Escale a Gravelines

To "Escale a Gravelines"

19th May in Calais

Birthday girl had a lazy day. Not so the chief sanitation officer who had to deal with a holding tank which was living up to its name and not releasing our “you know” into the depths of the sea as and when required – hence it had filled up.
We piled our heaviest gear (life raft, anchor chain, buckets of water) onto the port side to lean the boat over a bit and Howard was able to remove his inspection panel from the starboard side of the tank without too much mess.

Heeling the boat over to port

Anyone who followed us in 2013 when we sailed round Britain will remember we had problems with wet wipes causing blockages, this time it seemed to be scaled up. Once cleared, our troubles, and smells were not yet over as it transpired that the tank is cracked where there's a fitting for the exit valve. So it had now been by-passed and we are back to using facilities ashore as much as possible or pumping straight out into the sea.
(Next logistical nightmare will be how to get the plastic tank back to the manufacturer for repairs).

20th May
Calais to Gravelines for “Escale a Gravelines”

Leaving Calais Marina has to be done at specific times as there are gates they close to keep the water in when the tide drops. So after coffee ashore we took the last possible bridge opening before the gates closed at 11am and moved out to a buoy in the outer harbour until it was time to take our tide up the coast at about 4pm.

Staysail poled out, mind the gybe

Phew! Winds come round onto the beam - easier steering

It's not very far – log showed about 15 miles - but it was a joy to be sailing with no engine assistance. We had a grandstand view, albeit a long way off, of the various beach activities available here: sand yachting we'd seen before but kite carting was new – maybe they don't even call it that. Kite buggies?

Kite buggie? Kite cart?

Sand yacht

We entered the Gravelines channel over the sane bar 2 hours before high water with only a few feet under our keel despite keeping over to the east side as directed.
We tied up with the rest of the fleet just in time to join them for dinner and music in the Brasserie Au Cap Compass.

Dinner - but the garden's upside down
No caption needed
No, we didn't!


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