Wanderlust: A strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.
Cruisers, like us, typically don’t stay too long in one place. In fact, we’ve met many cruisers that completed a circumnavigation in less than three years; less common are those that spend decades living aboard. We’re somewhere in the middle; now in our eleventh year living aboard.
Our suspension is only intensifying our wanderlust – we must temper that feeling for a little while longer.
Now that the economical winter berth rates have concluded (Oct-Mar), from April 1st we are faced with inflated summer berthing rates here on England’s south coast; certainly not an option for the budget cruiser. The challenge over the next few weeks is to discover inexpensive places to anchor and save our pennies.
Blue Heeler spent the first couple of weeks of April on the hard stand – a bottom scrub and coat of fresh antifoul paint, plus a survey to keep the insurers happy. A successful couple of weeks to finish off some less-important jobs and Blue Heeler is looking as smart and shiny as ever.
Unlike past seasons where we would have a plan and set off towards a destination, for the next couple of months, we’re in a state of limbo as we wait for our second vaccination jab. Sure, we could leave now, but after waiting over a year during the pandemic, what’s a few more weeks? While the vaccination is positive from a health perspective, there’s a small possibility that having a full vaccination may open doors to expediency at foreign ports. This is still uncertain though and may not be the case.
Nonetheless, while on England’s south coast, we’ve resumed our typical life at anchor, visiting places we’d not visited before, particularly avoiding expensive marinas in preference to peaceful anchorages.
On the Isle of Wight, the Newtown Anchorage is a popular place to grab a mooring or drop the anchor and watch the seals. This was our first stop after leaving the boatyard. It’s very shallow with little swing room for a boat with a 2m draft. While anchoring is free (donations appreciated), moorings fees are a hefty £26 per night. But it is a lovely quiet spot – sometimes you have to pay the man.
At the same time as our stay, the crew of Aussie boat Zen Again, who we first met in Indonesia in 2012, motored by to say hello. At the time of writing this they are already on their way for a speedy sail down the Atlantic coast on their way to Spain. Below is a snap of Zen Again leaving Newtown anchorage.
I’ve joined the Facebook group for Aussies & Kiwis in the Med, as I’m interested to learn more about everyone’s experiences as they do the ‘Schengen Shuffle’* and hear how they manage the COVID situation at each port over the next few months.
* Schengen rules dictates that Aussies, Kiwis, and now Brits (and others), can only stay 90 days out of every 180 days.
The Jurassic Coast of 95 miles begins in Exmouth, East Devon to Old Harry Rocks at Studland Bay, near Poole, Dorset. It’s England’s only natural World Heritage Site and attracts visitors by land and sea. Over time, erosion and movement have shaped the unique geology of this coastline. The sandstone and chalk cliffs make a stunning backdrop against the blue of the water and sky.
With an easterly wind, we sailed west 35nm to reach Lulworth Cove located on the Jurassic Coast. A light northerly wind was forecast for a couple of days so it was an ideal time to visit this tiny scenic anchorage as it’s unsuitable in southerly winds. After a couple of days exploring the coastal path and small village of Lulworth grabbing a hot sausage roll for lunch, we took advantage of a westerly wind and strong current and had a fast sail east back along the same route. With the state of calm weather, we pulled into the anchorage at Swanage harbour.
The town of Swanage is touristy and with COVID restrictions eased, there are adequate tourists to keep the shopkeepers optimistic – fish and chip shops, icecream shops and plenty of souvenir and trinket shops. There’s a coastal path overlooking Peveril Point and the old Pier, continuing along to Durlston Bay with views across the Channel. Anchoring at Swanage is free, and there are moorings available too. Shore access is via a water taxi, but he wasn’t operating when we were there. It’s difficult to land the dinghy anywhere so skipper dropped me off at the shore.
After a couple of days at Swanage we sailed north, passing the brilliant white chalky cliffs, Old Harry and his Wife, then into Poole Harbour – allegedly the second largest harbour in the world, but certainly not the deepest.
Although we’ve visited Poole by car a couple of years ago, we’d never entered by boat. Once inside the shallows of the harbour, staying well clear of the chain ferry, we turned south and navigated to the South Deep anchorage. This would be our home during calm weather while a high-pressure system moves over the UK. The area around Brownsea Island and south of the harbour is designated as a ‘quiet area’ with a 4kn speed limit. We dropped the hook in 4m on the edge of the channel and settled in to enjoy some quiet time at anchor.
The town quay is a 3nm and 40 minute dinghy ride away. Poole Haven Marina allows dinghies to tie-up for a day rate of £5 which is very convenient to shops and nearby Force-4 chandlery; Tesco is across the road or Aldi is a 1km walk away; the marina has two large washers and dryers and a load is £3.50 washed and dried. The central shopping strip has a variety of shops, Boones Hardware has interesting stock; plenty of op-shops in town to pick up a summer shirt or two or to peruse their collection of used books; fish and chip for lunch, plus the waterfront has a variety of pubs and cafes all open with customers enjoying the fine sunny weather.
During the summer period of April to September, a typical berth in this part of the world will set you back at least £45 per night (A$90), generally inclusive of harbour fees which are typically between £6 to £10 per night. For the budget cruiser, the cost to anchor in Poole Harbour for a week is an affordable £38.
The fine weather is a welcome change from the damp and coldness of winter. It’s still chilly in the mornings, but the days are filled with full sun
Skipper is delighted with the input from the new solar panels and with the sun still fairly low in the horizon, we are still pumping in around 2.5kW per day. This is a huge benefit and now we have gadgets and appliances operating during the day and still enough to fill the batteries.
With Europe’s COVID situation ever-changing, we keep abreast of entry requirements for France, Spain, Portugal and Morrocco in anticipation of leaving. One day.