Sunday, August 31, 2008

We made it

Kalessin reached Calais on Wednesday evening after three very full days on the industrialised and busy northern canals.

Here we are on the mooring pontoon in Calais just before the Pont Mollien, where officially you leave the canals and enter the port. It’s very handy for the station and the town hall, but possibly not a place to leave the boat unattended.

We had to arrange locking out with the Calais harbour master, and the impression we received is they are more concerned with ferries than with us, not surprisingly. High tide was at 1123. Eventually they opened the first lock for us at about 1010 but we were stuck in the Bassin Carnot – the Carnot lock was open but the bridge was shut, with a red light. So we lowered the hood and the other tall bits and squeezed under the bridge with about 2ft/0.6m to spare... Ben is still having nightmares. We just missed the bridge opening into the marina and had to spend about 45 minutes on the waiting buoys.

Sadly the chandlery, which operates the mast hoist, is closed until 3 September - otherwise conceivably we could have brought the boat home this weekend. Instead Ben and I came home by Eurostar (incredibly quick) and National Express East Anglia (stuck for an hour five miles south of Diss). Sam is in Calais, cleaning, de-fendering, fixing rigging and occasionally talking to visitors - the marina is very empty. We hope to return in a couple of weeks, weather permitting, to bring Kalessin home.

A typical canal mooring - quite close to the bank on this occasion

Ben helped out with some of the manual locks

Early morning on the Marne a la Saone

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