Normandy Crossing

I love being at sea, the vast waters surrounding me. It’s been a while, so when I decided to go over to Normandy it felt amazing. There’s nothing like the quality of light at sea.

I was going over for a couple of days to visit Juno Beach and the other D-Day Invasion beaches, so I decided to take the earliest morning ferry from Portsmouth so that I could watch the shores of Normandy the way the Canadians and other Allied Forces did on the Morning of June 6, 1944. The following are the best of the next few hours’ photos.

The 170' Spinnaker Tower stands watchfully at Portsmouth Harbour. It's lit by multi-coloured lights at night, but on this day it almost blended with the sky.
The 170′ Spinnaker Tower stands watchfully at Portsmouth Harbour. It’s lit by multi-coloured lights at night, but on this day it almost blended with the sky.
As we leave the mouth of the harbour, I look back and see the wake, like a trail of breadcrumbs leading us back.
As we leave the mouth of the harbour, I look back and see the wake, like a trail of breadcrumbs leading us back.
The names of 24,558 men and women who died in both World Wars of the 20th Century are carried on this War Memorial overlooking the Solent. A fitting departure sight on my pilgrimage across the Channel.
The names of 24,558 men and women who died in both World Wars of the 20th Century are carried on this War Memorial overlooking the Solent. A fitting departure sight on my pilgrimage across the Channel.
We followed this ship through the mouth of the harbour. How incredibly bright its colours were in the grey of sea and sky.
We followed this ship through the harbour. How incredibly bright its colours were in the grey of sea and sky.
The ever present gulls and terns of the sea accompany the ships as they come and go.
The ever present gulls and terns of the sea accompany the ships as they come and go.
Our companion goes its own way.
Our companion goes its own way.

Toward the horizon it goes, following the invisible bread crumbs that only its navigator and captain can see.

Toward the horizon it goes, following the invisible bread crumbs that only its navigator and captain can see.

Lost in the mists of the still foggy morning, the great cliffs slowly disappear.

Lost in the mists of the still foggy morning, the great cliffs slowly disappear.
These great liners move silently through the fog.
These great liners move silently through the fog just as the ships had all night, the night before the landings in Normandy.
The crisp, clean lines of the boat seemed to glow.
The crisp, clean lines of the boat seemed to glow.
It's the simplicity of the colour, how it glows as it becomes deeper. And in the distance, France.
It’s the simplicity of the colour, how it seems to shimmer as it becomes deeper. And in the distance, France.
We must be nearing shore -  the birds return.
We must be nearing shore – the birds return.
Gradually, the land begins to come clear.
Gradually, the land begins to come clear.
One begins to see individual buildings.
Individual buildings become more clear.
As one becomes closer, it becomes clear that one is no longer in England. The architecture alone illustrates it.
The architecture has a very different flavour.
A few people still haunt the beaches, hoping for a bit of sun.
A few people still haunt the beaches, hoping for a bit of sun.
Ouistreham, the port of the City of Caen for over 300 years.
Ouistreham, the port of the City of Caen for over 300 years.
To the left of the port town, the hills disappear into the morning mists.
To the left of the port town, the hills disappear into the morning mists.
A natural harbour keeps the smaller boats safe in glassy waters.
A natural harbour keeps the smaller boats safe in glassy waters.
And we've followed the birds across the Channel. I wonder if they were still there as the troupes landed.
And we’ve followed the birds across the Channel. I wonder if they were still there as the troupes landed.

The next few days changed my view of the wars and I came away feeling as if I had a better understanding of what it must have been like to live there during those wars. However, that was yet to come. On this morning I had renewed my love of being at sea, had felt once more the pull and mystery of it.

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