1000 The sky brightens as we prepare to leave, going calmly through our routine which is well practised after 4 weeks. Only a bridge and a slimy, shell-encrusted lock between us and the open sea.
1200 An exemplary exit from Ostend - we heard one of the huge motor cruisers going out so we tagged on behind and were out of the lock in 30 minutes. In the calm of the outer harbour we had the fenders and warps stowed and the mainsail up. Now we are having a cracking sail against all the odds (i.e. not the forecast direction) with a 12kn wind on the beam - lovely!
The Belgian coastal resorts are anything but beautiful. Rows of identical blocks of flats behind a long, long beach. (Pic)
1400 Threading our way along buoyed channels through sandbanks on our approach to Dunkerque. Still under full sail though the wind is easing.
1600 Rounded up outside the harbour and dropped the sails, motored gently in with no commercial traffic, set fenders and warps in the calm water of the outer harbour. Called Marina du Grand Large on VHF and they gave us a pontoon berth with no fuss. We found it, we got into it and we tied up with no problem or shouting, sweating or swearing.
Truly an exemplary day. 1 hour motoring and 6 hours sailing. You could almost think we've got the hang of this. Wonder what surprises tomorrow will bring? !
It has been a much cooler day with cloudy sun and a cool breeze. We are sitting in the late afternoon sun enjoying a snack and strong coffee ... there are no cafés near this marina. We won't make the trek into town because we're just here for the overnight stop. If we had chosen to moor nearer the town there would have been delays in leaving. Tomorrow we leave at 0700 to catch the tide for Blighty in the form of Ramsgate.