Our trip from Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue to Cherbourg was rather uneventful, except for the last twenty minutes. When we enter the outer harbour on a dead run, Moritz points to some fins in the water, which turn out to belong to dolphins! In less than a minute they have swum towards us and are playing in our bow wave. We had not expected this at all and are incredibly excited! They stay with us until we get close to the commercial harbour, it seems they prefer to stay outside.
We stay in Cherbourg for a few days, because the wind is insufficient to make the trip to Guernsey in a day. Instead, we work on the boat: installing the AIS (a tracking system, Google it if you’re curious), fixing other electronics and climbing the mast to replace a light and clean the spreaders (they were slightly green). In Cherbourg there are constantly sailing boats entering and exiting the harbour, it is very lively.
On the 25th of March, we leave Cherbourg to sail to Guernsey. This trip is quite uneventful as well. Around the headland, we find ourselves in a laundry machine (figuratively, the water is just very sloshy). This is precisely at the time when I decide to warm up some lunch, which might not have been the best decision in hindsight …
After some hours of not seeing any land, we spot the island just before the sun goes down. In the twilight, we sail into the harbour, where we are awaited by the harbour master in a dinghy. He says he saw us coming on the AIS, which makes us very happy of course. This gentleman guides us to the waiting pontoons in the outer harbour, since there is a sill at the actual harbour, and the tide is not high enough yet for us to pass over it. We are also given a customs form to fill out. The outer harbour has its opening to the east, which is somewhat unfortunate because there is a steady eastern wind blowing. It means that the water in the harbour is quite choppy, and it’s not exactly a nice and quiet spot. This doesn’t bother us too much, because we are dead tired from the long trip.
The next day, we visit the city. The first thing that strikes us is that the cars drive on the left side of the road. We had not fully realized that this island is really a part of Great Britain. The next thing is the license plate, which consists of three to five numbers. It makes the cars look a bit like toy cars. We walk through the shopping streets into the living areas. Most houses are imposing villas with enormous well-kept gardens, and great blooming camellia bushes are everywhere. On our way back to the harbour, we come across a beautiful Victorian botanical garden behind the Guernsey Museum. It seems to be a real bird paradise here, and we sit down for a while to watch and listen to the birds.
Back on the boat, we have a somewhat relaxing afternoon. In the evening, we walk on the pier to the lighthouse.