After a six month countdown, leaving day was here. There was a slightly mad rush Saturday of random last minute things to do but finally I left my flat ready for its new tenants, loaded my mountain bike, fresh food and a few other last bits onto the boat and by about 3pm Fiesta, now fully loaded and sitting a bit lower in the water, became home.
I was joined on my first leg by my very good friend Adrian. My family came down at 3.30am to see me off which was lovely of them and after a farewell at the dockside we left at 4am. There wasn’t really any wind so we had to motor. When there was wind it was in the right direction so the jib did get rolled out a few times. The tide helped us for most of the way, we made good time and had Ramsgate on our right before we knew it. All plain sailing in bright sunshine after a lovely sunrise until we were about three miles from Dover’s entrance and a sea fog moved in really quickly. There were a lot of ships to be seen one minute and all gone in the fog the next. Cool, calm and collected? No! I was absolutely bricking it! I hadn’t considered fog for a second and yet here it was. There were only two things to do at this point….. Look to the Lord above and ask for guidance as to how to work the two grand chart plotter that I bought last year. It worked…..
There is a process to go through on approach to Dover and that involves regular contact with Dover port control and basically doing what you are told. Our instruction was pretty much ‘Can you see the harbour wall’? ‘Yes, we can just see it looming out of the fog about 100m away’ ‘Ok, come towards it and follow it along until you find a gap and thats the East entrance, come straight in’. Once inside we were given permission to clear the West entrance and we were in. Quite strange following along a massive concrete wall, hearing ships and fog horns all around but not being able to see a thing. So, good trip and Fiesta was soon tied up and sorted.
Dover Marina is good albeit not pretty but the harbour master was welcoming and got us sorted. When I was filling in the form I had to add my address. Hang on, I haven’t got one so I told the man that I was on a trip and he said to write ‘Care of boat’. So, thats my new address then. I like it.
Today Adrian’s wife Jo came down with their boys for lunch and to pick up Adrian and now the crew is down to Max and I! If this fog lifts, it might be Eastbourne bound tomorrow…..
First light, sunrise and then the fog……..