Monday, 9 May 2011

Aye-aye, Captain!

Early start and its very windy, its never windy must be just for me and 'Le Voyage'! Libby and I arrived at Tony and Barbara's at 6:30 and we, along with Simon, set off for Blaye.

After the many roundabouts it’s a dead Straight road into Blaye, Simon was giving me snippets of info about the voyage … not sure all were true! I was about to find out.

We arrived at the jetty under the Blaye Citadel and there she was, the magnificent Irene. I met the captain David, a mad cap Canadian; the owner Leslie, a real old sea dog and the rest of the crew. Then I hopped onto the deck and suddenly started to get weirdly nervous and excited – I haven't felt like this since I got my first big winemaking job in Chile 10 years ago!

Everyone was there to wave me off from the quayside. Some water was brought on board and once fully loaded we slipped slowly away from the quay. The little harbour launch boat carrying the guide, Tony, Barbara, Libby, Janet, John, Martin and Red accompanied us to guide us out into the Gironde. One small problem was that we were facing the wrong way up the Gironde.

Then suddenly the ship came to life. Shouting, ropes flying through hoops, people pulling and I was called into action, so I just followed everyone else, heaved on the ropes and up went the sails. Then the boom swung to the other side nearly taking my head off! And that was my first jibe, with many more to come.

We turned majestically to face north, with Red Johnson filming from the launch boat. Red was coming on the voyage so he needed to get on board with the camera. The launch boat raced towards us with Red clinging Indiana Jones style on the front and then BANG! The boat hit ours, Red jumped, Tony nearly fell in, Libby waved, and the boat sped back to shore!

We were on our own. We made our up the Gironde passing Chateau Latour on our left. Meanwhile, Mike had done the rota system – Red and I were down for Watch at 4am.

Looking forward to day 2.

Follow the journey online at

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