We left Cherbourg Sunday morning at 8 AM for a favorable tide (http://www.previmer.org/) and arrived at the West Lock of Ouistreham at 6 PM. It was our first time in the canal. We entered the lock at 7:30, a bit nervous about tying up to the concrete wall. Unfortunately our big red balls were in our 20' sea container next to Manuel Mendes' workshop in South Africa. Anasazi Girl only had two tiny fenders for our Transatlantic voyage.
We side-tied to a friendly French fishing boat. They helped us with our lines, showed us their catch of the day, offered us fish, wine, and calvadose - an intense apple brandy from the région of Basse-Normandie - guaranteed to make you breathe fire. With calvadose on our tongues, we waited for the water to rise, and entered Napolean's canal in easier spirits.
Motored gently to the famous Pegasus Bridge, which was closed for the night. We met a family with 5 children on board, en route to the Channel Islands. They helped us dock the boat and gave us information about the canal.
More local hospitality as we were invited on board for wine, bread, cheese, ravioli, and dessert. With us and their friends on board, there were a total of 6 adults and 10 children! Tormentina in heaven to be with so many other kids. We spent the night there, ready for the bridge to open the next morning (http://www.yachtpilot.net/ouistreham.html).
We are now in Caen at the Nouveau Basin, tied up near V1D2. Our firend Jean-Francois Lilti (owner of the Avocet 50) hooked us up with our location, a flat, and a car to use while in Caen.