Balmy Solent

The exeat weekend saw us drive around the Solent, reacquainting ourselves with various haunts from our Kianga days.  We left Gosport on the tide, heading westwards towards the setting sun on a very hot evening, and were surprised and relieved to get a place rafted up on Lymington Town Quay. This is one of my favourite places in the Solent – you are right up there amongst the hustle and bustle of the Town, and right opposite is a chandlers and a good pub – what more can one want?  We arrived at sunset and went for a stroll up the high street, before returning to what was a surprisingly quiet night.

The following morning the chandlers relieved us of some money.  We are at the stage of needing small things like cup and toothbrush holders, as Spellbinder now has pretty much what she needs. After picking up no 1 son from the train station (he wore a Saturday night party in Bath on his face), we headed over to Hurst Castle to anchor for lunch.  All very civilised, and Jonty blew up one of our inflatable kayaks and paddled around a bit, even taking a brief swim.  There is a transom shower attachment which even has a hot and cold water mixing arrangement – what luxury!  The water at this time of year remains cool though.  The two best swimming months in the Solent are September and October in my opinion – when the weather is fine, that is.

After lunch we took the tide all the way back east to Bembridge, wending our way in via the buoys at 30 minutes before high tide.  It being a Sunday night, things were quite quiet and we got an alongside berth.  During a stroll we came across the wonderful Baywatch on the Beach cafe – it looks fairly basic, but the seafood is excellent and we treated ourselves to whole sea bass, steaks and other delights.  It must be a great place for breakfast too, as it faces the rising sun. The service was great. In the morning we motored back to Gosport, placing Spellbinder on her buoy while Tom and I kayaked back down Portsmouth Harbour – quite an adventure, with all the ferries gadding about.  A few pictures tell some of the tale of a great fun, although windless weekend.  I managed to make the family smile while taking the photo by inviting them to say the word ‘flange’, which is a pretty horrid word!

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