Thursday, 1 June 2006


We arose to find a grey, but relatively calm day, with the wind in the marina at no more than 20kts, so a decision was made to have a dash for Dunkirk.... its only 25nm, so no too much of a challenge... the tides were civilised, suggesting an 09h00 departure.... we made our fairwells to as few new friends made while storm bound in Oostende, and motored out of the entrance.... It was an interesting exit.... there are two piers into Oostende, and the beach either side of them.... because of the shallowing water eith side of the entrance, and the swell running hard from the previous day, we had to punch our way through a few decent waves to get out.... not overly dangerous (or at least not when bow on!), but uncomfortable.... We soon got out into deeper water, and the steep waves changed to rollers, a whole load more comfortable.... we freed right off towards Dunkirk, and found ourselves on a beam reach, with about 20kts of wind.... I had stuck a single reef in the main, and kept a few turns on the genny, and so, while we were occasionally a little pressed in the larger gusts, we were never overpowered to the point of discomfort.... a good job really as the inshore passage to Dunkirk isn't that far off the beach, which in this NW, was a dangerous lee shore.... The positive tide and the strongish winds saw us make exceptionally good speed over the ground of between 7 and 10kts, and we flew down the coast... By 13h00 we had entered the outer harbour at Dunkerque, and after dropping the sails, motored up the further of the two marina, the Yacht Club Mer du Nord after reading the write ups in the Channel pilot.... as it happens a good choice.... a bit more expensive than Oostende at 22 Euros for the night, but good facilities... and much closer to the town... As it was early we walked into town en masse, and headed for a restaurant for food.... no luck though.... they all shut at 15h00... we were too late. So we explored for an hour, in particular being somewhat humbled by the church tower in the twon centre, which was peppered with huge bullet holes from the evacuations of the second world war... hard to appreciate how frightening it must have been really. We returned to the boats to finish tidying up, and agreed to eat at the YC restaurant which advertised its opening at 19h00..... no such luck.... it remained firmly closed... I guess the unseasonal weather had reduced custom to uneconomic levels.... So we wandered back into town, and found a small restaurant that proved to be an absolute gem.... really good service, good prices, and most importantly of all, excellent food..... I ate moules creme, while SWMBO had a fantastic chicken dish in reduced sweet sauce... one of the other members of the group had an 'ocean salad' that would have defied anyone to finish it... it included half a lobster and a mountain of other delights.... and was very good indeed.... for a group of 10, it was 185 Euros including drinks ('several' bottles of wine!) We were back at the boat by 10h00, and soon after to bed.... we didn't have a desperately early start in the morning, but were all pretty tired after a few sleepless nights in Oostende watching warps and fairleads etc...

Miles logged 16nm
Miles this trip 81nm
Miles this season 177nm
Miles since this blog started 958nm

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