Wednesday: Today was a long and very sunny sail from Studland to Lyme Regis. We set off just after 9am and started off with a very gentle sail so added the engine to the sail power for half an hour. Despite it being a westerly wind, we had the tides with us all the way so with large tacks we did rather well, averaging 6.5 knots. We had the watermaker going while sailing which worked really well.
We had to stay well off the coast after St Alban’s Head as they were firing in the inner range. We heard on the radio how a military ship continuously tried to contact a particular vessel, and we could see on our AIS that there was this yacht sailing straight into the firing range and how he was intercepted by the military boat. We also heard how the lifeboat was searching for a diver who had been missing since yesterday – a sobering missive.
As we approached Portland we avoided the Shambles, though with this settled weather it wasn’t very ‘shambly’! We took the long way around Portland Bill and then headed straight to Lyme Regis and got there about 6pm. Dominic had spoken to the Harbourmaster about whether to catch a buoy or anchor. They told us they had just put down some new buoys, but as they wouldn’t have settled yet, it was safer for a heavy boat like ours to anchor. So we did, but due to our depth it had to be outside the harbour wall. The night was quite bumpy to be honest! But the anchor held, and that is what is important.
During the evening I had two lovely birthday phone calls from my children and lots of messages to read!
Thursday: Today is my birthday treat – a morning fossil hunting on Charmouth Beach! The Harbourmaster had advised us that it could be difficult to land the dinghy on the beach, so they collected us in the morning and took us there in their boat, so all we had to do was to hop off into the shallows and wade in. Rather a nice way to arrive! We had a look at the Charmouth Heritage Centre, which was very interesting. I had pre-booked tickets on their organised fossil hunting walk. We had an animated 25-minute talk on what to look for and what rocks to choose, and how you can take any fossils you found on the beach, but as it is a World Heritage Site, you are not allowed to hammer into the rock face. We then all headed out to the beach west of Charmouth. It was fantastic fun! I found 23 belemnites, two fossil sea shells on the same limestone piece, and the imprint and a partial ammonite.
The wardens and volunteers were all very friendly and extremely knowledgeable. A highly recommended walk! When walking back along the beach to Lyme Regis we found a few large stones with masses of ammonites, but these were too large to bring back, so a photo had to suffice. I am very excited to have been fossil hunting on Mary Anning’s beach!
When we got to Lyme Regis we happened upon a restaurant that had both vegan pizza and a sharer’s plate, and a pudding we could eat, so my birthday meal was plentiful and very tasty! We had a good long chat with another couple and their children sitting next to us, about everything from renewable energy, the NHS and holidays. A very pleasant family!
After a brief look around the shops we strolled around the town, watching the beach teeming with people enjoying the sun and water, and then went back to the harbour and the Harbourmaster dropped us back on the boat. Dominic swam for a bit, and we relaxed and planned tomorrow’s activities.