Our Impromptu

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July 7 to July 20, 2005: England

July 7, 2005 (Thursday)

We made it!!! We are in Falmouth!!! The day was mixed with sunshine, clouds, huge waves throughout the night. No wonder, because the ocean floor rises from 5,000 meters to about 300 meters over a stretch of less than 20 miles. We had hoped for a quieter night but had already been wondering about the potential effect of so much water rushing against so much higher landmass. Well, we sure felt it all night and were glad when we finally noticed a significant improvement. We sailed until approximately 1200 or 1300, took our showers (we must look presentable when checking in with immigration authorities), enjoyed lunch in the cockpit and anxiously looked into the direction of the Lizards (a group of rocks to avoid while approaching Falmouth). In the haze and clouds, it took us to get as close as approximately 8 nm before we finally detected something that resembled land.

Of course more and more ships became visible if not actually, then at least on our AIS. A propos AIS: if we did not have this unbelievably terrific electronic device, we may possibly no longer be alive. Last night, of course during my watch, two ships were visible on AIS. As we had learned in our captain's course, I plotted on a special plotting device (Radar plotting chart) the course of one of the two ships after realizing that the other was of no great concern for us. I noticed also that this ship seemed to approach us without any change in bearing (the compass degrees where the ship is seen at any one point in time) and without any change in its own direction (i.e., the compass degrees it is steering). That is not a good sign as it means: collision is possible. Since I always get nervous about things like that and Juergen keeps telling me not to, I waited until the ship was approximately two miles away from us.

AIS you may recall, provides us with the name of the ships we see on this system. I called "Bow Hunter (how appropriate), Bow Hunter, Bow Hunter, this is the sailing vessel Impromptu. Over". - No answer. I called again. No answer. Upon my third attempt, Bow Hunter finally responded. I indicated that I thought we were getting awfully close to each other and asked what action he wanted me to take. He claimed that he could not see us on AIS, nor on radar, nor our running lights (we had been showing a Tricolor light on top of the mast as, in these seas, nobody would ever have seen our running lights which are practically right on deck). The light had died on us. I turned on our deck lights. "Now I see you", Bow Hunter responded and immediately said that he was going to move to his port side. By that time, I had gone on deck to check whether this change in course by Bow Hunter would be sufficient. It was not as I still could see both Bow Hunter's read and green lights, i.e., he was still coming right at us. I immediately called him again and indicated that we would make a sharp turn to our port side also. Unfortunately, this meant for Juergen to get up (even though he was off watch), turn the engine on and change course, while I continued speaking with Bow Hunter to ensure that both they and we felt sufficient action had been taken to avoid a collision.

Less than 5 minutes later we went back on our old course after thanking Bow Hunter for changing course. But I sure never want to be in such a situation again. We called Tony from Falmouth right in the first night and told him that it was a MUST to buy an AIS, particularly since he often sails alone and across the Atlantic (like he had been in the OSTAR race from which he had to withdraw as mentioned in one of our earlier descriptions).

Juergen had contacted Falmouth Marine from approximately 30 nm out to ensure that they would have a dock for us and could also perform an oil change (engine and transmission) and obtain a new starter battery for us and possibly replace / fix our Tricolor masthead light. As we arrived, we refueled (approximately 300 liters) and tied up to our dock. We checked out the nearest supermarket (terrible, very expensive, awful selection, nobody buying) and then slowly walked towards town to find a restaurant. We were both quite exhausted and decided to have dinner in a near-by hotel (Greenbank Hotel), located high up above the harbor. A glass of wine at the bar made us feel a little better (mind you, this was the first wine since we had left Horta). The dining room was bright but cozy with tables well spaced, all overlooking the harbor. As we are so much further north, the evening darkness sets in much later than in the New York/Connecticut region. We even managed to walk back to the marina with good visibility. Juergen was so pooped that he already suggested taking a room at the hotel rather than walking back. In the end, we were glad we did not because it would have set us back by approximately Pound Sterling 200 plus. The walk was actually quite nice and not as long as we had remembered it to take us getting there. The emotion of wanting to stay at the hotel was also driven by the fear that we would not find our boat in the marina again. It is a labyrinth of docks, barely lit and not well marked. It turned out that we found Impromptu without any problems, and by 2300 we were tucked away and slept till almost 0900 the next morning.

July 8, 2005 (Friday)

Oil changes have been accomplished. The starter battery will be delivered at 0900 tomorrow. Juergen walked for miles and carried an outrageously weighty transformer that permits us to convert the common 220 shore power to the 110 V we need, and so we are well powered up (batteries of tooth brushes, computers, iPod, etc. all recharged and the water heater ensuring tomorrow's WARM / HOT shower). The laundry is done. I went to buy a new cell phone. Our by now four year-old German "handy" seems no longer workable (battery no longer holds the charge, new batteries no longer available). I also bought some berries (including red currants, my absolute favorite fruit), bananas (ripe ones this time. The ones we had bought in Horta are still mostly green and very hard. They will ripen by the time we leave England, we hope). I bought some tomatoes and celery, some rolls for tomorrow's breakfast, and some pastries for this afternoon. Of course, I also bought some post cards of Falmouth, found the post office for the requisite stamps and luxuriated by taking a taxi back to the marina where Juergen was so proud to have gotten the transformer to work with all the plug changes etc. he had to master.

We called Guenter to chat for a little while and Nancy (Bodick) to let her know that we are safely tucked away in Falmouth for the next few days. We have arranged for a rental car for the weekend so we can do a little sightseeing after the battery has been delivered and - hopefully - our Tricolor fixed. Tomorrow night, we will have dinner in the same hotel restaurant again like last night. Tonight, I decided we stay here on Impromptu and have a plain pasta and fruit dinner with one of our own wines...

We will update the website as we can, definitely before we depart England and "jump off" to the Continent.

July 10, 2005 (Sunday)

Juergen rented a small car for two days (I refuse to drive on the left side of the road - too challenging and nerve wrecking for me. We spent the morning (after finally getting our new starter battery and a new bulb for our Tricolor light) going from one chandlery to the other (or what they call chandlery here - not much comparable to what we are used to both in the US (at least in our areas, including Newport and Annapolis) but also in Hamburg... Well, we were looking for a bunch of things, not least for charts that would safely help us move towards Cuxhaven. So far, no luck. However, we do have a new outhaul line for our main (had to be cut when it had gotten stuck in the self-tailing electric winch), and we also have one additional 100 ft docking line (just in case we have a situation like in the Azores again). Most likely, we will be departing for Plymouth tomorrow as there is supposed to be a Lewmar dealer (for our winch) as well as a decent chandlery (let's hope it is true).

We then drove around this area a bit, all the way South to Lizard. The landscape is breathtaking and Lizard very impressive (see photos)

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The Lizards behind me
Grapes growing in the Garden of the Restaurant
Where we had Coffee, Strawberries and Clotted Cream
Juergen after the Strawberries and Clotted Cream

We barely made it back to the boat on time to change into real land clothes for our second dinner at the Greenbank Hotel. It was equally nice but Juergen was a little uptight from all the left hand driving, left hand shifting and my falling from one heart attack into the next as the roads are incredibly narrow and the local traffic quite aggressive (even though he drove so well).

Today, we had a leisurely breakfast in the cockpit. The sun has been shining brightly, and it has been quite warm both days. Juergen tried to rig the new outhaul line, I was busy down below, finally cleaning the second head from all the onion peel that had worked itself around the entire floor while enroute to here (we use the second head as a storage area, not only for some of Juergen's boat cleaning materials, but also for potatoes and onions, and initially, the onions had been hanging from the shower curtain rod (I changed that after a few days because the onions really made a mess out of the entire head. The entire boat carpeting was vacuumed - I do not know where all the dirt is coming from - and most of the teak furniture wiped with a mixture of vinegar and water. We met a nice boat neighbor (Paul and Sue Vage - he is in the jewelry business - since 1902) who invited us for a drink at the marina bar (Nancy, that is something to consider for your boating clients....). We finally left for our next sightseeing adventure around 1430 or so.

Thanks to Paul, we found this unbelievably beautiful chapel surrounded by the most eerie but simultaneously mysterious-looking cemetery with old but also newer stones. The sign pointing to it said Chapel and Bar - no, they did not mean a drinking bar but a sand bar.

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Chapel and ... Bar
St. Mawes Castle
St. Mawes, the Town

Back at the boat, I tried to call Julian, my nephew, as it is his birthday today. Of course, I have not been successful. I am wondering whether my brother forgot to turn the cell phone one...

Tonight, we will have dinner on the boat - crabmeat with rice or mashed potatoes (depending on what Juergen wants) and a cucumber salad before. Desert will be freshly picked strawberries (a loot from our yesterday's voyage) with Cornish clotted cream - of course, the meal to be accompanied by a nice bottle of wine - not bad for life on a boat, wouldn't you say?

July 12, 2005 (Tuesday)

We spent four nights in Falmouth getting fuel, repairing, purchasing whatever we needed and could find - charts continue to be a problem, but people indicate to us that we will be luckier as we get further East. Let's hope this is true... As we could not accomplish in Falmouth any of the things we felt we needed to we decided to move on east and focused on Plymouth due to the Lewmar dealer who confirmed to have the parts we needed for our outhaul winch. We paid our bills and left at 1000 in gorgeous sunshine. Everything looked so much more picturesque compared to the overhung sky we saw at our arrival a few days earlier.

The wind was slight and on our nose. Thus, thank God for an engine enjoying its clean oil and a full Diesel tank, we motored all the way to Plymouth. The coastline is magnificent with lots of cliffs, hills covered with fields and small villages tucked into the narrow valleys. There was a lot of warship activity both visible and even more so audible on Channel 16. The coast guard and the war ships were constantly warning to stay clear of certain areas identified by longitude and latitude as they were running firing exercises - we were nowhere near that particular area, and we were not unhappy about it.

In Plymouth itself, one sees "Defence Police" (spelling correct), lots of "Security" boats, helicopters and more warships. South of where we will be going today, there is an area on the charts marked "submarine exercise area".

We checked into Plymouth Yacht Haven as the Queen Anne Battery was full (once we saw what QAB looked like, we were not unhappy being where we ended up) and quickly took the ferry to QAB where the Lewmar dealer was located. We found his chandlery and the parts we needed plus a bunch of other things Juergen had on his list. I must not forget to mention the location of our dock and how excellent Juergen's docking man oeuvre was to get in. It was K1, located nearest to the shore and accessible only by a 90-degree angle, which, to me, we did not have clearance for. I was already willing to call the office and let them know that we needed another slip, but master Juergen, without hesitating one flash of a second, moved slowly but determined, using our bow thruster from time to time until he had eased Impromptu into its slip with no scratch on us, the boat next to us or the dock. We did not even touch anything in the slightest. I sure was amazed - and he proud, making fun of me wanting to call the office...

Once the chores at Lewmar had been accomplished we decided that we needed a fish 'n chips supper with some local beer in a local old historic pub. Well, we searched and found one that seemed appropriate... it was ok and we were happy to have done what I had longed for while still on our way to Falmouth.

The dinky ferry took us back to our side of the harbor where Juergen immediately went to repair the winch - you should see how well it works now and how it purrs when used... - then Ulli and family called. Finally, we had contact. Of course, he had forgotten to turn the cell phone on (despite his big words: every evening as of 1800 to 2200 I will have the cell phone on... So much for reliability).

We ended the evening with fresh strawberries, clotted cream and pastries.

July 13, 2005 (Wednesday)

I can tell it is the 13th. The day has not been starting off well, I can only hope it will get better. Let's leave it at that...

We arrived in Dartmouth today after a few hours of motoring (no wind) to this picturesque town which we reached in thick haze and very limited visibility (but enough to make it into the harbor safely). We could not find a marina berth. The harbormaster, however, sold us a town dock, which was very convenient for exploring the town. What was not as great was the lack of privacy and the noise made by the enormous number of tourists. The funny thing to observe was though that, came 1800 it became very quiet suddenly as the last ferry seemed to have taken most of the tourists out of town to neighboring places - very nice for us. The town is full of cute little old houses, all meticulously maintained and painted. We also found a supermarket - well, they called it that - a fish store. I was happy because I could finally cook a nice fresh fish, accompanied by a wonderful fresh salad and more fruit.

We decided to stay another day, as we had not had a chance to see the Castle. The walk to the Castle, a mile along the shore but higher up with great visibility over the town, the town of Kingswear (right across from Dartmouth), the Naval college on the northern end of Dartmouth, lots of beautiful homes with gardens reminding us of those in Nantucket.

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The morning we left Dartmouth

Juergen wanted to get his hair cut. The next available appointment was on Saturday...

We had dinner on the boat after Juergen made all the navigational preparations, including inputting all the waypoints for the trip to Poole, our next destination. We had made a berth reservation by phone the night before, as we did not want to be caught without one upon arrival. We like the convenience of stepping off the boat, getting access to fresh water and electricity (so we can charge by plugging into our normal outlets our computers, cameras, etc.). Unfortunately, our new UK cell phone is 220V and cannot be charged on our boat (110V). Generally, the marinas are kind enough to charge it for us overnight though.

July 14, 2005 (Thursday)

I woke up in the middle of the night and was concerned about all the lights the charger showed (later on Juergen told me that it is perfectly ok for them to be lit - I should have known then). I quickly put on a sweatshirt and jumped off the boat to unplug the charger when I noticed that the entire harbor was blanketed in an eerie dark haze and that the shoreline was barely visible even from our boat. I was not looking forward to the next day's planned trip...

At 0600 when we initially wanted to get going, Juergen decided that the fog was way too thick and that it was better to wait at least an hour, maybe even two before casting off our docking lines - well, around 0830-ish we finally left, still in thick but lifting fog - at least in town. Thank God for our radar, which guided us out of the harbor with its winding channel, the open bay and into the Channel waters. We were barely gone 4 or 5 miles when the sun came out and we could see for at least 5 or more miles. What a difference to just an hour ago...

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Lime Cliffs near Poole
Isle of Wight - Shore

It took till approximately 1700 before we entered the channel entry to Poole harbor. It was not easy following the many different buoys. Thank God it was daylight, no fog and we figured out which way to turn. Our dock was spacious, next to a 24 m motor yacht. On the other side of the dock was a Dutch boat. We briefly spoke with the skipper and his wife who seemed to travel by boat quite a bit.

Though there was some sort of celebration (I am sure it was not 14 Juillet) with fireworks, we were so tired that we decided to go to bed before the fireworks even started. Dinner was in the cockpit (as it was nice and sufficiently warm). I had gone to Saynesbury, the local supermarket which had quite a selection of items I had been looking for in vain elsewhere. Thus, we finally have buttermilk again so I can make the obligatory pancakes on a weekend morning (we decided on Sunday for this coming weekend). We had fresh fruit, more lettuce, some chicken with curried rice and mushrooms, and tonight, we will have salmon, salad and more fruit. We both seem to be craving fresh green lettuce leaves and fresh fruits so I keep buying them whenever available.

July 15, 2005 (Friday)

About two or three hours ago, we arrived in Lymington, at the entrance of the Solent and virtually across from Yarmouth Harbor. Also here, we had made advanced reservations for two nights and mentioned Tony's name (as he had suggested). The marina is huge with lots of big sailboats (many quite a bit larger than ours), very friendly people. It turns out that Tony seems to keep his boat in this marina. People knew him well and knew of his mishap during the OSTAR race. We already obtained our electricity connection. This one even lets us charge UK equipment like our phone directly on the boat. We found and bought the two charts we had still been missing, we also found a North Sea pilot book, very important for tips / warnings on harbors, lit/unlit buoys, other threats and useful hints. We have still not found the adapter plug for our propane gas (the hook-up seems to be different in the US and it is supposed to be available in the UK - if we only knew where) nor have we found the fuses that blew during our various repair attempts (35 and 80 amps). Juergen even found a barber who seemed available. He just got back, looking like himself again. My hair is growing however it wants... it will not be cut until I get back home so Andre can work his magic.

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Near Southampton

Guenter and Waltraut called earlier, happy to have gotten our new cell phone number from Luise or Silvi. We had not left it with them yet because we only spoke with them a few days ago and did not leave it with them then. The house seems to have been finished from the outside, the floors prepared for carpeting (which they want to select together with us) or tile (living room, hallway and kitchen and baths). Of course, we are curious...

We will have dinner on the boat tonight (the salmon I spoke of earlier) but for tomorrow we will try to make a reservation.

July 16, 2005 (Saturday)

We were awakened by a phone call from Guenter and Waltraut. They wanted to be the first to wish me a happy birthday, and they succeeded, even before Juergen who was still asleep when the call came. The day went on with lots of calls. We also visited the library in Lymington because we wanted to update our website. Unfortunately, they do not have wifi so we could only check e-mails, and we found a few very nice ones, I mean, all of them are nice, and we are very happy for each one of them as it shows the great affection you all seem to have for either or both of us. We appreciate that very much. But some were particularly great, for example Janet's who remembered my birthday though I even could not remember having mentioned it. There was a very nice and detailed e-mail from Peter who brought us a lot closer to home with the description of the goings-on at home, particularly his mom's rejuvenation in Montauk (a 3-day weekend without any worries) and Omi's physical improvement, she can walk with the walker, at least a few steps rather than just sitting in the wheel chair and relying on others to push her wherever she wants to go. You may remember Juergen's mom on one of the earlier pictures, almost 99 years old. Life is not too easy at that age for her but neither it is for her daughter, Luise, who is taking care of her and who often needs more help than she can ever get, but we will all try. We will also try to pitch in when we are back so she can go away again...

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Streets in Lymington

We took a stroll through town, bought some produce at the weekend market, tried to shop in the cute boutiques but were discouraged by the enormous prices, even compared to those of New York. Juergen took me to a nice little restaurant in the old part of Lymington where we had the best lemon sole I have had in a long time. It reminded me so much of the Sunday lunches to which my mom took me when I was in my teenage years. I was a rather finicky eater at the time, she let me order the "sole meuniere" every time even though it was the most expensive item on the menu. I loved it so much!

After dinner, we sat in the cockpit for another hour, listening to classical music and Gershwin and just enjoyed the beautiful air.

July 17, 2005 (Sunday)

We agreed to have a pancake breakfast (remember, I finally found buttermilk) and to leave the harbor for Brighton, leisurely. Well, while Juergen was still navigating, the phone rang, Roland wanted to know where we were and what our plans were. During that call, two official looking gentlemen approached our dock but then turned away while I was speaking with Roland. They turned out to be police, asking for our passports, boat documentation, etc. They were very nice and polite, and we chatted for a while. They were also going to check out another foreign boat, that one Dutch. They indicated that they did not see a lot of US boats out there, which we had already noticed.

We finally left around 1130 on another glorious and sunny day. Navigation was a little tricky, particularly since our compass did not seem to agree with our gps/autopilot compass. We have still not figured out what is wrong but hopefully will. We finally made it to Brighton, not exactly a spectacular town but one with a huge castle overlooking the largest marina we have ever seen. We docked next to a British HR 42. The owner happens to be the doctor on Mari-Cha, the boat that just competed in the race from New York to Falmouth, trying to beat the 1905 established record of any single-hull sailboat (and did, but with a totally barren boat while the 1905 record setter "Atlantic" was crowded not only with the sailing crew but guests, fancy china, heavy silverware, crystal, cooks, servants, etc.). He also happens to be a friend of Tony's - Tony, please note the world is small. And while we never made it into Beaulieu (we tried to call Adrienne three or four times, without any answer) we have been thinking of you a lot and still appreciate the chance to have met you!!!

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This is one of the Global Challenge Boats we saw today as we passed Cowes.

Tomorrow at 0600 we will have to leave to catch the tide to Dover where we expect to arrive around 1400 or so. This will give us sufficient time to look for more charts and hopefully also see a little of the town. This may be our last update before we try to cross over to the mainland. We have not entirely decided but think that we will move from Dover to Harwich on Tuesday and from there in a very long day to Den Helder, The Netherlands. We can stay there for a day and then continue over to Tershelling or, possibly and weather permitting directly to Cuxhaven. We will let you know once we have a clearer picture. For now, we thank you all for your good wishes, your thoughts and prayers and will update again when we have access to the Internet in Holland or Germany.

July 18, 2005 (Monday)

We left around 0600 this morning to catch the tide to Dover. Of course, there was no wind and very little sunshine. We thought, this was because it was so early. Instead, the sun was trying to peak through the clouds from time to time with limited success. By the time we were around 6 miles before Dover, the wind freshened up and we could have sailed - finally. We were too lazy to unfurl the sails... One is required to call Channel 74 for permission to enter the harbor. This is to control the in and outbound traffic, particularly since there are so many ferries, high speed, normal speed and lots of sail- and other boats. We were told to wait until we are approximately 200 m before the harbor entrance and to call back then, which is what Juergen did. He was told to stay as far West as possible and to move in as quickly as possible. While he took over the helm, I called Dover Marina who allocated a dock to us - very easy to find and easy to tie up to. With bow and stern line and two springs, we were well tied up even in this wind.

We checked in for two nights and walked to a chandlery, which is known to have lots of charts. Well, they still did not have all those we wanted but they had a bunch. They also had two Pilot books, one for the Netherlands and one for passage to the Baltic and Denmark. That one looks like it could provide us with significantly more information regarding our German North Sea part of the trip. We also decided that, tomorrow we will study all the charts and read the Pilot books so we can finally determine which way we will go. It seems that Juergen no longer wants to go all the way to Harwich but instead wants to cross the Channel from Dover to Oostend or so and then move northeast in day trips. I am sure you will hear about the final decision, but you also see how confusing all of this is and the more charts we look at the more confused we get. Hopefully, this also means that we are getting more educated and can make the right decision.

Sigi called today. He wants to meet us in the North Sea by boat before we arrive near Cuxhaven. We promised to call as soon as we have a better idea as to timing.

July 19, 2005 (Tuesday)

I spent quite some time at the Marina office yesterday updating the website and checking through e-mails. I apologize to all those who wrote for not responding, but they were timing me and charging a hefty penny (more like Pound Sterling) for every 30 minutes I spent. I will respond individually shortly, as soon as I have unlimited or more affordable access to the Internet. I have to thank Caryn though for her wonderful card. The entire office in the Marina had fun with it as I could not turn down the volume on Juergen's computer fast enough. So everybody heard the music you had played for me. I really appreciated you thinking of me. Of course, I appreciated everyone else's birthday wishes very much as well. As mentioned numerous times, it is a great feeling to see how many people are thinking of us and communicating with us even long-distance. We like that a lot and are always happy to receive e-mails even if it takes a while for us to see and respond to them.

It is a mixed day today with lots of clouds broken up by sunshine. It is rather cool and obvious that we are getting further north. So far, we have been spoiled with very sunny days and great temperatures (and little humidity, I might add).

This morning I checked the charts as Juergen had already checked them yesterday while I was in the Marina office. It will take us a minimum of six days, possibly seven or eight to get to Cuxhaven, because we do not want to go along the Belgian/Dutch/German coast through the night. There are just too many buoys and shallow areas we do not want to run into. Our first trip from Dover to Oostende (as presently planned) is about 66 nm given that we have to cross the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS for short) at a 90-degree angle, i.e., we will have to make a slight detour in a more Southerly direction. If all goes well, we would go to Scheveningen from there, another roughly 70 nm. If all goes well, we would go to Den Helder from there (approx. 65 nm) and from there to Terschelling (65 nm). If we stop over in Borkum for a night, that would be a shorter trip, but if we did not, the non-stop trip to Cuxhaven would still cause us to go through the night, which is what we want to avoid. Of course, all this assumes good weather, proper current in our direction, some of which may not happen every day. So there may be a day when we stay in port... leaving our arrival date still somewhat of a mystery. We will do a little bit of sightseeing in Dover today before we get on our way again tomorrow.

Here are just a few pictures we took as we arrived in Dover:

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West Jetty in front of Dover
Boardwalk in Dover
See the Height of the Piling - indicating the significant Tidal Difference

July 20, 2005 (Wednesday)

We were supposed to depart today, however, Juergen went to the Marina office for the weather update of 0600. It did not look too good but showed significant improvement for tomorrow. So while I was cleaning up after breakfast, he already paid for the extra night. We had found one of the new plugs from our transformer burnt through. Instead of directly walking towards the white cliffs for a cliff walk, we tried to find the replacement. That was not easy given that the only store reportedly selling such item was located at the other end of town, and Dover is not New York. Finding a cab was a challenge, which we barely met. However, with perseverance and a lot of walking through town in circles, we finally found one. The driver took us to the store and waited for Juergen to come back out so he (the cab driver) could also drive us up the cliffs.

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Walking down the Cliffs towards the Dover Outside Harbor
Cliffs of Dover

The view from there was amazing. Of course, we watched the continuous coming and going of ferries. Another added benefit was that we could observe the visit of the Queen, not that we really saw her, but we watched the activity around her (see pictures). In the end, I even got a glimpse of Her Majesty (see for yourself, not a great shot, but a historic one as the last time the Queen visited Dover on an official visit was some fifty (yes, 50) years ago.

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In Honor of the Queen
The Queen in Pink

We took the walk down the cliffs, not very hard and not too long, but providing us with impressive sights. Back at the marina, we met a Dutch couple who asked that we take some pictures of them - with the castle in the background and one with their boat in the background (with their camera, so I cannot show the couple to you). He was Dutch, she English, very nice. We spoke for a few minutes. They could not believe that we actually had crossed the Atlantic, just the two of us. I guess, I still sometimes cannot either.

This afternoon, as we were sitting in the cockpit enjoying the glorious weather (it never turned as bad as they had predicted even though they focused more on the water further North which is where we had intended to go - but even that did not look too bad from the cliffs) we observed a double-decker plane with a stuntman on top - by the time I got my camera ready, he was back inside, but I still took some shots...

Tomorrow, we will definitely leave for Oostende. We have a party to catch...