Six days since we rounded the corner at Dover and only 160 miles left to do. We had been making cracking progress knocking out more than 30 miles a day and then our old friend, the wind, decided to put in another unseasonable appearance.
We navigated along the coast from Dover to Bexhill in thick fog banks, Force 5 and 6 easterlies blew us round Selsey Bill and up the beach at Hayling Island.
We picked our way through literally 1000s of sailing boats, kite and wind surfers and the odd ferry and tanker in the Solent whilst slogging against a Force 4 gusting 5. Indeed at one point we had to hold station by a channel marker buoy whilst ferries passed either side of us.
We were stunned by how beautiful Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters are from the sea.
We pushed into Bournemouth still with stiff headwinds. The sun was out so we thought it would be a good opportunity to dry kit out in the sunshine and shop for provisions. Of course when we got into town the heavens opened and soaked all our kit. We felt sorry for ourselves, and I questioned what Geoff must have done in a previous life to bring this luck upon us!
Pulling on wet kit we paddled to Swanage past the amazing Old Harry Rocks. We had a chat with the Sailing Club there who kindly let us sleep in their boat yard. We rigged up the most sophisticated tarp system yet to keep the rain off.
It was a tough few days but at least the miles kept tumbling.
Yesterday morning we arrived in Lulworth Cove (along with about a million other people). We could see HMS Bullmark patrolling the Olympic sailing area. A reminder that we need to plot our course carefully over to Portland Bill, around a 12 mile crossing, or we could find ourselves in a spot of bother.
Because of the serious tidal conditions around Portland Bill we have to get the timings right – around a two hour window during the ebb tide. Unfortunately the winds are not playing fair and have pinned us down in Lulworth.
So for only the fourth time on this expedition we have given in to the elements and booked into a B&B. We have both had showers for the first time since north of Newcastle (whether we needed them or not!) and I’m sure the residents of this pretty Dorset Village are grateful.
Slightly disappointed to be held up yet again, but excited by the prospect of paddling into Portscatho Harbour next Tuesday (hopefully!)