Day 80 Sunday 20th August 2017
Boulogne to Dunkerque
All Malcolm’s passage planning pays off – we have 2 – 4 knots of tide with us all the way!
With a brisk Westerly wind to start with, we sail on a close reach to Cap Gris Nez.
After turning the corner we have to goosewing, over the Channel Tunnel and past Calais with its busy ferries. The sea is lumpy so all my photos are rather blurred.
We can see the white cliffs of Dover and the Seven Sisters in the distance. They seem so near and yet so far away, and disappear as we approach Dunkerque. I feel cheated somehow – our home country and being able to see it but not to able to go there!
We’ve decided to go as quickly as possible to the marina near Dordrecht where we’re leaving the boat over the winter. Mum is increasingly frail and I’m intending to go home earlier than planned, which was Friday 1st September. We’ll be coming out to the boat in the Autumn and the Spring, so we’ll visit my Dad’s uncles’ graves and Ypres then.
It’s 44 miles from Boulogne to Dunkerque and it’s taken us from 9.20 am to 4.30 pm. Our last port in France for the next couple of years, we choose the Yacht Club De La Mer Du Nord as we don’t have to go through any locks. The problem is that it’s quite a hike round all the docks to find somewhere that’s open to eat on a Sunday evening. On our way we pass the Stad Amsterdam and the Duchesse Anne , both tall ships. We think Stad Amsterdam came and anchored off Whitby a couple of years ago – does anyone remember?
Next to the Brasserie where we eat, we can see the Princess Elizabeth, a paddlesteamer which was used in the Dunkirk evacuation and rescued 1,673 soldiers. This year’s blockbuster film, ‘Dunkirk’, was filmed here so there are lots of walking trails and tours to the beaches. Between 27 May and 4 June, 338,226 soldiers were evacuated, including 100,000 French soldiers. We haven’t seen the film yet, but I bet you have!