"Normal" Life 50 43.53N, 01 44.33W

Saro's Gyda
Derrick Thorrington
Mon 27 Jun 2011 20:37
    Our friends, Sarah and Warwick duly arrived on their boat Murava, exactly on time and rafted up with us, Tamarisk having left in the morning. We had quite a bit of catching up to do and this was carried out with the help of a "Welcome Back"  bottle of Fizz and another rustled up dinner aboard. The following day was spent enjoying a companionable long walk around the coastal path (with a convenient refreshment stop half way and the reward of a clotted cream tea at the end!)
Note the Great British summer wear!
    Next day we bade farewell to Warwick and Sarah and headed east with a fair forecast, hedging our bets on whether we would cross Lyme Bay immediately or stop over at Dartmouth to wait for some inclement weather to pass by. Dartmouth proved to be the best bet so we headed into and up this beautiful river to anchor just below Dittesham, surrounded by steep green and wooded hills and lovely scenery. What was not so lovely however was the weather for the next two days. It blew very hard and absolutely poured.
Creek on the Dart
    Unable to stay inactive all this time, the mate set of to walk to Dartmouth, returning later in the day soaked to the skin despite full waterproofs and boots but having enjoyed the lovely countryside and historic sttreets of the town. The rain held off for long enough in the evening to row ashore and enjoy a meal in the Red Lion, at the back of the village. It was a great pub, mainly frequented by locals and also contained the Post Office, a small shop and a room with local crafts and knitted goods. Very characterful, friendly and welcoming.
     On Sunday 19th June the Met Office forecast was extremely inadequate, predicting winds of F5 to 7 in Lyme Bay. We could only interpret this as a 5 with maybe gusts of 7. After much deliberating we decided to head out very early in the morning in order to coordinate with the Christchurch tides. We dressed in full waterproofs, lifejackets and harnesses As we nosed out to sea in the dark a double reef was set in the main and a single in the mizzen. We braced ourselves for the onslaught and nothing happened. There was no sign of a gale at all!  We shook out the reefs, shed a few layers of clothing and enjoyed a great and comfortable sail across Lyme Bay, past Portland and the Purbecks. As it was evident that we would arrive at Christchurch entrance far too early for the tide, we turned into Swanage to wait. Although we didn't bother to launch the dinghy to go ashore, I managed to catch up with my good friend Pam as she stood waving on the beach while we conversed on our mobile phones. A few hours later we eventually gave in to the engine in Poole Bay as the wind died, in order to make the tide into Christchurch before the last of the light faded.
    It was a pity that we had had to deliberate for so long in Dartmouth as the girls had planned a welcoming picnic, hoping that we would be entering the harbour in the afternoon. Nevertheless we were waved into the Run by two enthusiastic mothers a dog and Eleanor who then rushed around to the sailing club to join us for a homecoming nightcap. We were back.
     We were reluctant to leave our "home" that night but the following day, "normality" had to be faced. Green Flash was gradually unpacked over the next few days and we relocated to our house which had been beautifully cleaned and tidied for our arrival (all evidence of wild parties erased!).
    One effect of living on a small boat for the year was a rash of clearing out in our first week home. The Charity shops of New Milton were restocked to overflowing with unneeded clothes and unwanted books.
    We are now firmly reabsorbed back into the Nation's workforce, with lovely, lovely memories of people. places and events and are are already champing at the bit to do it again!