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  • Writer's picturePeter

Stuck in the mud

We found Dieppe to be a charming, typical Northern French port town – and full of great seafood restaurants. After we had arrived from our 200-mile journey, we wanted to just rest for the first night and look at a restaurant for the second night – with the recommendation of “The Comptoir des Huitres” from Grit and Thomas.

We had arrived just 2 days after new moon, which was the time for the largest spring tides due to the gravitational pull of the moon. As it happens, for those of you who have noticed the additional leaves on the ground - we have passed from Summer to Autumn. This equinox, when there is equal day and night is a time for an additional affect of the sun on the tides. So a Spring tide at the time of the equinox = what they call a "Great Tide" and wow, were they large ! We had greater than 10 meters between high and low tides. So at high tide we were at street level and at low tide we were 10m below street level - making quite a hike to get up the ramps from our floating pontoons where we were moored.

Tide Out Tide in

Tide Out Tide in

While walking around Dieppe enjoyed our traditional coffee and cakes in a great café, we spent time browsing the shops and buying a few things that we needed (wine, beer, crisps etc.) I won’t mention the underwear that Ingrid bought, nor the mugs that we bought that had a wider base than the top - in the hope they are less likely to fall over as the boat rocks around on the waves.

What I find so great about travelling, especially within Europe, is that one day you are in The Netherlands with so typical Dutch architecture and then 200 miles down the road you are in Northern France with a totally different style. It was lovely to enjoy the differences as we walked through the town.

We also wanted to check out the recommended restaurant before we went in the evening as it was slightly off the beaten track. I think that Grit and Thomas must have spent a great deal of money there as they had closed up shop and gone on holiday for 2 weeks. Doubtless, we found a substitute and we enjoyed a delicious seafood dinner in a typical French Bistro.

"Surprisingly" we met up with the Hokule'a - a 42ft catamaran who we were rafted up against as we exited from the North Sea Canal at IJmuiden. We went across to chat, catch up on the recent experiences and adventures of passing the busy straights of Calais.

As we prepared to head off, everything was made ready, we cast off and I applied power to the engine – as normal, but we did not move a millimetre. I thought we must still be tied on somewhere, but no we were “free”. Then we noticed our water depth was just 1 metre – our keel depth is 2.24 metres. Yes we were thoroughly stuck in the mud as we were trying to leave at the lowest tide ! Time for a change in plan, cup of coffee, a small walk and an hour later we were floating free and really ready to go.

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