August 22 this like sailing in the Med?

Funerals and families have slightly curtailed the start and finish of our planned time on Heydays this month and this, together with the persistent Easterlies means that we head off west instead of our original thoughts of heading back east for a change. We take the noon tide out of Lymington past the hazy mud flats…

…and get popped out of the Hurst Narrows like corks out of cheap prosecco on a night in Bournemouth….due mainly to the spring tides and the full moon.

We have tentatively planned to spend a night in Poole harbour and are in no rush to get to the entrance there before the tide starts to flood, as it can be every bit as ferocious as the Hurst narrows. The afternoon sea breeze kicks in early and in the space of 5 minutes we go from a very light NE zephyr to a nice southerly F4. The south west Hampshire coast slips away and we keep Hengistbury head and it’s shoal waters a respectable distance off and settle in for a leisurely lunch.

Sailing at the moment must be what it is like to sail in the Med, no real thought about temperature or layers or oilies as is usually the case in the English summer, just the same shorts and T-shirt every day and loads of factor 60.

Soon however we notice a plume of smoke over Studland and begin to realise that it is something rather more serious. The news feeds confirm a major heath fire and it seems that the chain ferry has been suspended to enable emergency services direct access and that people are being evacuated. It seems less than sensible to head to an anchorage in the harbour which is directly down wind of the fire.

We opt to join the several dozen or so others who have decided to do the same…or who are just enjoying the playground near Old Harry Rocks. We avoid dropping the hook in the conservation area with due deference to the eel grass beds and their attendant sea horses, but can’t help but wonder how the sea horses feel about the dozens of powerful motor boats, jet skis and general humanity in such close proximity. Even they can’t detract from the beauty though of Old Harry though…

The fire rages on, and while we are prepared to shift out should the wind change, we decide to stay for the night and see what things are like in the morning. As darkness falls there is a spectacular sunset…

and an even more spectacular Sturgeon moon as it shines directly through a rocky hole off the cliffs. We are also grateful that the vast majority of fun seekers have departed with the sun and it feels less like Magaluf and more like a spectacular bit of English coast.

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