Back to Blighty - Friday 3rd May

Hospital ship with film crew patrolling

This film “Dunkirk” had better be good.
We hung about until 3pm waiting for the tide and then once we had cast off and were heading out we were asked by 2 chaps in a dory (scrupulously politely it has to be said) whether we'd mind just hanging around for 10 minutes while they filmed some sequence involving 2 warships coming slowly into the harbour. First the warships had to get out of the harbour which meant waiting for some big commercial traffic and then there was some continuity problem involving visible plastic (as far as we could make out on the VHF) so that the ships had to approach in the opposite order to that envisaged...

Warships approaching - not sure I can see what continuity were worried about but they had to go back and do it again

Anyway I got some close-ups of the hospital ship and of cheerful WW2 characters waving and saluting before we finally got clearance to leave at 15.45 (as quickly as ever we could, pretty please).

Must have been a dull moment for these extras - or is that... is it really...?

Once free we bounced out of the harbour and motor-sailed along in between the sand banks as far as Dunkirk West. We passed another gaffer going the other way and took pictures - we don't know the boat but we suppose that we looked a bit like this to them:

Then it was decision time: to carry on inside the sandbanks and make for Calais or to start edging out towards the shipping lanes with Ramsgate in mind. The forecast was benign, "N 4 or 5 decreasing 3 at times", and the fog patches were scheduled for “later” so we went for the latter course.
6pm (French time) we were one hour from the shipping lanes making 7-8 knots over the ground as the tide helped us along and 3 hours later we were across and the South West Goodwin buoy was in view.
10pm saw us entering Ramsgate and by 10.15 we were all secure in the marina.

The Dunkirk theme did not let go however as the marina was almost full of Dunkirk Little Ships waiting for a suitable opportunity (such as they has in June 1940) to cross over and serve their country (or star in a movie...).

For fear that if it the Dunkirk theme runs for yet another day you will never look at this blog again I will include below a couple of pics of those boats taken as we left again next morning and perhaps my next post will be WW2 free.


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