The Baltic–Fit the 1st

15/5 Tue Departed EYH late for Fowley (all-tide) pontoon.
16/5 Wed Attempted to leave at low-water, and discovered that while the pontoon is all-tide, the surrounding mud isn’t. Left an hour late. Wind NNE 4~5 (offshore) which might have been OK but wasn’t. Tested the ruggedness of the laptop/chart-plotter by dropping it on the cabin-sole: it still works. Got to Brighton (no further), rather damp.
17/5 Thu Sat in Brighton, drying out.
18/5 Fri NNE 3~4. Still a nose wind but managed the long push to Dover. Arrived just in time to enter Granville Dock before it closed. Access to the marina area currently requires passing through the Dunkirk pier. (This has been removed, but not charted!) This approach is invisible, narrow, blind with a dog-leg and requires special approval from Port Control. New marina basin is complete (no pontoons yet), new lock is dug-out & being furnished.
Dover (TransEurope)
19/5 Sat NNE 3~4, Springs. Haven’t done the springs timing before which means a midday start. Discovered that Dunkerque is about the only harbour for which I haven’t got any electronic chart: neither English Channel nor Dutch. Arrived 21:15 (local) to find myself locked out ashore because I hadn’t taken my passport with me. It seems the French are getting snarky about us leaving the EU and are insisting on full documentation before issuing a pass to re-enter the pontoon. Does anyone see the problem?
Dunkerque (TransEurope)
20/5 Sun NE 3. Tides now mid-afternoon start: enough to get to Nieuwpoort where there’s a Transeurope marina, if I can only work out which it is.
Nieuwpoort (TransEurope)
21/5 Mon NE 3. Tides silly early & late: stayed in and walked round the town instead–no great excitement.
Nieuwpoort (still TransEurope)
22/5 Tue N 2~3, Sun (whatever that is). Grabbed the early tide until it ran out and reached Blankenberge which has a narrow entrance, 80% of which was blocked by the dredger. Squeezed through, after a small crack had been made by 3 exiting boats. Inside almost empty: dredger problems holding everyone ashore apparently. (Where have I heard that before?) If you go ashore from the eastern basin, keep your eyes open in case the office is closed: the re-entry number is marked next to the exit button.
23/5 Wed Choice of routes: Eastern or Western Schelde. Or stay in and watch the rain!
24/5 Thu Wind (about the same). Departed early, before the dredger woke up, for Western Schelde (Vlissingen). Through the sea lock but 5 mins late for the “blue wave” canal convoy. 2 Hours later started & got most of the way to Middelburg but my companion boat went too slowly and we lost the time slot: required speed 8 km/hr! Continued (on my own) through Veere and the Veerse Meer to the Delta Marina. Finally managing to get some northing in: check the course–170°–about right! Arrive in the dry, but a spectactular thunder storm whilst at supper.
Kortgene (TransEurope)
25/5 Fri

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