Weymouth and the Jurassic Coast.
Thursday 25th June 2009
We arrived in Weymouth on Tuesday evening, going alongside the pontoon to wait for the next bridge lift. We called up the marina and were allocated a berth .On the dot of 18:00 the bells ring and the barriers go down above our heads. This bridge, built in the early part of the last century is, I am told a double canter lever bridge, lifting each half, weighing over twenty tons from each bank.
Weymouth is one of the last bucket and spade resorts apparently surviving the mass exodus to the Costas and other more exotic destinations, this traditional holiday seems to be alive and well in Dorset, with plenty of fish and chip shops, ice cream parlours and pound stores. Sea front hotels and guest houses, although lacking their original splendour and opulence are still catering for the modern visitor wishing to stay over Day trippers still arrive by the train and coach load, disgorging there human cargo on to the promenade and sandy beach. The harbour has always been the main attraction with many yachts and fishing boats adding colour to this picturesque area, the lifeboat station with its large "Seven class" boat is always a fascination for the tourist. On our first night we sampled a fish supper at Bennets Fish shop over the Town Bridge in the old town, it was well up to standard.
We had a few jobs that were long overdue on Libertad; Wednesday morning found Guy changing the primary fuel filter that had collected a good selection of bugs since St Lucia, doing its job, preventing the engine being starved of fuel at some critical moment. The bilges have been smelling very bad at times since the Caribbean, it had become more pronounce every time we pumped , so the floors were lifted and the culprit discovered in the form of a very dirty grey water bilge which had been contaminated with galley waste causing the nasty smell. Cleaning took longer than expected but, I can confirm they are now as sweet as a summer’s day.
We have had a change in the weather over the last twenty four hours with the barometer dropping more than ten m.b.s overnight and a cloud covering. This would indicate a strong wind on the way but, as far as we can tell, not forecast as yet. We hope to sail at noon and arrive in the western Solent and the Hurst Narrows for the last of the flood. As a result of Portland Bill the high tide at Weymouth is some six hours before that of Portsmouth.
Getting use to working the tides once again is a little strange, having had little or no tide to concern us since leaving the Cornish and Brittany shores a year ago. Clearing the harbour entrance we sail along the Jurassic Coast, so named because of the proliferation of prehistoric skeletal remains and fossils to be found at the foot of these eroding cliffs. Our first point of interest is Lulworth Cove a semicircular cove providing a quiet anchorage in good weather. Libertad has dropped the hook in this unique Dorset cove on a number of occasions .It is a unique formation not seen anywhere else along this coast. Durdle Door, an arch of cliff that appears to buttress the cliff has eroded over the years; it is a popular feature on many postcards.
Passing St Albans Head and Anvil Point we leave this beautiful Dorset coast behind us and begin the run along the Hampshire coast with Poole Harbour, the site of Baden Powel’s first Boy Scout Camp on Brownsea island, and the town of Poole hosts the headquarters of the RNLI featuring the new multi million pound Lifeboat College specifically built to train lifeboat crews.
By late afternoon we pass the Napoleonic fortifications guarding the western Solent with the impressive Hurst Castle on our port hand. This week I am told is Cowes week, the most significant sailing event in the British calendar. The round the Island race ,now a feature of Cowes week is a race open to all comers and attracts many hundreds of sailing boats.
Well I should attend to the task in hand and go on deck, Best wishes to you all, Paul