It’s been a funny sailing year. May and June have been about the worst I have known. Just nondescript days after days, or very strong winds. I’m not sure I went down more than once each month, if that. But July and August finally gave us some hot sunny weather, which is what I like. Some of the hottest for years. So this is just a bit of an amalgam of a few relaxed visits to Poole.
One highlight was having an old friend down for a day’s sailing. She is a far more experienced sailor than me, and also provides an excellent picnic lunch. We made it out to Old Harry Rocks, which looked wonderful. They are visibly crumbling away. I am sure the arches through are larger than when I last came out here. Old Harry will fall one day, which will be a sad occasion.
I have done a lot of loafing about in the sun. I anchored off the landward side of Studland peninsula for one evening and stayed there two nights. Rowing ashore and hiking over the heathland, which was looking at this best. I made it up to the Agglestone, which gives a wonderful view down over the harbour. Didn’t see a soul all morining.
Watching the sunset is wonderful, but it was almost better looking in the opposite direction. The sunlight was being reflected up onto the cliffs, and as I was watching it ripple, I suddenly noticed that there was a great antlered stag standing on the beach watching me. he ambled off eventually, followed by a younger one, keeping a respectful distance. A stand up paddle boarder landed on the sand about 50 yards from them, but never noticed them, despite my trying to point them out in silent sign language. He must have thought I was completely unhinged. (Very poor photo I’m afraid, I only had my phone).
On another day I sailed into the Wareham channel for the first time this year, and anchored in one of my favourite bays, where you can hear the night jars churring in the evening. I meant to stay for half an hour or so, but impressive misreading of the tides tables found me stuck on the mud for well over two hours. I managed to row out the anchor as a kedge, in perfect Riddle of the Sands fashion, but the tide dropped so fast I couldn’t row back to the boat, and had to punt it back over the mud with an oar. I only just made it, or I would have been stuck in the dinghy for those two hours, The mud was far too soft to walk on. As it was, it was sunny and beautiful, so I put a cushion on the cabin roof, got out a book and touched up my tan whilst the water disappeared and eventually came back again. It comes back with surprising speed, once it starts.
I’ve managed to get in a fair amount of swimming, which is always a good indicator of the quality of the summer. I don’t like cold water. Swimming in the sea is good, although it has been a bit rough on the Studland beach. My favourite spot is on the Little Sea, which is a large , brown fresh water lake in the middle of Studland peninsula. It is surrounded by trees, full of birdlife and there is never a soul there, even though it is just off the main path down to the crowded beaches.I can never understand the human herd instinct. It is my number one wild skinny dipping location.