Thursday 13 August …Harbour hopping

The earlyish low tide requires an early departure to get over the sill….early in these times means up around 6.30…at least it is not getting up at 2.30am to get a tide…perhaps we’re going soft.

We slip the lines before other folk are up and have our first coffee as we slide past the deserted beaches into the morning sun. The only folk around are a group exercising horses on the beach…

The sea is a flat calm with not a breath of wind, but we are happy just to be out on the water. Predicted electric storms have led to us booking yet another marina at the northern end of Chichester Harbour. We had hoped to anchor more, but the proximity of taller masts than us is a definite comfort. By 9.30 we have ghosted into Chichester Harbour…

… and we anchor with a few other boats just off the sandy beach and dunes of West Wittering.

The beach here has no commercial facilities and is wonderfully empty compared to some we have seen this summer. Our faithful tender is pumped up and we spend the morning lazing on the beach and taking the occasional dip to cool off. As we return to Heydays the beach is suddenly filled with a young girl’s birthday party and ‘dressed’ boats arriving to ‘happy birthday to you…’ drifting across the water. Lovely spot made all the more lovely as we finish our lunch, with the arrival of a floating ice-cream seller. We tell him about the party on the beach and he is surrounded as soon as he lands.

The clouds are building and there are one or two rumbles from the north. We hear about some flash floods around the M25 and bits of the west country, and we head deeper into the harbour as a breeze builds just enough to take us under genoa alone up channel. Despite being close to ‘civilisation’ we are wonderfully secluded as we slip, past the marshes and mud flats into Northney marina just off the Emsworth Channel. Our berth is on the ‘hammerhead’ and we can look out over Egrets and Terns finding dinner in the mud and shallows.

We grab some beers in the last of the sun at the little café by the marina office and then head off ‘home’ to cook dinner and while the evening away, as the flashes and rumbles remind us that we are grateful for the large and reassuringly tall mast on the boat next to us.

As a slight footnote…we have a conversation with a neighbour on a motorboat about the amount of fuel he uses. A mate of his pays £6000 to fill his Sunseeker, which takes him from Cowes to Devon, but only as far back as Poole! We feel smug…until the wind dies!

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