Wednesday 29th/ Thursday 30th July Ref: 2015/23
Our time in Caen was a mixed bag; useful as it was to hole up during some pretty serious gales and high winds, the port facilities and amenities were a bit disappointing and, apart from a good market upon arrival, some fine cafes/restaurants/bistros and bars and the Caen Memorial, we were getting bored after a few nights there. Furthermore, the marina WiFi, though free, was slow and unreliable and cut users off after an hour each day and so that was not much of an opportunity to get some work and publishing done. The restrictive canal transit convoy times, uncoordinated with the reducing number of lock times at Ouistrehem, and the few hours that the harbourmaster is in attendance also makes for difficult entry and exit.
Time was moving on, however, and the storms had ended and the waves and swell offshore from the north-west was gradually subsiding and so our next passage had to be a long one to ensure our eventual arrival back in Ramsgate in time to collect our dog from his minders. On the morning of Wednesday 29th July, we took the first bridge transit starting at Caen at 08.45am LT (the next one was not until noon and the last at 3pm) and made our way back to Pegasus bridge and used the nearby campsite Wifi to be able to monitor and weather and make our passage plans.
Next morning, the new plan was for a potentially long cruise of 56nm and 6hrs 30mins around Cap d'Antifer and on to St Valery-en-Caux, which would take us within striking range of Bolougne on the one hand, or the English coast at Eastbourne if needed. Being a long cruise newly after storms, we could have contingency arrangements to go into le Havre (an all tide port) after 21nm or 2hrs 45mins or Fecamp (39nm 4hrs 30mins) if we were not enjoying the passage. Both St Valery and Fecamp can be entered two hours each side of high water for choice. However, although the sea conditions turned out to be slight/moderate at times with a NE swell, we ploughed on and timed our arrival at St Valery dead right to councide with the gate being opened and the first bridge lift taking place.
Weather from the marine.meteoconsult.fr web site (am 29th) For the Ouistrehem and St Valery ports gave us 9-11kn breeze from the NE with 0.4-5m waves and a 0.7m swell which is bascially a F3/4 and this was what it turned out to be. The Inshore Normandy forecast the day before was F3 WNW with smooth/slight seas with 0.3-7m swell and >10nm visibility and pressure steady at 1019mb but it was slight/moderate at times with that swell.
17-31-19degC; 68-30-48%RH humidity, 1011-1018mb (steady on day 2); sl/mod seas with swell, 9-10kn NNW: good visibility