Saturday, May 07, 2005

Saturday, 7th May

It’s 0915 and we are still in Dover Tidal Harbour. We had hoped to be sailing today, but the shipping forecast for Dover and Wight was Westerly 5 to 7, occasionally 8, (except in Wight), veering North West 5 or 6; rain, then showers; visibility moderate or good.

As we are on a ‘pleasure’ trip, and because of the possibility of a yachtsman’s gale, that’s a force 7, and because I promised Gordon’s father ‘Bumper’ would not put to sea unless winds were forecast for no more than force 6, we are securely tied to our floating pontoon.

Shore facilities at the Marina are good. Integral with the toilet and showers there is a washroom and a babies’ room, not that Gordon and I have a need for the latter. At the pontoon where we are moored most of the boats are purpose-built fishing launches for dedicated rod fishermen. A few of them are catamarans that are both stable and speedy - both characteristics being ideal for fishermen.

Yesterday evening after a Marks and Spencer beef burger meal we had an enjoyable walk along the sea front where we noticed some people who, by their appearance, most likely were immigrants, and there were a few unfortunate souls who would be spending the night under one of the strangely designed shelters that are a feature of the promenade. These shelters have roofs made from lead flashing and they are shaped like the helmets of ancient knights, but poking upwards and through them, each has a lance angled backwards, sloping away from the pointed peak. I suppose the idea of these architectural curiosities is to evoke a certain ‘atmosphere’ of grandiose intent, reminiscent of days of yore.

Because we have attended to all the little things that have to be done to a boat while cruising, such as changing the gas container, checking the engine and having that special clean inside and out, today is entirely free for anything we wish. Gordon seems to want to sleep his life away, which in fact will refresh him for the next leg of the cruise. This will be one of the longest, at 60 nautical miles. Most likely we shall be doing a part of it at night.

This afternoon our intention is to have a walk to the imposing Dover Castle, which is situated at the top of a prominent white cliff which overshadows the town.

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