The intention of this voyage is to join the RNVRYC July meet in Normandy, thence to the Seine and canals en route to the Baltic next year. We have to go via Epernay, where Gillie was an Au Pair some years ago.
Eos has been in refit in Southsea, essential repairs to hull have been done, but due to being out of the water for so long, new cracks in the hull have appeared; these have been repaired but ‘taking up’ time is required.
July 3-6 Mon-Thurs Weather fine/Breezy
Frantically finishing off, finally launched on 3rd. Mike Morgan came to check engines with us and Eos went out for sea trials. As expected water coming in at seams which haven’t taken up as yet. Engines OK.
Found good shops in Eastney Road including one that sold dog food, china and big flowery knickers. Also saw old lady with her hair tied up in scarf.
Goodbyes to Sid, Pete etc.
The windlass motor blew up, help! Vitesse came to the rescue with a new motor and relay. Windlass and relay had been mismatched at delivery. What service!
Fri 7 Dull/ showery
Panic, up at 06.00 to pay last minute bills, wired up the windscreen wipers and the new windlass motor and relay.
Mike and Eileen Morgan and Kit Fleming arrived in good time to stow bikes, spare propellers, dinghy etc. Flashed up engines and off at 11.15. Rousing send off from Premier Marine people and Mike from boatyard who handed over a tin of blue paint as we motored through the gates! Reported to Coastguard.
Quite rough until we left the Isle of Wight but boat fine. Not much shipping.
Arrived St. Vaast La Hougue at 20.00B. 66.00€ for 2 nights
Dinner for Eileen’s birthday at Les Fuchsias, rue Victor Hugo; absolutely delicious, not too expensive, booking essential.
All slept like logs.
Sat 8 Sun/breezy
Changed all other fuel filters. Food shopping in the market, Kit encouraged us to buy 100 oysters for 24 Euros! (The wooden basket now makes an excellent vegetable store.) Visit to M. Gosselin’s food emporium, everything from Cath Kidson type T towels etc. charcuterie, coffees, teas, boulanger, and vast wine cellars.
Lunch at Café du Port, soup au moules.
Long walk to old moated signalling station and ice creams on the way.
Supper on board – oysters, absolutely delicious.
Sun 9 Dull/drizzly
Off at 08.05 – very lumpy sea, rolling and pitching! Much calmer after passing Isles St. Marcouf.
Arrived Grandcamp Maisy at 10.00 alongside Alana III, James Hanratty’s boat, with Tom and Madeleine on board.
Friendly port, not particularly attractive but good market and fish. 25€ one night.
12.00 Pontoon Party between us and Alana, champagne not v. special.
18.00 Reception at the Mairie, v. hospitable and we all practiced our French.
19.30 Dinner at Le Degulesclin on waterfront, excellent and good company.
Slept like logs again.
10 Mon. Sunny/calm
10.45 start engines and off.
13.00 anchored off Arromanche, Winston Bay, inside the Mulberry harbour. Dead calm.
Finished off the oysters for lunch.
Swung the compass. Very short distances between
ports and the tides were not in our favour so long waits to lock in.
21.30 arrived Dives/Port Guillaume.
Supper, late to bed
Tue 11 Dull/drizzly early, hot & sun later
Late breakfast. Marina surrounded by new apartment blocks, some nice, some naff. Kit had to leave in order to get to the Lord’s Test Match the next day. Harbour master excellent- Christophe Loyer
Organised menus for the “revolving dinner” (pork Normandie, pears/red wine and choc sauce)
Shopped in the Dives covered market, lovely old beamed building. Bought thick Normandy cream ladled out of vat, none of your feeble supermarket stuff.
1st course on Impian, 2nd/3rd on Eos, rest of our crew dotted around the other boats. The mayor of the next village, a delightful old buffer, came for pudding. Too much calvados to end the evening!!
Wed 12 Bright/sunny
Just about to leave when discovered that the starboard gearbox was disconnected from shaft! The pin had fallen out- how convenient it was not at sea. With 2 engineers on board this was soon rectified. Actually, said he, it was awkward and required the use of a 4 part tackle and a rolling hitch on the shaft to pull the shaft back in.
13.30 arrived on time in Bassin Morny opp. Deauville Yacht Club. 62.60€ 2 nights
Beers at Chez Martha on corner of Quai des Yachts – v. expensive and Martha v. grumpy!!
Shopped but not a lot open, found a good Poissonerie and bought a huge crab to make risotto
Calvados nightcap in bar around the corner.
Pinder’s Circus arrived on quai above us and out of a large lorry came 8 Bactrian camels, 1 zebra and 1 donkey. Out of another lorry came 6 horses. I didn’t see the lion, but apparently he was there. All beautifully kept, a VERY efficient organisation, about 200 employees, the choice of 3 big tops, 2, 4 or 6,000 seaters. They give 2 performances per day and move on each night for the whole of the summer. All that remained were wisps of straw and odeur de camel.
Thurs 13 Warm/sunny
Commissioned generator- first time.
Laundrette and shopping in Trouville – good, wonderful fish market. Pimms on board Eos mixed in the new jug bought by Eileen and Mike M, otherwise we would have used an old Tesco water bottle.
Supper at Les Voiles et Les Vapeurs, Trouville for Derek Hirst’s 80th b. VERY hot and noisy and long. Moules Mariniere, salmon and tarte aux pommes. Fireworks.
At low tide there is a causeway at the seaward end of harbour across the river to avoid walking all the way round, cost half a euro.
Fri 14 Bastille Day Warm/sunny, dull later
Parade of Pompiers. V. good market in Deauville.
Peter (my brother) arrived from Paris where he works, for the journey up the Seine. Left D at 11.30, quite rough and difficult to pick out marks to pass Le Havre and Honfleur, we were slightly late for the tide but gradually caught it up, this is important as pleasure craft are dissuaded from mooring on the Seine below Rouen, except possibly at Caudebec. Under Ponts Normandie and Tancarville, magnificent bridges.
Flooded Fwd heads- loose hose clip- fixed.
The landscape is industrial on port bank, flat on starboard (upstream), gradually becoming hilly and wooded. Several small ferries across river. Quilleboeuf-sur-Seine looked an attractive town.
We saw one pleasure boat, 1 dredger and 2 speed boats, 1 or 2 s. dinghies so very quiet.
Arrived Rouen at 19.00 after 7.5 hours and 62.6 n.miles at Ile Lacroix Halte Nautique pontoon looking downstream to cathedral. Supper on board, then stroll around and drink
at bar next to cathedral.
The GE picture opposite actually has Eos moored- just by the red pin!!
18.60€ per night
Brilliant Bastille Day fireworks on ‘our’ bridge.
Good night’s sleep, but noisy in morning especially the ducks.
Sat 15 Hot and sunny
Difficulty buying our permit to proceed further up river, the office wasn’t opening until Monday. We should probably have bought this earlier!! Rouen is not a bad place to have to spend a couple of days! Had a good explore. Rouen was badly bombed by the Brits especially around the Cathedral. The old part is on the S.E. side, Rue Alsace Lorraine, Place St. Marc (Sunday market, rue Eau de Robec v. pretty. Lots of bars and restaurants.
Supper at reasonable restaurant close to Cathedral.
Sun 16 Hot and sunny
More sight seeing, Peter took train to Paris, a bit disappointed that he didn’t go through any locks, but hope he and Bridget will join us later in our trip. Mike found an Internet Café at station, this should have been good, but all went wrong – a virus! I spent a long time reading in the shade of trees near mooring whilst he sorted the computer.
Two nice boats arrived – Milau , Dutch and a French owned British registered river boat, also C Change a catamaran with a very non communicative couple and children on board.
Mon 17 Hot and sunny
Bought our Permit for cash, no credit cards used here, only in Bethune That was 69.90€ till 1st August and 118.00€ from 23 Aug to 22 Sept. Mike biked back to internet café, still no joy, virus stayed with us until return to England, hence no communication other than by mobile phone.
Set off at 11.00, still very quiet. Another Jade (old Tomkinson boat name) and a motor boat or 2; followed two barges to first lock, easy except for moving ropes up the wall then around the top bollard. No ice creams, the café had just closed and it was VERY hot.
Tournedos-sur-Seine, Pont Pincher and La Rocquette pretty villages, some look a mixture of Caldy and Henley. Chalk cliffs, some outcrops appear like carved heads and lovely rural countryside, also grain silos. Lots of swans but not many cygnets, ducks, cormorants, herons.
Tosnes, according to the Navicarte, should have been a good stop, but like several places recommended, no good for us as was the marina at Les Andelys so moored against a small commercial pontoon and hoped no commercial boat would come.
Chateau Gaillard built by Richard the Lionheart on hill behind village, beautifully lit at night. Beautiful houses, butcher closed till Thursday and 2 Boulangeries, no bars so tried to get a late evening beer at Hotel de Normandie, no joy there, but eventually “Madame La Guillotine” at Hotel Chene d’Or rather begrudgingly allowed us to buy one.
I didn’t sleep well as imagined barges wanting our mooring!! Got up and watched several barges gliding past so silently with no wash, in the moonlight, very ghost like.
Tue 18 V. hot and sunny
Left 09.05. next lock on our own, holding points on stbd. side only; so large one feels very small! No café.
Saw wild cat with fish. Several lovely houses on the various islands – Pressagny l’Orguelleux, Vernon YC for members only. Stopped at Limay to try and buy brown mastic and also thought it would be a good overnight stop. Unfortunately mooring no good and also the only free spot was opposite a permanent boat owned by ‘lady’ in v. tight black dress and crates of empty drink bottles!
Hardly any cormorants but lots of ducks and swans and some little grebes.
Stopped at Meulan moored against SABLE an American owned British registered 20m long steel barge built in Warwick. Robert (70) and his well preserved blond wife together with Lily a 6 month old Doberman; they spend 6 months on European waterways and the winters back in Florida.
Duck with 10 ducklings. No bars open. Pleasant park and very pretty bridge.
Wed 19 hot and sunny then Thunder/Lightning later
Left 09.00 ish having shopped, butcher churlish and no good veg.
New marina at Villeness sur Seine, remember this for next time. I drove into lock Ecluse de Chatou! Quite often on our own in these enormous locks, no difficulty with mid boat line. Most barges are husband/wife combination, apart from the sand barges, all safe and polite so far. Lots of industry, gravel workings, passed old Renault factory on its island. Lovely modern house boats, equivalent of city loft living, on rt.bank; on either bank converted barges for miles, definitely no room for us to moor anywhere other than Halte Nautiques.
Although we have the latest guide we came across several differences between the river marks and the guide, mostly with regard to the change in navigation channels, so an eagle eye is needed; luckily being used to keeping a log on a sailing boat we are good at ticking off the marks, particularly important to keep tabs on the bridges coming into Paris.
v.v. hot. Very exciting to arrive in Paris via the river. Moored up at Quai de Grenelle, between Ponts de Grenelle and Bir Hakeim just short of Eiffel Tower, a new facility this year, 32 Euros per night, good showers and loos, very helpful Capitain. We are OK on the river but smaller boats are rocked quite badly by the wash from bateaux mouches. Rang Nick and Francine Rosa, who are coming for a drink on Thursday. Rang the Bureau family on the off chance that they might still be in Paris, but no, they were at their cottage.
Supper on board then drink at bar in Blvd de Grenelles. Watched a middle aged Algerian car driver being questioned by 5 police, don’t know what he had done but he was taken away.
Slept well, trains stop at 24.00 and start at 06.00 but soon got used to them.
Thurs 20. V.hot, sunny, some cloud. Thunder/lightning
Mike biked to Paris Arsenal Chandlery (another Halte Nautique where you lock into the basin and is quieter) for brown Sikaflex, no brown so bought white. I went to seedy laundrette and shopping, again no good for fruit and veg. Had to make two journeys to carry all.
Mike painted decks and fixed fire detection cord- more of that later. More rain.
20.30 Nick and Francine for Pimms then out to Italian restaurant
Francine has recently had an operation on her shoulder and they are off to London tomorrow on 08.00 Eurostar, Nick carrying all the bags I imagine. Very good to see them.
The Dutch boat next door has a very old chocolate Labrador who has to be cooled down with frequent buckets of Seine water. Upstream a large dark red painted houseboat with pots and pots of roses and honeysuckle.
The next day we left for Epernay.