Dartmouth to Weymouth,

Paul Huntley
Tue 23 Jun 2009 08:29

50:21N 03:22W

Tuesday 23rd June 2009.

We set off from Dartmouth at 07:00am punching the last of the flood to the Mewstone. Setting course due east once again, dodging the pot buoys. On the way we pass a collection of small angling boats all fishing for Mackerel as bait, before going on to fish the wrecks for more exotic species such as Bass.

We arrived in Dartmouth by late afternoon and went into Dart haven Marina; we rafted alongside a Dutch boat from Amsterdam with Mum, Dad and three children who were returning from the Azores. They recognised Libertad ,being in last year’s ARC themselves, they had spent the winter cruising the Caribbean as far as St Maarten( St Martin) then sailed direct to the Azores on their way back to Holland.

We went ashore and attempted to find the dock master to pay some mooring fees but, everything was locked up. We wandered down towards the car ferry and had a very poor dinner of burger and chips, the Menu described these delicacies with mouth watering descriptions of locally reared Aberdeen Angus beef, hung for a minimum of twenty eight days, served with mustard relish and fresh green leaf Salad. If they had been able to cook as well as the could write we would have been happy ,the burger was a solid lump of ex frozen ,then micro waved to extinction, unrecognisable meat, sandwiched between a stale sliced bun and a dollop of Cost Cutters relish that was of indeterminate flavour but was  red! We didn't wait to be tempted by the desert menu and returned to the boat for a serious bout of indigestion; Dave didn't make it until dawn before the call of nature awoke him. We should have been more aware, the menu also boasted Crocodile, Ostridge, kangaroo and Impala burgers describing them as low in cholesterol and all shot on site to avoid the animals stress. The mind boggles as to where and when these atrocities occur, possibly in the cellar! Be warned if your holiday plans take you to Dartmouth, stick to fish and chips.

Our course is taking us well offshore on a direct route to the infamous Portland Race around Portland Bill. Shrouded in mist at present are the fishing ports of Brixham and Exmouth with Torquay described as the English Riviera by those who write the tourist brochures, have they never heard of the Trade description Act, Torquay, in its heyday must have been a beautiful seaside resort, with fine hotels, parks and gardens. the climate is kind, being sheltered as it is from the prevailing  west wind. It is almost sub tropical, the town is now run down and dilapidated, the sea front and promenade are a  shadow of its former glory, even the climate is changing with global warming , maybe that’s a good thing, sorry Torquay.

We sail on passing Sidmouth, Lyme Regis (I wonder which King or Queen took a fancy to this genteel resort?)  To Charmouth and Bridport before the wonder of nature, the Chesil Beach boldly strikes a path south to maintain that tenuous link with the Bill at Portland. This outcrop of rock has many claims to fame. It has provided the stone to build many of London’s most prestigious buildings including St Pauls Cathedral, Mr Wren knew where to get his building supplies, This rocky promontory attracted the attention of those from  the Home office in search of accommodation for the criminal fraternity. Australia as a penal colony was becoming far too popular, the civil servants charged with housing these miscreants thought this windswept outcrop would suit this purpose, and a large Victorian Prison was built in Portland stone close to the quarry, therefore fulfilling another need of providing cheap labour, No wonder we had an Empire with that sort of lateral thinking.

We are now well on our way across Lyme Bay and the mist has cleared giving us our first view of the Bill.

The Bay seems to be full of anchored cargo vessels that I have not seen before, whether they are waiting for cargos or instructions from agent or owner, I am not sure but, most seem to be in ballast, so they are not waiting to discharge, perhaps this is a result of the recession/depression.

Well, I should be helping Guy and Dave spot the pot buoys, so until tomorrows blog I will say good bye from us all.