Head south till the butter melts and then sail for the setting sun... Never mind the butter, what about the carrots?! On leaving Lymington on the 8th September, the crew of Black Arrow were straight into a night sail across the English Channel heading for Guernsey! Arriving at a tidal gate too early meant a couple of hours stop off in Braye harbour, Aldernay. Had slight problems with water in the fore-peak on the crossing, but the need for sleep far out-balanced the soggy-ness!
Upon arrival at Guernsey marina, around early evening on the 9th, we were greeted with a short firework display. It didn't stop there, the following morning we were treated to a three hour air show taking place right over our heads in the marina! The finale of the show being none other than the Red Arrows themselves, we felt quite honoured really. On from this followed camera shopping and an afternoon of gentle mooching about St Peter Port and then we hired a car on the friday for a circle tour of the island. Sights included lots of beaches, artillery bunkers, road-side fruit and veg and very, very cool kite-surfers.
Saturday has brought a hill climb motor race during the day, with a large screen on the main pier in St Peter Port this evening showing the last night of the proms, live music finished off with more fireworks.
Feeling well and truly spoiled by Guernsey and expecting the same treatment from every port from now on, we depart tomorrow (12/9) in the direction of Brest, where Gosia will leave us to catch a plane to a wedding.

Brest-La Rochelle

The crew that it is safe to safe, that Brest was not even a patch on the hospitality provided by Guernsey. Upon discussion, we have concluded that the best way to describe the town of Brest would be to say; it is mainly unfinished but has good laundrette facilities. With roadworks all the way up the main street and modern water features...lacking water,we felt that Brest wasn't showing us her better side.
After receiving post, we left Brest Marina on 18th Sept and headed South towards La Rochelle so that yet another crew member could leave on a plane. This 48 passage was not forecasted to be great weather rain-wise, so we were preparing ourselves for a bit of a soggy stretch. (On the subject of soggyness,we have found and filled the hole causing sea-water to gush into the fore-peak) However, the precipitation seem to hold off for the most part and the 48 hours passed fairly uneventfully with a couple of pods of dolphins having a bit of a play in the bow wave.
However, complication arose on the pilotage in La Rochelle. Having left Brest as late as we had, meant we were going to be cutting it pretty fine to get Iain to his plane. As it turned out, we had to squeeze into the Marina with as little as 30/40cm of tide between the bottom of our keel and the seabed, with French boats running aground all around us and then following us in! It didnt stop there, we were less that 3 metres away from the fuelling pontoon when we lost power from the engine. It was running fine, but the throttle cable had snapped! So Iain, on deciding that the jump to the pontoon was going to be much easier than having to explain missing his plane, jumped for the pontoon with mid-ships line in hand. Once secured, Iain left for his taxi and we were towed by a frenchman to the otherside of the marina and tied to a boat which doesnt look like its been used in twenty years...
So today, Si left in search of a new cable and the Richard and I went into La Rochelle itself. It is said that every person that visits La Rochelle leaves with at least one picture of the towers on their camera. So we felt that it was our duty to to be tourists for the day and take lots of photos! With its towers and narrow streets, bars, coffee shops and water bus, La Rochelle is a great place to spend an afternoon. It was like wandering round with David Attenborough, walking with Richard and his video camera...
Now back at the boat, we are keeping our heads down in order to stay another night! We leave here in the next couple of days and should be in La Coruna by the end of the week where we will pick up Gosia.
Status of the butter melting... No obvious signs of melting as yet, however peanut butter has gone slightly runny...

Nazare, Lisbon

Having left the Rio de Muros, we headed South towards Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. However, the wind was against us. It was a no great strength of wind, but it was just going in the wrong direction for where we wanted to go. This brought about the decision to change course and head for a little fishing village to the North of Lisbon called Nazare. This decision was sweetened a little by a visit by a pod of about 10-15 dolphins which played in the bow wave of the boat for a good half an hour. Nazare is an absolute gem tucked away on the Portuguese coast. From the eccentric harbour master to the funicular railway with a nice bit of old town buildings to mooch around, Nazare was a lovely stop off on our travels. The Crew also caught a bus and travelled the 125km South to visit Lisbon itself. With its Castle and many churches, not to mention all the hills, we had a very energetic day of being tourists! A great time was had by all in the sun and the views were fantastic. Keep an eye out on the photo gallery as we have many photos to upload when we find a good enough internet connection!

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