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Europe Cruise Day 3
Wednesday, September 8th
St. Peter Port, Channel Islands

The ship is scheduled to arrive here at 11:00AM. I am not sure whether the Channel Islands are in the same time zone as Europe or in with the United Kingdom. They are closer to France but belong to the United Kingdom. Timeanddate.com says it is British time so here is British Time:

The map below shows the first of the two cruises. This shows the detail of the cruise a bit better that the map with both cruises on it that I used on the first page. This will be the map that you will see for the duration of this cruise. A blue line will follow the route of the cruise each day showing the ships present location.

The cruise map does not show just how close the Channel Islands are to France but it does give you some idea.

Day 3 Map

I hope this trip is not like the last one where I was saying that I had no luggage at this point in the cruise. The chances are good that I will not be saying this but one never knows these days.

At 11:30 I an scheduled to take an approximately 90 minute long shore excursion called Guernsey: A Coastal Experience. Here is the description from Holland America's shore excursion information about this excursion:

Guernsey’s coastline has a rugged beauty and charm formed by the waves the wind and the sun. Today you will experience the diversity of the island’s coast that range from the dramatic cliffs along the south coast consisting of exposed maritime heath land, sheltered valleys, bluebell woods and coves to the long stretches of white sand on the west and north coasts, shingle banks and sand dunes. Traveling in an exhilarating Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) makes your boat excursion along the coast of Guernsey a unique and exiting experience. After meeting your local crew on the pier, walk over to the RIB to start your trip along the coast of Guernsey. The warm waters of the Gulf Stream around the Channel Islands are rich with wildlife and maritime history. Your experienced local skipper will take you to the best and hidden places to watch the incredible beauty and diversity of the Channel Islands wildlife. You will also hear stories about the dramatic history of Guernsey and the neighbouring islands of Herm and Sark. After your one-hour tour, you will return to St. Peter Port.

As with any excursion like this here are the Notes:

Ride will be bumpy. Pregnant women or guests with back or neck problems are not allowed to participate. You must dress warmly in layers for this tour; wear a hat, sturdy shoes and a waterproof/windproof jacket. Tour may be cancelled at short notice in the event of inclement weather. Wildlife sightings are likely but are not guaranteed.

This should prove interesting!

The ship is scheduled to leave here at 7:00PM heading for Brest, France.

How it actually happened!!!
(written August, 2011)

As you can see from the "written August, 2011" above it has been a long time since I last wrote anything for this trip. I am not sure why but I stopped working on this trip and have never managed to get back to doing it until now. This comes after completing the site for the 2011 Motor Coach Tour about a week ago. As you can probably imagine some detail will have been forgotten since it is almost a year since this trip occurred. I will see what I can do but do not be surprised if this is a bit less detailed than some of the other trips. That said, on to what actually did happen, as best as I can remember and with the help of some Blog entries I created at the time, some quotes from which you will be seeing here from time to time. Away we go.....

First thing of note, the shore excursion shown above was not available and had to be changed. This was the only shore excursion that I had chosen in the first cruise that was not available. The new one was called The German Occupation of Guernsey. Here is the shore excursion brochure's description of this one.

The Channel Islands were the only British territory to be occupied by the Germans during World War II. The sheer scale of the undertaking is still visible in the remnants of the German defences on Guernsey today. You will visit two sites that tell the story of the occupation from June 1940 to May 1945. At the Occupation Museum, you are greeted by a model of an evacuee of June, 1940—a reminder that half of Guernsey’s population and most of the schoolchildren were evacuated. See a selection of band instruments used by some of the 12,000 troops stationed in Guernsey, together with uniforms, weapons and equipment. In the civilian room and the “occupation kitchen,” the day-today life of the islanders can be gleaned from reading the various orders, permits and censored newspapers, and diaries they kept. A horse-drawn ambulance was built in 1944 due to rationing of gas. A short transfer takes you to the Underground Hospital and Munitions Store. This maze of tunnels covers an area of about 75,000 square feet, and is almost invisible from the surface. The hospital was equipped with an operating theater, kitchen, cinema, staff quarters and wards for 500 patients. Beds, cooking utensils, the X-ray room, laboratory, dispensary, sleeping quarters, storerooms, a cinema and the mortuary remain in place.

There was one simple note for this one: Due to the limited tourism infrastructure available on Guernsey, your driver will be your guide.

From the blog (written the following day):

Day 3 was at Guernsey about 48 miles north of France in the English Channel.   The ship arrived just before 11:00AM. My excursion: The German Occupation of Guernsey started at 11:15AM with a tender ride to the island.

Here are some photos of the tender ride to Guernsey.

Tenders AM 1 Tenders AM 2
Waiting in a tender to leave. Heading for the dock.
Tenders AM 4 Tenders AM 3
The one I was on. Another one arriving.

The blog entry continues......

Guernsey had quite a tough time of it when they were occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. It was the only British Territory to be occupied by the Germans or anyone for that matter. It went on for almost 5 years from 1940 to May 9, 1945. Apparently Hitler took quite an interest in them because they were part of Britain.  All kinds of bunkers were built and an underground hospital which is now a museum. This was one of the visits yesterday. It was a dank and dreary place and apparently people often come out in worse shape then when they went in. All of these were built with brought in slave labourers.

The first stop was at a lookout which was not normally part of this tour. Here was the lookout and some bunkers/gun placements built by the Germans during the occupation. This location is called the Jerbourg view point. Below is a picture of the map at the lookout showing what can been seen from here. You may be able to see some of these locations in the photos that follow below the map.

Viewpoint Map 1

Here are some photos of this area.....

Viewpoint 1 Viewpoint 2
The Westerdam at anchor in the bay of St. Peters Port. The ship to the left and the island of Herm near the centre.
France is far off in the distance (about 48Kilometers) in this image.
Viewpoint 5 Viewpoint 3
I think that Herm is to the left and Sark is to the right. I think that the edge of Sark is to the left and Jersey in in the middle. Not sure though.
Viewpoint 4 Viewpoint Bunkers 1
A wider view of the port in the distance and the area around the lookout in the foreground. Some of the bunkers at the lookout.
Bus at Viewpoint Bus 1
The bus in the viewpoints parking lot. A view of the inside of the bus.

A short distance from the lookout was the Underground Hospital. Here are some pictures of this damp and dreary place.

UH Sign Entrance
The sign at the hospital entrance. The hidden entrance.
Inside 1 Inside 2
Some information. The group looking into one of the wards.
Inside 3 Inside 4
These are copies of some of the hospital beds used here. One of the hallways (or tunnels perhaps).
Inside 5 kitchen Inside 6 Furnace
Kitchen area. The heating area at the far end of the kitchen in the previous image.
Inside 7 Inside 10
Another corridor. It is a rather dull and dreary place.
Inside 8 Inside 9 Escape Shaft
Through this door you come to.... .... the 75 foot escape shaft.
Inside 11 Mortuary Inside 12 Ward
No description needed here. Some other beds used in the wards.
Inside 13 Inside 14
A small display of some of the items used here. Another one of those dreary corridors.
Inside 15 Inside 16
A map showing the layout. The sign says "Electric Generator, Boiler and Air Conditioner".
Inside 17 Exit 2
A few of the exhibits inside the hospital The rather well camouflaged exit from the hospital.
Exit 1 Outside 1
Looking the other way from the same spot as the previous picture. Some people going into the hospital.
Outside 3 Outside 2
The area near the hospital. Looking the other way from picture to the left.

More from the blog:

The other visit was to a privately run Occupation Museum. It was not the most exciting place but it gave a pretty good idea of what it was like during those 5 years. One of the stories we were told was that the Germans saw what they thought were military solders lined up on the dock so they bombed it. It turned out to be just crates of tomatoes (a big local crop at that time). The entire tomato crop for that year was lost. What is ironic about the occupation was that it probably did not need to have happened at all as the British had completely demilitarized the island sometime before.

Museum 3 Museum 1
The entrance to the museum. You can probably read that this is a Spitfire Propeller. The rest of the sign says "In memory of the 111 R.A.F. and Allied air crews lost in Guernsey waters 1940 - 1945".
Museum 2 Museum 4
A German Sea Mine type OZ. A closer view of the mine. Two Guernsey fishermen were killed by one of these on June 11th, 1943.
Museum 5 Museum 6
An artist conception of a 'Mirus' Gun Emplacement.
Four of these were built on Guernsey in 1941.
One of the famous German Enigma Coding Machines.
Museum Outside 3 Museum Outside 4
Back outside the museum on a nice sunny day. An 88mm Flak 36 German gun.
37 were on Guernsey during the occupation.
Museum Outside 5 Outside 6
Another outside view. Some additional weapons and an Air Raid Shelter.
Museum Outside 8 Museum Outside 7
A 15cm K18 Gun Barrel.
Originally on Guernsey, moved to Jersey, salvaged and returned.
An Air Raid Shelter built at a concrete works on Guernsey in 1939. Built to accommodate 8 people.
Museum Outside 1 Museum Outside 2
The country side around the museum. More countryside.


Continuing from the blog:

Things got really bad near the end. Apparently Hitler had given orders for Guernsey to be kept at any cost. After Hitler died at the end of the war (May 8, 1945) the German commander would not surrender until he knew for sure Hitler was dead. That happened May 9, 1945. During the time after this there were severe food shortages and finally the Red Cross had to be brought in to help out. Sometime later the islanders were given the choice of joining England or France. Obviously they chose England.

It was Battle of Britain week in Guernsey when the ship was there. This is celebrated each year. There is a military based air show that is part of this celebration. It was scheduled for the the next day. This museum was just a short distance from the only airport on the island and a fighter jet was practicing for that show. Here are a several of photos of that.

Fighter 1 Fighter 2
Up, up it goes! A roll.
Fighter 3 Fighter 3 Cropped
Over the top. Close up as it goes over the top
Fighter 4 Fighter 4 Cropped
Upside down! Close up of upside down.

From the museum the group returned to the dock to await the tender trip back to the ship. Here are some pictures taken in the dock area.

Docks 1 Docks 2
The dock area as I waited to return to the ship. The port offices.

The blog continues:

Guernsey was a tender port, in and out on the lifeboats. The trip in bound was uneventful but the seas were getting larger by the return time.  The tender was bouncing around and it was hard to get docked at the ship and then get out once there. They finally had to change sides of the ship that the tenders were docking to, to use the ship as a break for the waves. Once done, things worked well. They do not like making this change as it is a lot of work. For safety reasons, it was done. I was on one of the last tenders to use the unprotected side of the ship. It was quite exciting. Pictures soon!

Here are some pictures I took from the tender as it headed back to the ship.

Tender Pm 1 Tender Pm 2
A rescue boat. The lighthouse marking the end of the breakwater.
Tender Pm 3 Tender Pm 4
An old fort, the name of which I cannot remember. The side of the ship as we approached it.

Here are two short videos showing what it was like as the tenders returned and tried to dock to the ship. They show what the blog entry above is talking about rather well. The first video shows it from my view in the tender. The second video shows what another tender looked like after I managed to get on the ship.

Quicktime Version

Quicktime Version

My tender docking, taken from the tender. A tender docking shortly after mine, taken from the ship.

Tender Pm 5

The somewhat more tranquil water on the other side of the ship.

This next group of pictures were taken from the ship of the area around Guernsey harbour.

Harbour AM 1 Harbour AM 2
The headland. Taken in the morning before leaving as were the next two pictures. Jersey. I think.
Harbour AM 3 Harbour PM 1
A small island called Jethou with the building on it and Herm behind it, I do believe. Sark, I think, taken after returning to the ship in the afternoon.

The ship sailed at 6:00PM heading for Brest, France which is only about 150 nautical miles from here.

On to Day 4!!!!!

Page Created: August 2, 2010
After Trip Update Started: August 27, 2011
After Trip Update Completed: September 5, 2011
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 6:53 PM

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