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Down the Norman coast and a diversion to the Bailiwick

We last posted from Dieppe having just arrived in France. Stuffed with too much good french food we left on a high tide for a great sail down the coast to Fecamp. Not quite as interesting a place but a good berth and a rather windy mid summer party on the beach with a superannuated French rock band massacring English classics!

Then a sail down the dramatic Alabaster coast (above) to the painfully picturesque port of Honfleur (below) at the mouth of the Seine. There are lots of tourist cafes around the Bassin Vieux but those best loved by the locals are a bit back from the quay. The hot tip from the harbour master is the unlikely named 'Au Relais Des Cyclistes' .

Alas we didn't get a chance to try it as we only got that advice an hour before we locked out for our sprint to catch the last lock into Ouistreham ad the cruise up the canal under Pegasus Bridge to Caen.

Caen was William the Bastard's capital before he fought his way up in the world to become William the Conquerer. It is well worth a few days of anyone's time; a really good art galley (right),good museums, a huge and fruitful Saturday market, castles, cafes and theatres. Much of the old town was lost in the Battle of Normandy but enough remains to give it real character.

We had intended to stop off in Port en Bassin on our way along the D Day coast but weather and indecisive harbour managers meant it was not a good option so we headed straight across the Bai du Seine to anchor overnight off St Vaast before a very bumpy rush around Cap Barfleur to Cherbourg. We were tempted to take the tender Boo into the harbour to try the St Vaast oysters but have been advised by several fishmongers who know that the small extra paid for those raised off Utah Beach is well worth the indulgence. Personally I tend to follow the guidance of only eating oysters when there is a R in the month.

Cherbourg is a bit run down but still has a wide range of artisan shops and some of the best fish we have come across. The weather was a bit iffy for our next leg around Cap de la Hague into the Channel Islands so we took the chance to take the train to Bayeux (we had intended to visit from Port en Bessin). Wow, the tapestry/embroidery is even more amazing up close than the pictures suggest and even though the crowd moves along a a pace it was well worth the visit. Unlike Caen the town did not get destroyed in the Battle of Normandy and is still full of character

The local cafes and tea rooms are not to be missed either!

Our stay in Cherbourg was enhanced by the flow of good news; a new fresh government in the UK, France and England both qualifying for the semis of the Euros, and perhaps most surprisingly, sanity prevailing in France with the stemming of the right wing tide.

We headed off from on the morning tide in a lighter mood, around the Cap and through the Alderney Race just as it started to flow south, surrounded by a dozen or more yachts, all of who had been waiting like us for the weather to settle a bit.

Instead of our planned stop in Dielette, we decided to cross over the St Peter Port in the Bailiwick of Guernsey for a couple of days. We had expected to be on moored in the outer harbour but the HM decided we could get into Victoria Marina. We managed it, just, with a number of adjacent boat owners hovering fearing for their topsides. They worried needlessly, the HM team on three dories made sure we were nudged into our berth without incident. I'm not sure how we are going to get out however!

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