We have been in Dover now for two days waiting on the crew to assemble. Neil came on Wednesday by bus, wheeling the second Strida bike. Michael and Bill arrived on Thursday by plane and then three different trains. It’s now Friday and time to cross the channel. This is the most important and potentially dangerous part of the Gap Year.
It was panned that Bill & Michael would not come until the day after I had put the boat in the water in case we had any delays. Everything went exactly to plan. Except when I went to pay the bill for lifting in the boat off the truck and into the water in the Marina office last night, something went wrong with my credit card payment. The card was declined and the operator had to process the payment manually. When he went to print off the receipt he went white and said “Oh my God” and then admitted that by mistake he had charged £ 1,480,000 to my credit card instead of £148. I could not believe the credit card company had passed the payment. It took 40 minutes of phone call to Dublin to reverse the payment. We joked that we would take the marina in exchange or if he refunded the money in cash we would give him 5%!!
By the time we did final preparations to the boat there was no time for sightseeing, we had planned to visit Dover Castle but ran out of time. Dover is a very busy port with ferry sailings every thirty minutes so there is a constant stream of trucks moving both ways through the town. But that’s all we saw of the town.
The weather is perfect- force 3 or less. We don’t want any wind. Visibility is good so we should have a perfect crossing. The passage plan is prepared. I expect to leave Dover at 11.30 am and arrive in Calais at 3.00pm.
As I write the “crew” are busy preparing the boat- shopping- washing dishes- putting away things that can move or fall and break. I am off now to do a final weather check in the Marina office and then radio in my passage plan with the British Coast Guard.
France next stop!!