Travelsonabike2 England Sunday 12th-April-2015

Garry McGivern Travelsonabike2 is cycle touring from France to England on Sunday, 12th-April-2015. Grandcamp-Maisy to Bognor Regis via the Ouistreham to Portsmouth ferry. 72 miles. Early night last night the temperature really started to drop even before it got dark. I closed the tent up and was in my sleeping bag before 8.30! It had been fairly chilly all day, so maybe it was just a follow on from that. Still, I was nice and warm once I was in my sleeping bag.

I didn’t want to get out of it this morning. It was one of those really damp mornings where even the inside of the tent was wet through with condensation! But once the sun came up, it soon warmed up, and it turned out to be another hot sunny day. I set off this morning once again in two minds as to what to do! (Very unusual for me!!) Should I have two long days and try and make it to Dieppe and get the ferry back to England from there. Or have a leisurely day today and get the ferry from Caen either today or tomorrow.

Playing The Tourist

In the end I decided to have a leisurely today and do the tourist bit. So I stopped off at the American War Cemetery at Colleville. A very moving place, all the white headstones in perfect lines and such immaculately kept gardens. I got talking to one of the guides who worked there, and he took me on a tour. He showed me where they filmed a part of the film “Saving Private Ryan” and two headstones that were the sons of the American President Theodore Roosevelt. One of whom was killed in the First World War and is the only stone in the cemetery from the First World War! Now, there’s a fact for you the next time you do a quiz!

American war Cemetery at Colleville
The precisely aligned marble headstones at the American War Cemetery at Colleville.

I must have been at the cemetery for a good hour and a half. I found it totally fascinating! After that, I just ambled along the coast, stopping frequently to look at different memorials. I knew that there was no hurry to get to Caen as there were three ferries a day. Ideally, the crossing from Le Havre to Portsmouth would have been the best option but unfortunately, that is currently not running!

As I started to get towards the ferry port, I was still undecided as to whether to come home today or tomorrow until I saw the ferry out at sea on its way in. I was about 5 miles away. Seeing the ferry I decided to try and beat it into port and get on it! It was fairly hard going as I’d picked up a headwind. But I got to the port just as it was docking and managed to book a passage on it with half an hour to spare!

Excitement On The High Seas

Drama halfway into the crossing. I’d noticed that we seemed to have stopped and were going in circles when it was announced that we were going to the aid of another boat. When we arrived, it was a yacht with five people on it, from what I could see. It was right outside the window I was sitting next to. Their mast had snapped off. You could see the top part of it or, rather, the bottom part of it now just hanging off the side of their boat, pointing down. They looked in a fair amount of trouble. I suppose with the mast in the water, there was a lot of drag and very little control. They came alongside us, and I’m assuming that we handed them a pair of bolt croppers to cut the mast free.

After about 20 minutes, they had cut the mast free, and again, I assume that they were making their way back to port under motor as it came out over the ship’s tannoy that they no longer required our assistance. The last I saw of them was making their own way under motor. It seemed a long way from land to me, but obviously, they could get there okay, or we wouldn’t have left them. The rest of my journey home was uneventful, and I walked in my door at about 1 am.

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