Waking up to the sound of birds looking for breakfast on the mudflats is always one of the joys of the creeks and rivers, even if we are sharing it with a dozen other boats. It is easy to forget that this is still a commercial river in many ways until a remarkably long ship makes its way upstream.
The name is both explanatory and funny….there is a wind turbine factory in Newport.
True to form as we leave the river and just as we pass the Red Funnel ferry, it gives a loud blast to say that it is leaving…they really take no prisoners, but we are well clear and head off out into the Solent heading east past folk who work for a living!…
…in order to poke our nose into Wootton Creek to see what it is like. We have the main up, but there is almost no wind to even fill it and so we motor-sail along the north east coast of the island past the various remnants of what were presumably royal landing stages and boathouses attached to Osborne House. This was one of Victoria’s favourite retreats with Albert and also where she spent considerable time in relative isolation after he died.
The rocks off Wootton are not to be taken lightly and we keep a cautious distance off before heading into the creek.
There is not a huge amount of room for moorings or anchorage and the yacht club has a drying pontoon, but ferry aside it looks pleasant enough.
Just as we decide to head out again, our peace is disturbed by three black police ribs powering into the creek. They carry out a boarding exercise on the ferry…not initially successful as their ladder isn’t long enough. Presumably any villains on board would wait until the police got the right ladder.
Back out in the Solent, the wind has filled from the south west and we enjoy a single tack round the east side of the Bramble Bank and up Southampton Water where we plan to pick up Chris from the train. A few other yachts are out including a design/paint-job which provides a disturbing optical illusion…
We have company up the water with a small tan sailed gaffer and it is great just to be sailing free.
Southampton Water is another strange mix of the heavy industrial on the west side…
…and the old and more leisurely east side, including Netley Abbey and the old military hospital which saw thousands of wounded troops arriving by boat from France in the first world war.
We round up past the car and boat commercial handling dock….and meet Chris in Ocean Village. We are 50m from the Harbour Lights cinema and take in an ‘old’ Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick. A rousing utterly American movie in terms of themes, dialogue, story line…and (sshh) lack of any sublety!!