Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Le Treport memories

The white vans of Boulogne
We spent a couple of hours shopping in Boulogne. While in most British ports we have visited the fishing industry seems to be in terminal decline, here the inshore fishing business seems to be flourishing with lots of boats coming and going. The picture shows a row of white vans lined up in the fish dock waiting for the day's catch to arrive.

We left Boulogne mid morning with a light northerly breeze which developed over the course of the day to a respectable force 4. We sailed past the Somme estuary, Le Treport, and entered Dieppe harbour after dark with Allan at the helm. 

This stretch of coast has some vivid memories for us. Bonita was last here in 1964 when my father had the family aboard and we were caught out in a strong SW wind as dusk fell. We approached Le Treport which is a small drying harbour and hailed a local fishing boat.They told us that there would not be enough water in the entrance for us. So we carried on tacking down the coast through a wild night with many reefs in. In those days we had no modern aids to navigation, not even an echo sounder. So we tacked in until we heard the sound of the surf on the cliffs, then tacked out until we seemed a long way offshore. 

Eventually we were off Dieppe and after some struggling with the temperamental hand start Gleniffer 2 cylinder petrol/paraffin engine that Bonita then had we entered the harbour in the early hours of the morning. We tied up to the quayside and later locked into the inner harbour. It blew hard for several days so we bought kites and flew them from the beach. A memorable experience and a fine piece of seamanship by my father with just my mother and three young children aboard.