Pauillac to Bordeaux - Monday, 11 August 2003, 21 miles

Glad we didn't land on these

Awoke to find ourselves surrounded by weird mud shapes sticking up around 1m. So much for local knowledge! But no harm done.

We were expecting the flood around noon, and when the adverse current had dropped to 1/2 knot at 11:50, raised the main as an offering to the absent wind gods and motored up the river.

At 14:00, the ebb was still running hard, and we'd only reached Blaye, all under motor. So we anchored for lunch. On our way we'd passed a trawler anchored with all its gear set, but completely deserted.

At 14:30, the tide at last condescended to turn, but with no wind, we had to motor all the way to Boardeaux. The Gironde estuary is interesting, with glimpses of wine chateaux on the left bank, and hills on the right, until it splits into the Dordogne and Garronne, after which it becomes rather industrial.

We tied up at a pontoon by the lock leading into the ship basins, but were told by the skipper of another boat that the lock was broken and wouldn't open for 2 or 3 days. We were around a mile or more from the town centre, so we unshipped the bikes and set out to explore.

Bordeaux construction site

The town of Bordeaux itself was a construction site. There were massive works to remove the remaining ship terminals along the bank and replace them with gardens, shopping malls, etc. No doubt it will be great when it's finished. I hope they include a pontoon to allow yachts to tie up in town. The square around the cathedral was also a building site, so we enjoyed a beer looking at the works round the cathedral. We asked the waiter why the town was deserted, and he reckoned that people were escaping the heat by staying indoors or going to the seaside. Disastrous for his business.

On our return found the ebb in some spate, and we doubled up the mooring lines.