Just off Portland Bill - 27 July

Thu 27 Jul 2006 16:25
It has been a busy night and morning, with loads of shipping traffic, from fishing boats to large tankers.  Additionally we have been close to Warship Richmond, which has been practising with live ammunition.  We have called them a couple of times on the VHF as we seemed to be within their exclusion zone whenever they announced their position - in the end they tracked us on their radar to ensure they avoided us.  All we have heard are some loud booms.
We were sad to leave Cornwall - it was really idyllic with beautiful beaches (although the swimming was a bit bracing - took us a long time to recover!)  There was also lots of wonderful food - they seem to be very keen on the local produce there, from the traditional ice cream to meat and veg, really nice bread and, or course, Cornish pasties.  We even had some strawberries and clotted cream yesterday!
We are now trying to finish some of the stores on board.  A few of the tins have done the full Atlantic circuit with us and we are determined to get through some of these before we get to Waldringfield.  So we are expecting a rather strange diet over the next couple of days as we tuck into them.  Unfortunately I don't have Whitehaven's recipe for Spam and chickpea curry (nor do we have any Spam on board) so that one won't be on the menu. 
The prospect of arriving in Suffolk grows more exciting by the hour.  Alice and Pip are now so used to long voyages that they don't ask "are we nearly there yet" but the question is "how many days are we going to be at sea?"  They are looking forward to getting home, seeing their friends, moving into a house and even to starting back at school.  
There is not much wind but we are lucky in that what little there is comes from well aft of the beam, so we have hoisted big blue and would be going along at 8-9 knots if it were not for an adverse current of between 3 and 4 knots.  We only have to endure this for a couple of hours and then we will be back into favourable tides.  We have already covered 111 miles of the journey home - around 220 remain.  The journey is already a lot more pleasurable than we had expected, with some wind rather than none as forecast earlier in the week.  To motor the whole way back to Suffolk had really not been the way we wanted to finish our year away.
We have already received lots of lovely phone calls and emails welcoming us home and really can't wait to see everyone in Suffolk.  It looks as though we will be coming up the Deben at high water on Saturday afternoon and then anchoring somewhere in the vicinity of Waldringfield.  All are welcome for a drink or two on board, and a tour of our home.