We moved! - 49° 40' 01"N 01° 40' 17" W

Having commitments with the Garcia warranty team and wild conditions forecast for later in the week, we took the opportunity of a small weather window to spend Sunday night at anchor.  We had intended to head to Anse du Brick, a beach about 6nm to the east of here but the swell was still entering the bay so we scurried back to the shelter of the harbour.  

We ended up in Baie du Sainte-Anne in and amongst the crab pots, just south of Fort de Chavagnac. We tested our new Rocna Vulcan anchor and are pleased to report we did not move at all - even with 20kn of wind and a 5m tide! With wind warnings forecast, we zipped back to the marina.  Delighted that getting our 16 tonne beauty into her pen in 20kn of wind is not nearly as scary this week as it was last week!

Cherbourg Harbour is an amazing place.  It is the world's second largest artificial harbour with 6km of break waters with five forts protecting the outer harbour.  It is a bustling with boats of all shapes and sizes, from kids in their training dinghies to the mighty war frigates and city-block sized cruise ships.  Add to this a tidal range of up to 8m, the view is constantly changing.

The harbour consists of the Grande Rade and the Petite Rade - inner and outer harbours.  Most of the action takes place within the inner harbour.  The military has a huge base and manufacturing facility.  This is where the Australian submarines were to be manufactured before the deal was cancelled.  In fact, about half the inner harbour is off limits as a military zone. It is not an unusual sight to see the menacing grey of a warship slip past the breakwater.

You can catch a ferry from Cherbourg to Poole and Portsmouth in England, Dublin and Rosslare in Ireland or a just pop around the corner to Guernsey.  We have been to both Portsmouth and Dublin on the ferry.  Having a cabin for the overnight sailings makes it feel like such a grand adventure. 

Leaving the Grande Rade on the Dublin-bound ferry

Cruise ships dock at the cruise liner port with great frequency - about 60 a year.  The Titanic stopped in on her way from Southhampton before heading to Cobh in Ireland.  The 24 folks who planned just the Channel crossing and hopped off in Cherbourg must have thanked their lucky stars.  There is an excellent Titanic exhibition at Le Cité de la Mare - including the Baggage Hall.  We had the AIDAnova pull into port last week, a 337m monster with the capacity for 6,600 guests and 1,600 crew.  The town seemed very busy for some reason!

The mighty ship Innovation

At the Industrial Port, you will find some of the world's largest wind turbines under construction.  We had to dodge the huge 'Innovation' an off-shore, heavy lift jack-up ship on our maiden sail on Chinook.  She was in port to collect a few wind turbines.  This is also where you will find a fish processing plant and the Garcia shipyard!  A very important part of the harbour indeed. 

The fishing port (Bassin de Commerce) is behind a swing bridge.  The chaotic traffic of Cherbourg is thrown into additional turmoil when the bridge opens.  The great thing about having a fishing fleet in town is they have a chandlers that specializes in fishing and prices can be somewhat more competitive than the chandlers at the marina.

The Fishing Harbour basin

And there is the marina (Port de Plaisance) with its 1,600 berths.  One of the lovely things about Cherbourg is it can be entered on any tide.  In these areas of big tidal ranges, many of the marinas have either a lock or a sill to ensure adequate depth at low tide.  This does limit when these can be entered and exited.  The marina here is still deep enough at low tide to not need any protection.  It is worth noting the tide prior to provisioning the boat.  The ramps can get very steep at low tide!

Who keeps raising and lowering this pole?

After our first solo foray out of the marina, we are so looking forward to throwing the lines and heading a little further afield!

Port Chartereyne Marina from Chinook!


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