These are the voyages of the sailing vessel Pétillant. Her original eight-month mission: to sail from Baltimore to France via Florida and the Bahamas, to successfully navigate the shoals of the French douane, to boldly go where few Maine Coon cats have gone before was completed in 2008. Now she is berthed in Port Medoc and sails costal Spain, France, and the UK during the summer months.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Well, spring has sprung again, and we are in full planning/preparation mode for the summer cruise. This year it is back to Scotland, for the Malts Cruise again, and a Jeanneau Scotland Rendevous. We will not be alone for this trip. Several friends have "volunteered" to come along for various segments, to see the sights, to drink whisky(ey), to try out the local cuisine, or to get some open ocean experience. It will be quite a trip. Preparations for this trip will take some time. Because we will be heading up the east coast of the UK, we can cross at Dover, and the kitties can be hand-carried on the ferry while the boat travels without them. This means a crossing of one of the most heavily traveled bodies of water in the world, so an additional safety device will be installed. It is called an Automatic Identification System (AIS), and it basically broadcasts to everyone else who we are, and where we are going while it listens to everyone else broadcasting the same info. This info is passed to the chartplotter, so that we can see who is going where, and they can see us, and we can all call one another on the VHF and talk if we get confused. It also allows our friends to follow us during the trip, much like the SPOT device was used for the transatlantic trip, except that this tracking is done pretty much in real time. There is a Greek web site (www.marinetraffic.com) which provides live feeds of ships at sea around the world. It is supported by a network of shoreside "listeners" who are not ships, but just people with radios. They gather the signals from the ships at sea near their sites, feed it to this web site, and everyone can watch the ships move around the world. Quite amazing. And it is possible to search for one vessel, if you have its name. We will see if it can see us once we have our AIS installed. Also, it appears that the kitties will have an easier time of crossing this year. The UK has finally joined the EU, with respect to pet controls, and the days of waiting 6 months for a rabies vaccination to "take" are gone, if you have the right paperwork. Also, cats no longer have to be treated for parasites, only dogs, for tapeworm. This means no last-minute trip to the vet - YEAHHH! And, it appears that there is a ferry from Boulogne-sur-mer that runs seasonally, and will take foot-passengers with pets. So, we will be able to send kitties on the ferry, not have to wait in Calais for the tidal gate to open, get to Dover at a reasonable time, and maybe make it into the marina there. It is all starting to come together.