Tuesday 13 September

Just a short hop across to Cowes given the lack of wind and the persistent rain. Not spectacular or super-adventurous, but pleasant to have lunch on board and then mooch around the town. The crowds have gone and Cowes is rather less pretentious or yachty than in the summer months. Quite a few sailing school boats are in the marina and they all seem to have matching gear…we feel rather scruffy next to them…looks are everything right?

On our visits here we always ponder the island nature and what a bridge would do. At one level, the island is quite quaint and charming in a slightly 50’s sort of way. But on the other hand, why would any young people really want to stay (apart from the relatively low cost of housing)? It is easy for the occasional visitor to be charmed, but to live here…? A bridge would undoubtedly bring more money and opportunity here and house prices would clearly rise, but that of itself would also keep young people away or prevent them staying. Perhaps it is best that Wightlink and Red Funnel keep raking in the cash from their astronomical prices!

Wednesday and the end of the little trip...

Domestic stuff draws us inexorably home sadly, so 5.30 sees us up with an unwelcome alarm and even more unwelcome rain, to catch the last of the ebb down the Solent to Lymington. We have time to make coffee before we slip the moorings in the dark and drizzle and make our way out of Cowes.

A single blast in our ear lets us know that the fast cat to Southampton is about to leave. We keep well out of the way as they take no prisoners, but they soon leave us bobbing in their wake, and as we head round Egypt Point the light is just enough to make out the rather damp shoreline of West Cowes. Of the mainland we see nothing!

There is, despite the damp and dark, something special about sailing into the dawn. The feeling that it is mostly just us with the sea to ourselves and the gradual fading of the light from the buoys. We have a wind of sorts but by the time we reach the entrance to the Lymington River the tide is just starting to flood once more and we are grateful yet again for the ability to burn some diesel to get us home.

Breakfast tied up to the pontoon is a juicy fry-up with more coffee before we start the process of clearing and packing and saying goodbye once more. Not the most extraordinary of voyages certainly, but a joy to be on the water and to feel Heydays come to life even if not far from home.

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