Friday, May 16, 2008

May Bank holiday

Well, we didn't quite make it to the Folly Inn itself but we were very close - anchored in the River Medina just outside Island Harbour.

We spent the Friday night at anchor outside Netley Abbey, which was very rolly even for a cat. I think the problem was that the tide meant we were beam-on to all the wash from ferries and container ships - there was no way we would have been able to tolerate it on a monohull ! Our main issue was that we had been sailing nicely and decided to put the engine on to anchor. Within a few minutes, the engine overheat alarm was screaming at us again and we had to just sling the anchor out and switch off the engine as quickly as possible.

Our first thoughts were that yet another trip was due to be aborted but further investigation showed that the water strainer was empty. We refilled it with fresh water and the engine ran perfectly well, kicking out water immediately. No doubt I'll have to do more digging around to find out why the strainer is not retaining water but at least we have a temporary fix.

We had a brief trip ashore in the evening to walk Pippin, but went back on Saturday morning to have a walk in the grounds of the Abbey and to see if there were any better landing spots for the dinghy for any future visits.

Later, we headed out West past Hurst to Totland Bay where we anchored in about 3.5m of water which still meant we were about 300m from the beach. We went ashore for a walk with Pippin and found some of the coastal footpaths that go around and across the Isle of Wight and made plans for a longer walk on Sunday. We're still enjoying the novelty of having an oven, grill and gas hob on board so instead of eating out, we went back to Talia for dinner.

On Sunday we headed ashore just after high water and had an interesting time trying to get the dinghy to a suitable place to land without getting soaked by breaking waves hitting the seawall and the steps we wanted to climb up!

Luckily we timed it just right and got all three of us onto dry land with only feet getting wet. We climbed the cliff path and headed out to the Needles. It was a gorgeous day, very warm and sunny, so we had a delightful walk along the coast, taking pictures of Talia whenever we could glimpse her through the trees.

The Needles themselves were glorious and the history of the first radio transmissions were fascinating, though the new amusements / entertainment at Alum Bay got a big thumbs down. Very tacky :-( We considered heading down the cliff path to the beach but decided instead to carry on round the headland and see a bit of the south side of the island. We eventually ended up at Tennyson's Monument, then headed inland to cross back over to Totland Bay.

We had a brief stop off in a pub for a drink and a rest - the menu looked great so we'll probably go back there for a meal sometime - then made our way back to the beach and our waiting dinghy.

After a late lunch on board, we then caught the tide back through Hurst Narrows and sailed back towards Cowes. We had to put in some long tacks against a headwind and didn't get very close to the wind at all but were pleased with ourselves for making decent progress under sail, which was much more pleasant than motoring. After re-priming the water strainer, we got the engine going and motored up past the Folly Inn to anchor a short distance from Island Harbour marina. I took Pippin ashore for a quick scamper and we had an early night.

Monday was just a gentle pootle back across the Solent and up Southampton Water. It ended up being very sedate indeed as we were fighting rather a lot of tide and were making very slow progress. We had no problem with depth of water at our berth, but huge problems with the ebb being beam-on, pushing us strongly away from the pontoon! Lining up Talia wasn't too difficult but actually getting her in to her tight space proved pretty much impossible with such limited room to manouevre. We eventually made it in by throwing lines to other berth-holders who helped to pull us in sideways against the current, whilst we used the leg and engine to try and get some sideways thrust. In future, we will be coming in with the flood whenever possible!