Hello to all out there on dry land! We are currently bobbing about on the sea somewhere off the French coast! So what have we been doing since this time yesterday? Well, we motored into Boulogne at about 5pm ship's time. It didn't take long for most of us on board to 'brush our hair' and 'comb our teeth' as suggested by the mate, before we made our wobbly way ashore!For those of you who have been unfortunate enough not to experience sailing yet, terra firma doesn't seem all that firm after some time at sea! It's an interesting experience when the land sways too! Anyway, shore leave began and in groups, dribs and drabs, we all wandered around to find some food and have an explore! We discovered that once we got away from the large hotels on the dock-side, Boulogne is a very interesting old town. Some of us got very excited by the buildings! There's an old town part inside fortified walls with quite a beautiful cathedral, which looked amazing lit up. We all managed to order our dinner - some with fluent French, some with school- girl French and some in English loudly and slowly with quite a lot of gesturing! Bit embarassing really! After food and drink(s), it was back aboard for a night in harbour. This morning we had all kinds of fun and games with ropes! We had wheelchairs dangling all over the place - well from the fore-mast actually, as the four wheelchair users onboard got hoisted up onto the tops (the first platform on the mast). Excitement all round!
Alongside this, 6 crew of differing abilities and fear levels made the climb up the rigging onto the first platform of the main mast. Some were quaking with terror whilst others were champing at the bit to go higher! Sadly, it was not to be and we were persuaded back down by cake served on deck. 11am ship's time saw us leaving Boulogne, with a little assistance from the Doti boat to help turn the ship around. The crew men on the Doti boat looked rather like they'd been for a swim when they came back aboard - we assume they'd got a little splashed! Smiles all round as well as soggy clothes! Now we are motoring down the French coast towards Cherbourg; sadly the wind is almost dead ahead so not much use for sailing. That said, it is a lovely sunny day with a beautiful aquamarine sea. Wish you were here? Judith Pearson, Forward Port watch.