Lowestoft Haven Marina, the previous night
Jean says: Being in Lowestoft so early in the week meant that we had enough time to get down to Shotley and meet Janene and Jules there. They keep their boat Temptress in Shotley marina, and we sailed with them from here a few years ago. Despite predictions of quite gusty winds, we had a really great sail all the way down the coast, and the sun was lurking behind the permanent mist that shrouded the coastline. We could see very little, but caught a glimpse of Sizewell looking like something out of a sci fi movie.
This is all we could see of the Sizewell B nuclear plant. Can you see it?
To safely enter the Felixstowe/Harwich area you have to follow a designated route just outside the main shipping lanes. You can see why. It's a very busy commercial shipping port and you would want to keep well out of the way. We formed a crocodile with a few other yachts following the same route, and weaved our way up to Shotley, which is sensibly placed on a picturesque promontory overlooking the whole harbour.
Felixstowe on the way in.
Janene and Jules were waiting to take our lines in the marina. What a treat!
We spent the rest of the evening chatting, eating and drinking, and there was a lot of boat talk. There is one thing that we can do very well after this trip, and that's boat talk. It's not difficult when you've been on one for three months. I hope we can think of other things to talk about when we return home, otherwise people may avoid us. Tomorrow, Janene and Jules are coming on Bella Rosa to try her for size, but also take us round all their local haunts. I've told them that I'd like to be a competent crew for the day and have a day off thinking while they make all the decisions.
Bob says: everyone knows how the Shipping Forecast can stir the imagination, Dogger, Fisher, Sole, Fitzroy, German Bight...... A little feature of this trip has been hearing the different coastguards broadcasting safety and weather information over the VHF and being reminded how far from home we've been: Clyde, Stornaway, Fort William, Stromness ....... Since being in the southern part of the North Sea we've begun to pick up Netherlands and Ostend, but yesterday we also had a real reminder of how close to the end of this odyssey we've come when we heard from Thames coastguard for the first time!
We're in Shotley marina and that's just inside Suffolk, but sometime tomorrow we'll actually be in Essex and then it's Kent, really getting close to home.