New Season 2017

April 28, 2017

We are back aboard Cassandra.  We decided to make an early start this season as we have planned two trips home this year which will break it up a bit more than usual.  We found Cassandra in good shape, if a little dirty.   We had left her in good hands, so we knew she would be fine.  However, we find it is impossible to spend less than a week cleaning, restocking, storing, dewinterising and this year putting in place our new SFR - RED data SIM for our on-board box ( with a lot of difficulty and registered letters flying around, as we wanted to make sure that last year's SIM was well and truly cancelled).   As soon as you get involved in anything bureaucratic you can kiss goodbye to several hours.   Once all this was achieved and we had made two trips to Leclerc in Langon, we felt ready to go, and indeed we have set off, cruising just four hours to the nearby port of Meilhan on a very sunny but cold day.   It has acted as a bit of a shakedown cruise and all is well including the log which sometimes takes several days before it decides to start working again.  Our lovely capitaine, Bruno, made my day  as we left Castets by presenting me,  a few days early,  with a sweet little posy of lily of the valley, the traditional gift for 1 May!

Our winter had been quite eventful.   We find it difficult to stay away from boats, and were very tempted by a Hurtigruten cruise to Antarctica.   When we finally considered it we decided that this was a part of the world we were unlikely to return to, so we had better do it properly!   We ended up on a three week cruise with about 200 others  to the Falkland island, South Georgia, The South Shetlands and Antarctica.  It was just splendid!   We did not see another ship all the time we were away, but despite being in such isolated waters, we felt in very good Norwegian hands, and we had a wonderful expedition team making sure we enjoyed all aspects of the trip.  We did our best to do everything we were offered so ended up kayaking through the ice and camping in the snow in the "shadow" of a massive creaking glacier, as well as going on the frequent landings and rib  trips throughout the voyage.  We drew the line at swimming in the Antarctic waters, though loads of mad people did this as the on-board doctor stood by with the defibrillator ( before she stripped down to her bikini and went for a swim herself!).   We are now experts in penguins and seals, and ice, as well as all the details of Shackleton's explorations.   It was great fun, but quite exhausting!   We returned home just in time for a relaxing Christmas.

After Christmas David had an operation on his nose to remove a sun damaged area of skin which was early stage cancer.  This involved a skin graft from his neck to his nose, and was very successful.   The only down side is that the consultant was very firm  about the importance of protecting the newly grafted skin this summer, so David is now adopting a slightly Lawrence of Arabia look with a long brimmed hat with neck cover.  Also he has a somewhat sinister black nose piece which fits on to his sunglasses.  Both these items were bought from an Australian website and look as if they will do the job.   We are both  big fans of SPF 50  and will continue to be so, but apparently our skin was damaged decades ago when we did not appreciate the importance of protection from the sun.

One last word about the exciting political times we are in.   Just as we left London Teresa May made her surprise election speech.  We have a postal vote, so we are hoping that it will have arrived when we are home in May, and that we can exercise our right to vote.   No sooner had we taken all this in than we arrived in France to all the excitement of the French Presidential election.   I got very interested in all the articles in the newspapers and the attitudes of the people I spoke to.  It was not really surprising at all that they have ended up with the two candidates they have for the second round.   They were really the two strongest contenders.  I shall be following as closely as I can  what happens in the next ten days.  Marine Le Pen is a very tough political figure, but Macron is very smart too.   No doubt both we British and  the French will get the leaders we deserve.




South Georgia - December 2016
Antarctica - December 2016
Antarctica Penguins Dec 2016
Castets en Dorthe


Sharlene Coss:
April 28, 2017
Hello Anne and David - lovely to hear that your 2017 adventures are underway. The Antarctic pictures were so interesting - very different of course than northern Canada but still not my cup of tea!! LOL

We will visit UK, France and Malta later this year and are moving to the UK permanently in 2018. Maybe we'll see you in London or on the canals at some point. We are doing the Charente this year on a rental. Looking forward to being on the water again.

Have a great season - we await your next post!!

Sharlene and Phil
April 28, 2017
I don't think anyone deserves National front..... didn't know you were back, hello and goodbye :)
Roberta Bailey:
April 29, 2017
Good to know you're underway again! Look forward to following your adventures. I agree with your friend Sharlene - Antarctica wouldn't be my cup of tea either. I prefer your French adventures! Interesting times in France, UK - and of course here in Turkey! Have lots of fun, Roberta xxx
Leo and Katinka:
April 30, 2017
Hi Anne and David,

Sounds like you have got off to a great start, even if it was a bit chilly in the sunshine to begin with.

Meanwhile the political situation is heating up!

Bon Voyage

Leo and Katinka
May 4, 2017
Always look forward to your interesting blogs of your travels, so nice to hear you're off again. I'll be going to Crete next week, hopefully a lot warmer than here just now. It was a bit in the balance if I went as my mum wasn't too well for a while, but has picked up amazingly and now eating and drinking well. She will be 99 in November! Antarctica sounds incredible and wonderful pics.

Love Judy
Guy Haumant:
May 11, 2017
i know you're back in France. Sorry for David ! the sun isn't always good for the skin.
Wonderfull your adventure to Antaartic. I hope you good holidays in France on boat for you.
Marie-Hélène bought a new boat in Aigues Morte. I don't know where she will be that saison.
My Heart gives me some worry and boating is ended for me.
Best regards Guy
Mike Head:
May 12, 2017
Antarctic explorers eh! Camping in the snow eh? Impressive. Is this an early bucket list? What next - following the trail of Lawrence of Arabia?
Hope your nose goes OK - no jokes I promise...
It's really good to year from you. Am seriously embarrassed about not making contact for so long.
Am still trying to save Africa. Helping them adapt their roads to climate change. Presently making visits to Mozambique, Ghana and Ethiopia.
Best wishes,
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