Yes, you read it correctly – I am finally experiencing Lulworth Cove! This is a place that I have heard mentioned by Dominic countless times during the last few decades, and that he visited with Principia when sailing around Britain and enthused about. And we’ve never visited before. But now we’re here!
Monday: We travelled back to Portland Marina yesterday, a surprisingly tiring train, and tube, another tube and train journey. When in Weymouth we walked to the huge Asda store, did our shopping and took a taxi to the marina. I had laundry to do, as I couldn’t do it with the storm going on before we left. Laundry at home is no big deal, just stick a machine on in the morning. In the marinas it means lugging it all up to the marina complex, more often than not all machines are busy, you come back again later, put a machine on, come back later to put the next load on and put things in the dryer, then come back again….. and again…. And my other moan is the cost. In Portland they are £2 each for a wash or dry, and they’re good sized machines. In Brighton it was £6 for a wash. £6! This is why I do it by hand as much as possible and dry it on the guard rails around the boat. So much easier. Both on the pocket, my nerves, and the environment! Back on the boat, Dominic successfully replaced the broken sail car, we had our dinner and planned the week. We’d not seen Portland in a sunny and calm state before, so rather enjoyed sitting outside with our light stick on, just relaxing.
Tuesday: Dominic rang Andy at Inspiration Marine in the morning. The replacement holding tank will arrive on Wednesday, the replacement tap has arrived, and the davit winch nuts are also available. So, we will go back to Hamble and get these last things fitted. It is our choice to go back rather than them sending someone to Portland. Dominic wants to be there for the fittings and if they have problems they then have the resources to sort it on the spot. We were due to meet some friends in Devon on Friday, but they will come to Portsmouth instead.
So off we sailed; goodbye Portland Marina. We left just as hundreds of dinghies were setting off out for a race. Very little wind, and we wafted regally past the Osmington White Horse, carved into the rock face in 1808 to honour King George III, a regular visitor to Weymouth. We continued close to the coast and could see the chalk cliffs, admiring their sloping striations. So good to have binoculars! We passed the world renowned Durdle Door, a natural limestone arch. The name Durdle is derived from the Old English ‘thirl’ to bore or drill. Now I can see why, but to me the ‘door’ is the neck of the sea dragon? I’ve googled this but can’t see any mention of it. Surely I can’t be the only person seeing it?
After the excitement of Durdle Door we were nearing Lulworth Cove. We could see plenty of boats going in and out, but we were in luck and got a good anchoring spot. This is not ever going to be a smooth place to anchor, but that’s ok. What a beautiful and absolutely amazing place! After lunch and a bit of work, we took the RIB down and pootled about for an hour. This is a most perfectly shaped cove with the strangest geology. Several of the rock faces are seemingly ‘wrong’; the different types of stone that should be in horizontal layers is almost vertical in places.
‘Around 25 million years ago the African tectonic plate collided with the European plate. The huge pressures generated heaved and folded rocks to create the mountain chain we know as the Alps. Ripples from that collision spread north through the Earth’s crust and gently folded the rocks here, in what would become south Dorset and Purbeck. Lulworth Cove and its neighbour Durdle Door lie in the heart of one of these folds, where the rock layers have been tilted steeply. As the sea broke through the hard limestone it washed away the softer rocks behind creating the arch, the cove and the beautiful coastline where Lulworth Cove is found.’
The cove was very busy all day with swimmers, fossil hunters, snorklers, walkers, paddle boarders. There’s only a very few of us here now, anchored and swaying gently on the waves. Nearly 9pm and a huge catamaran has joined us here in the cove. It’s emblazoned with sponsors’ names and a huge sign ‘The Long Swim’. Apparently this bloke is swimming the length of the English Channel, and this seems to be his support boat. He swims to draw attention to the impact of our actions on our oceans. What an amazing man! The Long Swim