Braye Habour, Elderney
At anchor Braye Harbour, Alderney Island
Wind: Northwest, light
Weather: Sunny, warm
As suspected, the last 26 miles to Alderney proved a challenge. We got as far as Cape de la Hague leaving a 10 mile hop across the Alderney Race but each time we would tack off the northwest to cross it the flooding tide would catch us and sweep us back east My second attempt I came in close to the shore, passing close by cardinal buoys marking banks and rocks, into small bays, catching counter-currents, it was all going very well then time to cross the Race again and once more we were swept back east. I must admit at about this point I rather lost my cool and was not on very good terms with my Creator. But by my third attempt the tide had turned and we made good progress, staying a respectful distance clear of the Race, it has a pretty bad reputation and when I called Alderney Harbour for advice on getting into the harbour at night the radio operator advised me to stay well to the north of it so as not to get sucked into it.
Our timing was less than ideal, it was well and truly dark, no moon, and the tide was ebbing causing a strong stream across the harbour entrance. Nonetheless the entry in was pretty straight forward being clearly marked by two very bright lead lights, and while very dark once in the harbour with few lights to assist, most of the boats at anchor were displaying anchor lights though those on moorings, which were numerous, were not, my trusty spot light helped identify a clear patch of water and at 11.20 p.m. we let the anchor go in 9.5 meters of water. I hoisted the 'Q' flag and UK courtesy flag, set the anchor light and anchor ball, then turned in.
At 10 a.m. I was roused by a knock on the hull, a boat from the Harbour Master's office was checking on us. It was a timely wake up call. Since we have eaten, cleaned up, been ashore, cleared in, looked around, done a bit of maintenance - finished off some painting I had started way back in Annapolis, and now had dinner and am writing up the blog. It is still light, it is 6.30 p.m.Alderney time so my plan from here is to go ashore and have a beer, then a quiet night. Tomorrow will be a much needed maintenance day.
Hey, guess what I found - vegemite! Had vegemite on crumpets for lunch. Tomorrow I will buy the supermarket out of its supplies, two jars left.
All is well.
It seems I am confined to quarters, and for what I ask you, for being nothing more than an American cat. Something about rabies and the Channel Islands being sensitive environmental zones. I am not even allowed to go on deck, talk about paranoid. Personally I think it is just the usual US phobic propaganda. I am a clean, upright, senior citizen of the greatest country on earth - drum roll please, stand up, take your hats off, hands on hearts:
"O Say , can you see, by dawn's early light.
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming!
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting there;
O' say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"
"God bless America".
Nowadays I have to live under the flag of some pip squeak nation, what's it called, New Zealand, no that's the other one, no matter it will come to me. Still I hear they've been pretty loyal allies, can be counted on in a scrape, not bad blokes to use their vernacular - I here it coming; Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie; Oi, Oi, Oi! . Australia that's it.
That wave of euphoria (my anthemn, not the Ozzie bit) requires a good solid rest. Might as well make the most of the situation .. Zzzzzzz.