules-frites to celebrate.
Having explored the entire of Diélette in 20 minutes, we spent the next 3 days mainly sleeping and eating French food with the classic smelly cheese stinking out the boat. There is a free bus from Diélette to Flamanville and Les Pieux every few hours so we visited each of these towns too. The lovely bus lady (who contrary to our recent revelation decided that we were not fluent in French and that English would be the best form of communication) told us about a free chateaux nearby so we decided to explore that too. Unfortunately she failed to mention the chateaux had been turned into a rather unique art gallery so after a 40 minute walk we found ourselves face to face with lots of old, naked ladies in the form of painting and sculpture….enough said. When we got back to the boat, we were greeted by 7 people all shouting and waving their arms dramatically whilst pulling chains near the marina gate. They eventually lifted it right out the water and left. We promptly made a plan to tie the boat to the nearest pylon and hope the 54′ motor boat next to us would sacrifice itself to keep us standing upright if the marina emptied itself due to the water now rushing out under the gate. Thankfully some sort of secondary gate lifted up not long after. We tried to go swimming but the bay appeared to be entirely full of reefs meaning that water was about 50cm deep in most places, not the most enjoyable experience. One evening, having sampled the finest Super-U French cider and wine whilst watching a sunset, we went jumping off the pier which was at least 400m high and so my screams were most definitely rational.
We left on Friday morning at 9:30am and had a lovely sail back to Guernsey. With the wind gusting 10 knots, Dave decided it was obliviously the time to attempt dingy water-skiing which surprisingly went rather well. Harvey treated us to his questionable jokes on the way and we had a few rounds of charades, made slightly trickier by the wine and terrible acting skills. Lots of dolphins had been spotted around Guernsey so we prepared for a dolphin drill by laying out our swimming things and a rope to tie on to, ready to quickly change and jump in the water to swim with the dolphins…6 hours of attempted dolphin spotting later and we gave up. We motored onto the mooring at 7:45pm after a successful and enjoyable first trip.
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