A Friday of firsts…

I have seen in many blogs cool and helpful themes for their posts…like Top Ten Tuesdays…What I like Wednesdays…I don’t know if this will be a weekly tradition of mine, but today was definitely a Friday of Firsts.

To start off, we left the Bay of Somme early in the morning in order to go with the tide. Not a first…but it was our first sunrise while sailing La Nomade!wpid-20140606_060619.jpg

I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful and peaceful way to start our day!

Another first, you ask? Well, it was my first time where I didn’t navigate the tiller the entire time. Unless there are tricky manouevers in which case Yves usually takes over, I usually command the tiller . Today, I handed that honor to our dear friend Pierre. Pierre? Who’s Pierre?! Another sailor aboard!? Nope…he is our trusty automatic pilot! Why is he called Pierre? We have a very complicated and capricious GPS who calls himself Pierre…but our Pierre aboard La Nomade will actually take you where you want to go instead of giving confusing and very frustraing directions. So, by handing over the command to Pierre, I was able to lie down inside our cabin for the very first time. Many sailing sources discourage people to stay inside a boat if they are prone to seasickness. I am one of the unfortunate sensitive, but this time, I was able to lie down in our cabin in order to warm myself up and get some rest without throwing up! A definite first! 😉

As we made our way west, we weren’t really sure where our next stop would be. At first, we thought St Valéry en Caux…and then Fecamp. The wind was blowing, the sun was shining..Yves was a happy sailor. Oh another first?? He managed to arrange all of the sails with the genoa and the tangon all by himself (as I mentioned above, I was inside the cabin). Not to mention that the tangon broke off and he had to repair that too first…nothing but a day of firsts!

But the real biggie? The real reason why I write this post?? We decided to go to Ouistreham which would mean our first real night sail as well as our 24 hr sail. I am quite sure it won’t be our last…but for me, this was quite monumental! I didn’t think we would actually sail for this long today. Yves was optimistic with the winds that were blowing and the weather report seemed to be quite benign for the night. Well, about 45 minutes before our arrival to Ouistreham, I can say that the weather report was all wrong! Even though we had already gone through a thunderstorm before, I never actually headed towards one. *Please note that we were not trying to prove ourselves to the weather gods. The port we were heading to just happened to have the most impressive lightnening show right above. Yay?!@#@*

Nevertheless, we safely arrived at the port of Ouistreham where we had our second to the last ‘first’. We handled a ecluse together. Alone. In the night. A ecluse is where you go through a canal, tie your boat to the edge so it won’t float all about, wait for the ecluse to fill up with water, and you head out, in our case, the marina. Pretty proud of ourselves since we never did that before together and alone.

And for the final first of this Friday…we arrived at the port of Ouistreham and much to our surprise, the entire marina is filled with boats that came from Britain to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-day. Who would have thought!?!

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Good-bye Friday, Good morning Saturday!…I’m off to bed.

In search of seals

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Bay of Somme is famously reputed to have a whole flock of really adorable seals just swimming and lounging in their bay. As part of their tourism spiel, there are many ways to see these seals…by boat, by foot and by kayak. As soon as Yves found out that it’s possible to kayak in this bay without too much danger/trouble, he gleefully started to get our kayak out from the deep depths of our cockpit locker. Yes, we have an inflatable kayak. Most people with a sailboat have a dinghy and a small outboard engine in order to get from point A to point B when the boat is anchored down. Us? Well, I guess this is part of our fitness program?! Anyhoo, we have a really great sturdy kayak and I’m hoping to get really great arm muscles.

However, one can not just kayak around the bay whenever and wherever. This bay is pretty much dictated by the tides and tide currents. After many calculations, Yves explained that the best plan for us to kayak and hopefully observe the seals, we would have to leave early morning. With sleepy and groggy heads, we scrambled to get our gear and kayak into place and started paddling out of the marina…I think I lasted about 20 minutes before I started explaining (Yves would refute and say that I was complaining) to him that I felt the lactic acid burning in my bi/triceps. Were we there yet? How much longer? Where are the seals?!? Wait a second…

What’s that up ahead Yves?! Is that a seal??

YEAH!!

Hey…over there, is that another one there?!?

Uh, no Joanna…that’s a buoy.

(Just a sidenote, in respect of these poor seals who are subjected to being constantly gawked at by us tourists, we spoke in our loudest whisper voice possible as so not to disturb their morning siesta). We continued further out into the bay and I could see the lighthouse of Cap Hourdel where we biked to. Suddenly we saw one seal, then another, then another…then another…we hit jackpot! We started making our way to a sand bank all the while excitedly whispering how cute they were (hmm…that was more me than Yves). We brought the kayak ashore and Yves proceeded to take National Geographic quality pictures. Well, at least he looked like he did.

Yes yes..the seals are there.

Yes yes..the seals are there.

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All in all, another great excursion and what was even more rewarding than seeing all the seals that we did was the fact that we could just jump in our own kayak and start paddling out. This was exactly the type of adventure I had imagined so it was definitely something to actually be able to do it. VERY. AWESOME.

Life is good!

Life is good!