Showing posts from February, 2024

Splash down - 49° 38' 48" N 01 35' 47" E

Wow, today actually came!  There were times when we didn't think it ever would and we would be living in anticipation forever! A major milestone in the Chinook journey. Today she was transported from the shipyard and popped into the water!  It was supposed to happen yesterday, but the weather gods do not always bless us with perfect weather. It was literally blowing a gale . Waves were crashing over the breakwater of the outer harbour flinging spray high into the air.  It would have been a great day to watch the waves smash on the lighthouse at Goury - one of those famous stone lighthouses you see half obscured by waves. We had caught the night ferry back from Portsmouth and even in the inner harbour, it had trouble offloading.   Definitely not the day for splashing a boat! This was the weather for the proposed splash. Hmmm, now why would they postpone it? But thirty hours later, it was a perfect splash day, with almost no wind and we even had some sun. Chinook was at the Garcia b

Garcia Boatyard - 49° 38' 48" N 01 35' 47" E

When we rocked up to the Garcia office for our Monday morning meeting, we couldn't help but notice that a mast-less Exploration 45 was parked outside the shed door where we had previously seen our hull parked.  Could this be o-u-r boat? Nice boat.  Could it be ours??? Marie, our project manager, confirmed that it was our boat!  Although we had come to the yard to put the Boat Show goodies that we had acquired into Garcia-provided storage, we were meeting with Christophe, the after-sales guy to go over spare parts and after-delivery emergency equipment that we were putting on our order.  We would not be getting a look ON BOARD this marvellous aluminium creature.  We would just be admiring through the meeting room window.  Our boat tour was tomorrow. The next day, we had mistakenly thought that the meeting was at 11 am, rather than the scheduled 10 am.  at 10:15 we received a text message from a puzzled Marie.  "Are you coming for the meeting?  Don't you want to

Vimy Ridge - 50° 22' 17" N 02° 46' 21" E

Our route from Mons to Cherbourg took us past Vimy Ridge so we stopped to tour the memorial. For the Australians reading this, Vimy Ridge is Canada's Gallipoli. It was the first time all four Canadian Divisions had attacked together and men from all over Canada involved. Similar to Gallipoli, it is considered the birth of the nation - but, unlike at Gallipoli, the Canadians won and took the ridge! The Canadian National Vimy Memorial is 100 hectares of battlefield that France has ceded to Canada in perpetuity. It is preserved as a park, managed and run by Canada. The guides are all Canadian post-secondary students employed under a Veteran Affairs program - Student Guides in France . Visits are free and the guided tour, which included going into the tunnels, was excellent. Vimy Ridge is a high point in the area and overlooks the plains below for kilometres in every direction. The Germans had held this high point and had defended it against repeated attacks for most of the war.

Mons - 50° 27' 59" N 03 34' 15" E

We spent a couple of nights in Mons, Belguim.  The weather was chilly and rainy so we decided museums were the order of the day.  We started with the Mons Memorial Museum - and managed to spend the whole day there!  The museum tracks the history of Mons but pays special attention to the impact of the two world wars on the inhabitants and the city.   The collection of artefacts and stories was fascinating and presented the complexities of living under occupation extremely well.  It was a little confronting seeing photos of tanks rolling through the square where we had enjoyed a beer the evening before. And just how awful to have a young soldier be billeted in your home for a year or so but have to consider him the enemy.  Sitting at a cafe in the town square ... Same town square seventy years earlier Some of the topics were really challenging ... even confronting. Imagine being labelled an enemy collaborator ... even if it was the only way you could feed your family.  Or, h

The Administration of Life - 48° 27' 46" N 07° 28' 41" E

We are often asked how we manage the administration of life with travelling as we do.  It has taken some time to set up but we now can float around as we please with things mostly taking care of themselves. Banking In today's world of internet banking, things are much simpler than they were once.  Online banking enables us to take care of most of our banking from anywhere.  There is a complication with two-step verification.  We deal with our Canadian banking via text message to Sean's Canadian phone number.  For our Australian banking, we use a dongle that generates a random number and allows verification that way.  This means we are not reliant on a phone.   We have experienced one hiccup with all of this.  Under recent changes to Canada's money laundering laws, we are required to do large transfers in person at the bank.  Our boat payments have all fallen into the large transfer category and we have had to be in Canada in order to make these payments.