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howard mcsweeney, dover
lovely autumn day up at st martin's battery, not so nice below.
a good day to be a pasty faced landlubber.
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 - 19:09
HALF TERM ideas below from DFDS. Picture shows The DFDS ferry CALAIS SEAWAYS departing Dover early yesterday morning just after sunrise.
TOP THREE EUROPEAN HALF TERM PICKS FOR ALL THE FAMILY... FROM DFDS
Treat your kids to a last minute short break with DFDS Seaways. The award-winning ferry operator has put together its top three destinations in France and Holland to help keep the kids occupied this half-term:
For those looking to treat the kids to an altogether aquatic trip, hop across the Channel for a day trip to the Nausicaa Aquarium in Boulougne-sur-Mer, a short 30-minute drive from the ferry terminal at Calais. The aquarium is home to over 4.5 million litres of water as well as marine animals such as rays, turtles, African penguins, sea lions, tropical fish and sharks. The centre provides information about the wildlife in French and English and visiting children will be able to impress the teachers with newly learnt French animal names.
With child tickets to the aquarium starting from €10,45 and ferry crossings from Dover and Calais starting from £14.50 each way for a car and up to four passengers, half term is a great time to hop across the Channel for a day trip.
For a futuristic half-term break in France, travel to Futuroscope, a fun-packed theme park located just outside Poitiers. Sail to Normandy from as little as £54 each way for a car and up to four passengers with DFDS Seaways. With two routes to the region - Portsmouth to Le Havre and Newhaven to Dieppe – you have plenty of choice for departure times and ports. Both French ports are approximately a four-hour drive from the futuristic amusement park, which is home to high-adrenaline rides such as The Little Prince, an interplanetary journey, and the Dances with Robots experience, a supercharged robot party.
Dining at the park is also a 21st century experience, which should please parents as well as children; forget the usual fast food, Futuroscope boasts Le Cristal, molecular style cuisine. The chefs have used the region’s finest ingredients and combined them with the theatre of molecular gastronomy to create some show-stopping dishes.
For a short half-term getaway, take the children to the Artis Zoo in Amsterdam, which is home to over 900 species of animals. DFDS Seaways runs two-night mini cruises sailing from Newcastle, from only £62 per person based on four people sharing a cabin. A two-night mini cruise with DFDS Seaways includes two nights’ accommodation onboard in an en suite cabin; return coach transfers from the port near Amsterdam to the Artis Zoo and entrance tickets.
During the crossing, passengers can dine in one of the delicious onboard restaurants such as the all-you-can-eat buffet in the 7 Seas Restaurant, the Blue Riband a la carte restaurant or the Explorer’s Steakhouse. While the children enjoy the play area, adults can try their luck in the onboard casino, take in a movie at the cinema or relax in one of the bars and soak up the live entertainment, before retiring to their comfortable en suite cabin for the night, arriving refreshed and ready for sightseeing in the morning.
Max Foster, passenger director at DFDS Seaways says, "There is a lot going on in France and Holland this half term for parents looking for new places to see and explore. And the beauty of taking a ferry is that your holiday starts as soon as you board, with dedicated children’s facilities, as well as a range of restaurants and bars serving delicious food, there is something for everyone onboard."
DFDS Seaways sails up to 44 times a day between Dover and France with routes to both Calais and Dunkirk, twice a day between Newhaven and Dieppe and once a day between Newcastle and Amsterdam and Portsmouth and Le Havre.
To take advantage of these offers, book now or to find out more information, visit www.dfds.co.uk or telephone 0871 574 7235.
My little girl, now all grown up, still loves all those suggestions above. Loves Nausicaa and you cant keep her away from zoos and animals...so there you are. Nice ideas there and definitely on the pace.Wednesday, 23 October 2013 - 05:49
In the past 5 or 7 days there has been a staggering array of fast turnaround cargo ships in. As there is only one terminal for cargo they seem to have organised it very well. Slick indeed. Just in the past days we have had Lady Rasisce, Lady Korcula, Megallan Strait, Esmerelda, Santa Lucia, Star First, Hope Bay...so some going there.
The poor ould Pride of Burgundy has been in the wars recently so probably in need of a workover. Well spotted there Ed. Nice shot too of the dunes. Ive only been to Dunkerque once as I mentioned before, but it has a bit of everything from the industrial, to the dunes, to the fab harbours, not to mention some excellent bars and bistros. Will be returning for sure. Enjoyed the DFDS ferries too. Have some pictures to put up of Dunkerque showing some of the industrial aspect. I myself like all that industrial landscape, it all adds to the fascination, but for those who arent too sure, there is a most interesting town beyond anyway.
I will fetch out some of those pictures shortly.
Also FAMILIES, please see the half term ideas below from My Ferry Link.
I'm a great fan of Le Touquet myself. Been there many times at the Westminster for a bit of that old world charm and indulgence. Great dunes there too.
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 - 06:59
howard mcsweeney, dover
yet again a great all round selection of photos and must draw attention to paul's comments about the turn round time, it is not just the ferries but containerships and cruise ships that experience a slick operation here in dover.
Monday, 21 October 2013 - 20:13
Ed Connell, Dover
Pride of Burgundy passing Dunkerque West this morning on her way round to Dunkerque East for drydocking after suffering damage when she had a steering problem on Saturday night and collided with the pierhead entering Calais.
Monday, 21 October 2013 - 12:19
PaulB, Dover (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SOME IDEAS FOR HALF TERM from MY FERRY LINK
Autumn half term holiday breaks from £311 for a family of four.
Book now with Dover-Calais ferry operator MyFerryLink
For families still looking for a last minute getaway during half-term, Dover-Calais operator MyFerryLink has some great suggestions. There are several family-friendly destinations all within easy reach of Calais, meaning once you set sail the fun can begin.
MyFerryLink’s two superferries have plenty on board to keep kids entertained. The Playzone is an enclosed children’s soft play area for two to eight year olds and is located adjacent to Le Relais self-service restaurant, where parents can relax with a coffee or meal whilst watching their kids. There are also free-to-use microwaves in the seating area of the Relais, so parents can warm up baby milk or special food for the kids.
Sainte Croix Animal Park - two day break from £311 for a family of four
Set in 120 acres of beautiful parkland, in the centre of the Parc Régional de Lorraine, the Sante Croix Animal Park is home to more than 1,500 animals from 100 different species. The animals, which roam free in large enclosures, include bears, lynx, bison, several packs of wolves and deer. There’s plenty of entertainment: a train tour and opportunities to watch the animals being fed. A one night stay in a Mongolian yurt, equipped with beds, and a living area as well as two days’ entry to the park and meals in the park restaurant costs just £239 for a family of four for the night of 28 October 2013. The total cost of the break, including return ferry crossings with MyFerryLink, is £311 for a family of four (£77.75 per person).
Parc Astérix – two day break from £429 for a family of four
Located just north of Paris, is the popular theme park, Parc Astérix based on the stories by Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny. The park features a number of attractions, including the largest roller coaster in Europe. Try out the ‘Tonnerre de Zeus’ – climb to the top of Mount Olympus and take off on a dizzying descent of more than 30 metres, reaching a speed of over 80 km/h with double humps, spirals and aerial turns. There are plenty of rides for younger members of the family and six worlds to visit including Egypt, the Vikings, ancient Greece and of course, Gaul. Shows available at the park include ‘the legion is recruiting’ and a dolphin and sea lion show. Prices start from £357 for a one night stay for a family of four in the park’s themed Hotel des Trois Hiboux. Prices include breakfast and two days’ entry to the park for the night of 28 October 2013. The total cost of the break, including return ferry crossings with MyFerryLink, is £429 for a family of four (£107.25 per person).
Pierre & Vacances Résidence Le Phare, Le Touquet – four nights from £397 for a family of four
Just over an hour’s drive from Calais, Le Touquet is a fantastic destination for all the family with its elegant boutiques, adventure water park, horse-riding and cycling. Pierre & Vacances, Résidence Le Phare, Le Touquet is within easy driving distance of a number of fun activities, including the Nausicaa ocean centre. A family of four can save 25% on a four-night midweek break, staying in a self-catering studio apartment from Monday 28 October to Friday 1 November for just £325. The total cost of the break, including return ferry crossings with MyFerryLink, is £397 for a family of four (£99.25 per person).
A return Dover-Calais crossing for a car and up to nine passengers with MyFerryLink is available from just £65 based on 28 October departures. MyFerryLink operates 16 daily crossings on the Dover-Calais route. Fares for a car and up to nine passengers start from £29 each way any duration.
To find the best fares, visit www.myferrylink.com or call 0844 2482 100
The Black Watch always seems to be unfortunate with the weather. Here she is leaving a day or so ago heading out into a grim blustery evening with menacing weather outlook. No pink gins on the foredeck in prospect this time. There seemed to be a fair amount of passengers onboard nevertheless, sturdy legged veterans to a man..or woman..
Top pic in this post shows My Ferry Link's Rodin arriving in harbour two days ago, a little after sunrise.Monday, 21 October 2013 - 07:13
Sunday morning and its departure time already for the Star First. It only came in yesterday ( see previous post ) and already away. That is less than 24 hours to unload that full cargo and reload with another full cargo and off to Antwerp.That has got to be one heck of a slick operation they are running there.
Another picture to follow..a wider view of the same departure. Here we are...
Now here's the thing..no sooner had the Star First departed than along pops another cargo ship to slip into the vacant slot. The one here now at this moment is called the Lady Korcula, no picture I'm afraid, and she is currently discharging her cargo at the terminal.
Trade is definitely on the up, never seen it quite so busy before.Sunday, 20 October 2013 - 14:23
That's an interesting one Howard. I can see them now. Well spotted. I wonder what's afoot.. as they never store containers there. Perhaps it is in fact a new storage idea or else they need the content for a new building project right there in that location.
Will be fascinating to watch.
Yes and all Seatrade containers too. Here below is some of the very latest batch of Seatrade containers being offloaded from the Santa Lucia a few days back at the Cargo Terminal..maybe they are the very same batch.
Yesterday saw the arrival of the Star First with another vast load of containers but this time mostly of the Seaco variety.
The Star First is a regular caller. Here she is in the pic below slipping into Port. The two tugs were on hand to assist.
And now to put the finishing touches to the few items about the Norman Spirit..currently showing at the tip top of the page and with the extra gratuitous showing of Kelly Brook further down the page! The ship is now of course called the Calais Seaways.
Here we are with a couple of pictures of the ferry taken in yesterdays drizzle. Not of hugely great quality because of the conditions so reproduced small.
Why it says Calais Seaways with the Le Havre piece added below I dont know..why Le Havre ?
but thought it interesting.
The Black Watch left last night just as it was getting dark. Tried for a few pictures, will have a look at them later to see if any are worth reproducing.Sunday, 20 October 2013 - 08:10
howard mcsweeney, dover
probably a simple answer but why are these seatrade containers loitering on the old hoverport site when they are normally unloaded at the far end of the eastern dock?
Saturday, 19 October 2013 - 14:21
Through the darkness as i write i can see that the Black Watch, she of the norovirus reputation, is back in today. Arrived a short while ago in a blaze of sparkling light. Hopefully all is well on board and all went well on its recent voyage. This picture showing below obviously wasnt taken this morning as it is still fairly pitch black out there as i scribble..but was taken earlier this very month. She has been constantly working so might be in need of a wee bit of a refresh this time of year.
While we are briefly reflecting (see pic at top of page) on the short lived amalgamation of LD Lines and DFDS on the Dover-Calais route..this picture below was taken on the launch day of that service. It shows none other than actress Kelly Brook donning the nautical cap..and as they say, if the cap fits! Popular demand insisted that this picture be used
or to put it another way, any old excuse.
Saturday, 19 October 2013 - 06:58
PaulB, Dover (email@example.com)
Yes okay Howard.
The pics are a dover.uk.com/doverforum exclusive so will be fine on the wildlife thread.
There is a bit of a story behind those. About 7 or 8 years ago when they were taken several newspapers wanted them and a national press agent rang me up too. Not entirely sure why..perhaps there was a shortage of wildlife pictures those days, there are plenty nowadays, or maybe it was the fact that the seal was actually on Dover Beach. Fairly unheard of before or since although you do occasionally see one swimming around but never on the beach.
The original full size pictures are lost. An awful MESh computer which was relatively new collapsed completely and without warning. Whatever happened to MESH..they were awful. Gone and I can understand why. I always had American brand computers before and now since...my one mistake was MESH.
Friday, 18 October 2013 - 07:52
howard mcsweeney, Dover
i am going to have to lift those 2 great photos paul, a must for the "wildlife sightings" thread.
Thursday, 17 October 2013 - 19:07
PaulB, Dover (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Howard..Yes it is truly extraordinary how they get it all to work. Looking at the trucks.. well they remind you of a train, with a never ending line of coaches. It never stops. It is particularly noticeable in deep mid winter how it all hangs together..how they get it all to work then is amazing , but they do.
Jan yes indeed i mentioned the seal in a post below a day or so ago and here she is. I just assume its a she somehow... was certainly more than surprised early one morning several years ago to see this delightful creature stretched out on the beach right here below my window in central Dover...fab.
Nodding off !!
Aware now that I'm there. Was very careful not to disturb so withdrew at that point. Lovely
Pictures copyright PB.
Thursday, 17 October 2013 - 16:21
howard mcsweeney, dover
that photo taken from the cliffs sums up dover port, nose to tail traffic with loads more trucks waiting to board.
somehow it all goes like clockwork, unless there are problems in france the ferries leave and arrive on time and there are very rarely any serious hold ups.
a triumph of organisation and a credit to all those who work in the port.
Thursday, 17 October 2013 - 15:12
It is always good to know these exercises take place. When crossing the channel safety may not be in the forefront of ones mind when your heading for sunny climes.
Gosh yes it would be really good to see the seal pics again, we never think that we would see these animals in our watersThursday, 17 October 2013 - 12:24
THE PORT : KEEPING US SAFE
Emergency services and key agencies from across Kent will take part in a major emergency exercise next month at the Port of Dover.
Staff from various organisations, volunteers and specialist equipment will be seen in action at Europe’s busiest ferry port on Saturday 9th November dealing with a marine incident. The exercise will commence mid-Channel with an incident on a ferry heading for Dover. This will allow multi-agency emergency procedures to be extensively tested.
The Port will remain open throughout the exercise, which is being organised by the Port of Dover, the Kent Resilience Forum and a number of other partners as one of a number of significant exercises planned to examine multi-agency planning and preparedness at this critical UK gateway.
Tim Waggott, Chief Executive, Port of Dover, said: "Responsible for over 12-13 million passengers, almost 5 million vehicles and £80 billion of trade each year, such exercises are vital to ensuring that we can effectively and professionally deal with potential incidents in the best way possible for our customers and for UK plc. Working with our partners in Kent is extremely important to us and crucial to the resilience of our operations. We take the safety and security of the Port and our customers very seriously and such exercises are an essential part of that. I would very much like to thank all our business partners for their assistance."
P&O Ferries is providing a vessel in order that the exercise can be run as realistically as possible. Kent Police will be working together with Port of Dover Police in responding to the mock incident. Dover District Council will take responsibility for a Survivor Reception Centre in a nearby area to look after the affected customers (played by volunteers).
Nadeem Aziz, Chief Executive of Dover District Council said: "We are very pleased to be actively involved in this important exercise, and to be supporting this major partnership project. It is vital for the success of the Port and its role in both the immediate community and the wider district that we work effectively together and stay prepared."
Still enjoying the wildlife report and pictures below. My only encounter with wildlife was on the beach below my window here on Dover seafront. Gazing out one morning sleepy eyed..expecting to see the usual bits of seaweed or the odd seagull and there she was...a seal nestling on said beach. Still in dressing gown I ran down and approached the beach slowly to get a few pix. I will try and dig them out later...about 6 or 7 years ago now.
PS: the top picture in this post was taken yesterday in the early sun..twas a lovely day up on the cliffs.
However would have ideally needed a helicopter for a bit more elevation
....as in second pic shown.
This second picture immediately above was from DHB previously.Wednesday, 16 October 2013 - 08:49
Wow Ed the email made Really interesting reading, had not realised any of that happened and along with the great pictures.
Just goes to show that when we cross the channel nature is all around us, and sometimes we just don't realise it. Tuesday, 15 October 2013 - 11:47
PaulB, Dover (email@example.com)
Gosh! marvellous stuff there Ed.. both article and pictures. A huge well done to Graham Ekins. Great shots! I had no idea re wildlife. Have only been to Dunkerque the once, this year it was, to see the Tall Ships but loved it there. Its a real mixture of everything..will definitely be going again.
GrahamTuesday, 15 October 2013 - 10:51
Ed Connell, Dover
These are the photos copyright Graham Ekins which accompanied the article below:
Short-beaked common dolphin
Short-beaked common dolphins
Kittiwakes on Dover Harbour wall
Tuesday, 15 October 2013 - 10:28
Ed Connell, Dover
We often get British and French naturalists travelling who observe the birds and sea creatures from the Bridge. Here is an interesting email just received:
MARINElife blog: DFDS vessel Dover Seaways
Dover - Dunkirk 5th October 2013
Weather: Eastbound: Force 1-3, E-NNW with light, high cloud and some slight haze;
Westbound: Force 1-2, NNW clear with light, high cloud and a slight haze
Some fascinating and surprising sightings of both dolphins and birdlife were among the highlights of a very busy survey.
After a trouble-free drive down to Dover from Essex I met Jack at Dover station and then drove to the DFDS terminal. In just a few minutes we were enjoying a coffee while waiting to board the DFDS Dover Seaways. Once on board we had a very enjoyable lunch in the staff canteen before joining Captain Daniel Cook and officers on the bridge where we were made very welcome. As we left Dover harbour we were able to see the first of many Gannet and a flock of mainly adult Kittiwake feeding a few hundred metres from the breakwater.
A few minutes later we had views of the first of eight Harbour Porpoise. Viewing conditions were ideal with little wind and a lightly overcast sky. Mid-channel we had a Balearic Shearwater closely followed by a Great Skua, both heading steadily south.
Then about 500m ahead we saw a small group of seabirds circling with a Great Black-backed Gull on the sea. This was the first sign of a feeding group of cetaceans. As we moved closer to them we realised that they were four Short-beaked Common Dolphin, a rare sight on this survey route. They swam towards the ship before diving into the depths.
As we turned north a few kms off the French coast we had the first of 140 Common Scoter migrating south. Some of these birds may winter as far south as the shallow waters off the north-west African coast. We also came across several small groups of adult Little Gull their grey underwings clearly visible in the excellent light conditions. Close to Dunkirk harbour we passed an adult Pomarine Skua still with tail spoons closely followed by a juvenile Arctic Skua, an Arctic Tern and several Sandwich Tern. All of these birds were heading determinedly south. We also had several views of Harbour Porpoise and a Common Seal before we entered the dock.
Once the Dover Seaways had docked we went out on deck to check the harbour with the use of a telescope. On the southern side of the dock we saw 35 Great Crested Grebe, some were still in summer plumage. The number of Cormorant had decreased from the previous month, presumably as this continental sinensis race are highly migratory and many had left for wintering grounds in southern Europe and north Africa. We were surprised to see 155 waders of five species, the most common were 100 Dunlin and most unexpected were three Bar-tailed Godwit and eight Sanderling. Close to the ship were a Stonechat, a few Starling and several Jackdaw.
As we left Dunkirk harbour four Meadow Pipit briefly flew alongside while a superb male Peregrine Falcon passed the bridge before heading south, presumably a northern migrant. As we travelled south parallel with the French coast we saw two Razorbilll and a Guillemot while several more Little Gull passed the ship. By mid-channel the number of Gannet heading south had greatly increased, a high proportion of which were brown juveniles. We also saw several more Great Skua, adult Great Black-backed Gull and four Little Gull heading steadily south-west.
After finishing the recording we thanked Captain Daniel Cook and his officers for their excellent hospitality and interest in what we had been seeing on the survey. We would like to thank DFDS for providing continued support for this important survey route.
Graham Ekins and Jack Allum, MARINElife Research Surveyor (Registered Charity No. 1110884)
Harbour Porpoise 8
Short-beaked Common Dolphin 4
Common Seal 1
Common Scoter 135
Great Crested Grebe 35
Balearic Shearwater 1
Great Skua 8
Pomarine Skua 1
Parasitic (Arctic) Skua 1
Black-headed Gull 34
Common Gull 12
Herring Gull 74
Lesser Black-backed Gull 13
Great Black-backed Gull 61
Arctic Tern 1
Sandwich Tern 6
Birds recorded in Dunkirk Harbour
Bar-tailed Godwit 3
Land birds recorded from ship
Meadow Pipit 4
Peregrine Falcon 1
Tuesday, 15 October 2013 - 02:01