2 nd of September 2008 - Summer Cruise - 6
|Helen and Andy
|Wherever the wind blows us.
2 nd September Jersey
Rain rain and more rain, scuppered our plan to explore Jersey by bus. However by lunchtime it stopped so we jumped on a bus to St Aubins, on the other side of the bay and went for another walk on the beach admiring the tidal range and stones on the beach.
3 rd September Jersey
We got our Jersey explorer bus ticket which took us to Corbiere light house... many a ship saved. Despite the weather we did see the odd yacht sailing past the lighthouse. Rather them than us! As the tide was in we decided not to visit the lighthouse. Instead we got on another bus and went to Greve de lecq bay via the compulsory tax free shop selling gold and pearls. We made a quick escape from there. It was noticeable that the schools have gone back as the average age of people on the buses was now quadrupled. We walked along the coast path to Devil's Hole before seeking out the local vineyard. Sadly we were just too late to get the tour so returned to Jersey, with a quick visit to The Glass Church en route, for supper on the boat with our box of red.
4 th September Jersey
The weather forecast was for Force 8 winds locally. It looked like we would be in Jersey for a while longer so we payed for another 4 nights (buy three get one free). It sounded like the best place to be on the mainland would be a boat and that everyone is suffering from wind and rain. We then took a bus ride in the opposite direction to Samares gardens, where I developed a fondness for the coy carp, before finding a cafe in Gorey Bay where we sat and watched the tide again.
5 th September Jersey
We found a bar with internet right opposite the marina, after our grocery shopping. We had a hasty beer, and checked the weather online. It looked like Monday may be the time to go. We decided we would make our way to The Solent as it wasn't certain the good weather would last. It seems there are various hurricanes, which we could be getting the tail end of on this side of the Atlantic.
6 th September Jersey
Today, after breakfast, we settled down in the cockpit to watch the boat next to us leave its mooring. The skipper had already asked my advice, which I gave him. I was impressed that he actually took it. However, when they got going Andy did come clean that he's an instructor and they asked for marks out of ten as they left. We gave them 9 which I thought was generous. We had lunch in the bar with internet allowed us to upload the last episode of our travels and double check the weather again! We then went to the pictures.
7 th September Jersey
Today the wind is definitely easing, so it looks like we're off tomorrow. Andy made a passage plan back to Braye and it looked like we wouldn't have to have an excessively early start in the morning. For most of our time in Jersey we were preoccupied by the tidal range and spent a lot of time watching it change and then enjoying the spectacle of the race into the marina as the depth became enough for yachts to enter. The same phenomena occurred on the way out. Sadly when the weather was really bad no boats left or entered despite it being the weekend of Jersey Regatta.
8 th September Jersey-Alderney, Braye Harbour
After a leisurely shower and cooked breakfast in the cafe we finally left St Helier. Hurrah! The sun was shining and I had to change into good weather gear for once. Unfortunately the wind had gone with the appearance of the sun, so we motor sailed with the wind on our stern past Corbiere lighthouse from seaward and up the coast of Jersey. For once we had good enough visability to see all of the islands at the same time. We arrived in Alderney by 1620 where we picked up a mooring buoy. It looked like we had chosen a pretty sheltered spot, but this proved not to be the case overnight.
9 th September Alderney-Bembridge Harbour Isle of Wight
We woke to the alarm at 0530 in the dark. Neither of us had slept well. I had to abandon our cabin due to the banging of the waves on the hull 2 inches from my head and the irregular pitching of the boat. Neither of us were feeling very jolly when we woke. As soon as we had visability we left our mooring as the sun rose as a big orange disk above the horizon. It looked like it might be a sunny day but by 0645 it had disappeared again not to come out until we arrived in Bembridge. However we had some wind and made 6 or 7 knots for a couple of hours. By 0900 the wind died and we motor sailed for the next 8 hours in the rain. We had a moment of excitement as the pole supporting the wind generator decided to topple over and become disconnected from its fastenings. Fortunately, with lots of bits of rope, Andy was able to secure it until we were safely in harbour. The visability was pretty poor as we got close to the Isle of Wight. As we rounded the south east corner of the Island I was pretty nervous when Andy pointed out the ferry looming out of the fog toward our stern. However it was Brittany ferres rather than P&O so I assumed they had adequate lookouts. We got to the entrance to Bembridge and tentatively made our way in through the buoyed channel where we found a place on a pontoon. Just as we had sorted out the boat we got chatting to a couple who offered to drive us to Bembridge for fish and chips..perfect! Sadly we were so tired we fell asleep before the end of Radcliffe and Maconie so didn't find out who won the Mercury awards.
10 th September Bembridge
We had a very late start this morning. Eventually we found a cafe on the beach for lunch and went on a short walk to St Helen's. We returned later for another meal out. This is a very rare occurrence, two nights in a row.
11 th September Bembridge-Itchenor Chichester Harbour
We left Bembridge by 0900 in order to get over the bar and anchored off Priory Bay across the solent from Portsmouth watching boats and the tide again. We then headed over to Chichester Harbour where we picked up a free mooring off Itchenor quay and pumped up the dinghy. We met up with Clive, a friend of Andy's from university and had our third meal out in a row. We heard all about Clive's quest to invent a better hydrofoil dinghy, a project he has been working on for a long time, but he's definitely making progress. He has been sailing since university and still does so with his wife and children. I rowed us back in the dark, getting bitten by insects en route, and over night.
12 th September Itchenor
We spent a day in Itchenor and walked to Bosham for tea and lunch, taking a taxi across the river.
13 th September Itcehnor-Thorney Channel
We moved down river where we anchored and watched the world go by and sun set over the harbour.
14 th September Chichester Harbour-Eastbourne
We set off as the sun rose in order to catch a favorable tide. The sun was shining for a change, but there was a definite autumnal feel to the air. Sadly, my planning let us down rather and we did not manage to get to Shoreham as planned before the depth over the sill decreased too much for us to enter the lock. We thought about heading for Brighton, but as we hadn't been too impressed last time decided we had plenty of time to get to Eastbourne, despite the tide being against us for most of the time. As we had easterly winds (the first in 3 months) we also had the wind on our nose so had to motor sail. As we headed around Beachy Head the sea was quite choppy but this didn't stop a yacht hanging around perilously close to the lighthouse. We got into Eastbourne lock after dark and once settled in our berth had rice pudding and beer. We had dinner underway, a delicious (NOT) tinned beef in beer with sweetcorn, courtesy of me.
15 th September Eastbourne
We spent another day in Eastbourne catching up on shopping and lolling around the boat. This was a very different Eastbourne to the one we visited in July. It was extremely quiet and our nearest neighbours were the cormorants on the pontoon opposite.
16 th September Eastbourne-Ramsgate
We left Eastbourne shortly after low water. This was obvious from the proximity of a very exposed wreck at the channel to Eastbourne marina. As it was springs the tide was well out. We kissed the bottom a couple of times before finding deep water. We managed to get all the way to Ramsgate with the tide behind us. It being nearly springs we had 3 knots of tide in our favour through the straights of Dover and we got to Ramsgate by 16.30. We had the company of another yacht who left after us and just managed to get in before us. Both of us only managed to sail up the coast of Kent as again the wind was on our noses when eastward bound.
17 th September Ramsgate
A day well spent doing very little in Ramsgate. As Andy has been here sailing so many times we thought it was high time we explored the town. We found a nice cafe for breakfast, bought some magazines and returned to the boat where we finished cleaning out the bilges and sat reading in the cockpit. I was pretty certain we were lopsided for a time at low water, but Andy wasn't convinced. That was the extent of our Ramsgate exploring.
18 th September Ramsgate-Pin Mill River Orwell
Today I planned our sail across the Thames Estuary back to Harwich. I tried to make it a mystery tour for Andy, but as the tides were limiting and I had to keep asking his advice it was pretty clear to him which route I had decided on. For the last part of the journey we had a fairly strong cross tide slowing us as we pointed toward Harwich and the wind was not very strong. I had a plan to get us onto a buoy at Pin Mill for a couple of nights. As we were fighting the tide we motored up the Orwell as the sun was setting and the birds were flocking in for the night. Very fitting for the last leg of our journey.
19 th September Pin Mill
We stayed on our buoy today apart from a trip to shore for lunch at the Butt and Oyster and to let me post my dads birthday card. As we had the electric engine we took a detour to a boat graveyard just down stream from us. We then sat and waited for the lorry ferries to pass us, very close!
20 th September Pin Mill- Shotley
After breakfast we set off back to our berth at Shotley. The little solar panel had kept the battery on Andy's car charged so we filled up the car and set off back to Cambridge, via the Suffolk Food Hall for lunch. We plan to come back on Monday to spend a few days fettling and cleaning, before returning to our permanent berth back in Cambridge.
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