Abemama is a sea boat again and this posting is being made as she travels from Royan towards the exit from the Gironde. The forecast is reasonable, so we are headed towards the Ile d’Yeu, hoping to find our place on the pontoon as pictured in PBO August 2001.

Our engine problem delayed us a whole week in Meilhan sur Garonne, which is a pleasant, FOC stop with all facilities thrown in. The delay was partly our own fault and we are not 100% certain that Daniel of Marmande Diesel has completely cured the problem, in spite of his undoubted expertise. We came away ‘300 lighter for a muddle of non invoice , estimate and confused phone numbers (Too many cooks – or should I say crooks?)etc, of which we shall tell you more in PBO December.

Passage information is that the pontoon at Langoiran has been reinstalled and would be a good transit stop and there is a new waiting pontoon outside Bordeaux Bassin a Flot. We cannot recommend the new pontoon harbour at Begles (above the Pont de Pierre). It is expensive, can give current problems and there are many stories of yobs being on occupied boats at 0130 and no response from the security patrol.

We stayed the night at Lormont, where they will now handle smallish masts, if you are willing to risk the wash from passing ships, but the current is fierce and there are plenty of logs in the river. We had a quiet night because the club locked the very heavy metal gate and steel fencing and we tucked ourself away from logs, tight under a Nauticat, which has been there for years.. Either going up or down, I would start a bit against the tide and miss Bdx altogether by using Pauillac and the super, solid, free, quiet pontoon at Portet, which is about an hour upstream of Begles. This makes a long leg, but is worth it because it avoids many irritants.

It is a pity that Pauillac is so awkward because of current – which can be good fun and a test of your boat handling skill – because it is a charming town and the port staff are excellent. We paid 85Ffr a night, ’30 for mast handling and were given a bottle of wine. We usually meet somebody at Pauillac. This time it occasioned Hans and Mary Hyborg, of Plymouth, with whom we spent a very pleasant couple of hours aboard their Fisher 34 Lucy. Agreeable company soon makes you forget the problems, which are very small seen against those acquaintances who are suffering poor health, redundancy and other troubles. Liveaboards are very fortunate folk.

Royan in September was as pleasant as ever. Diesel is easy access sand is currently at 5.75Ffr a litre. Our berth was about a tenner.

It looks as though we have a large tanker wanting to share what we consider to be our channel, so it is all eyes on deck ? good practice ready for tonight, when we shall probably have a number of bored fishing trawler skippers wanting to play the weaving and dodging game.