As usual, my body clock told me to wake at 04.30. I could hear the patter of rain falling on the cabin roof. There was a soft humming from the rigging, not unlike the sound of bees busy in their hive. Water chuckled and burbled along the chines. 'Sandpiper' gently dipped and bobbed as she swung to and fro in arcs tethered to her anchor warp.
That was the beginning of a new day. I had planned to sail to Bembridge to the east side of the Isle of Wight, but as I don't like being underway in the rain, I was content to get on with breakfast and attend to personal hygiene.
Over the course of time cruising small sailboats I have perfected methods of dealing with repetitive tasks such as keeping oneself clean with the minimum use of water. I can shave my face and wash my body with no more than two small mugs of water.
Why should I impose this restriction on myself when I can put into a marina? Much depends on the location where I am, but what I enjoy most is sailing along the coast to estuaries.
Marinas are great for restocking the boat and for doing a big clean, washing and drying clothes, but wherever possible I prefer not to visit them.
Sailing or anchored in a beautiful creek with birds as my only company, is far the best. There I cannot replenish the boat with freshwater, and the more time I spend in such less frequented places, the more focussed I am on conserving water.
Sometimes I have spent five or six days without putting foot on terra firma and yet I could so easily have beached the boat and walked to a shop.
Enjoying my own company is part of a balanced life in which I gladly associate and share with others, especially my family and friends.
By late morning there was a cessation of rain and I got underway for sailing to Bembridge, a place I never visited before. A mile off the harbour, drizzle set in.
There was not much clearance over the bar, but we didn't touch. I picked up the first buoy adjacent to the drying out beach.
The time is 18.50, and I am settled for the night, unless I am asked to move off the mooring.