30 May 2012

Milk bottle day

Hey Marcus! Thinking of you again; I awoke with that warm fuzzy glow inside that you only get by sleeping near to another nuclear power plant - Dungeness Z this time. I don't know if D'ness has a suffix but I gave it one anyway; I couldn't tell if those buildings were multiple containment vessels or just turbine halls.
I love the word 'containment', it has a certain optimism about it don't you think?
Anyway, not a good night. The B+B lady didn't come back from bingo (perhaps she won the jackpot) so it was a late and uncertain tent pitch on rough ground, followed by a night of vomiting in the grass nearby - still I got to admire the unusual orange glow of the half moon between retches - got to find the positive in every situation.
Morning started better, though a tad on the early side with the sounding of the lighthouse fog horn followed by a chat to a dog walking trawlerman as I packed. The launch was down a steep gravel beach again, though it was pleasingly surf free.
Down to the point and a quick call to Lydd range control - 'yes, we are active to 1 1/2 miles out', so I set a waypoint to 2 just in case. Just as I was chatting to range control a wailing siren sounded at the power plant - now that does get your attention! It was then followed by a tannoy 'All Personnel are to...' (never a good thing) - I didn't get to hear it all but the gist was to stay indoors and watch out for the bits I think!
I paddled out towards my waypoint and soon lost sight of even the plant, vis was down to 1/2 mile at most.
Then there was a huge detonation from the range (at least I thought and hoped it was from the range) - that did make me jump, as did the two others that followed - you could feel them through the boat. No poncing around with small arms for these boys.
Not a lot else happened for a while after that, vis stayed poor so there was nothing to see, a steady but gentle headwind and that's about it.
Nearly got run over by a trawling trawler, still not sure if it was his or my fault and had a yacht sneak up on me in the gloom (how did they manage that?) I also saw a couple of Gannets, which surprised me.
There was a couple more wtf? detonations that still made me jump even though I was over 7 miles out now - that must have rattled a few windows down Dungeness way. 'Lydd Range brought to you in conjunction with Windows 'R' Us' for all your glass replacement needs!'
I was struggling now and still had seen nothing but grey for hours. Finally the mist suddenly lifted as I was off Bexhill, oh no it was time for my daily 1500 appointment with the wind gods. I headed inshore to try to get a little shelter and then scratched my way along the coast to Eastbourne.
I was impressed by the gravel beaches but not impressed by the shoreline apartments N of town. As I crawled in I watched a mischievous seal chasing fish at the end of the lines of a group of forlorn anglers, a mammal with a sense of humour! It made me smile. I landed in sunshine, a warm and very pleasant evening in Eastbourne.
A long slog today, but more miles in the bank.
Yesterday I noticed the line of the channel tunnel marked on my OS map as it headed out into the channel from Folkestone; a little quaint I thought. It's not as if it's a useful navigation marker surely? Or even a point of interest? (Hey, Dad what's that?) I couldn't think of any reason why I needed to know the route of the tunnel on my map, and yet, somehow it seemed right to see it marked there.
Thinking back to Margate I saw the new Turner (?) Gallery on the front as mentioned by Nigel H. I didn't realise what it was, I thought it looked a rather unusual spot for a new Tesco store. Tracey Emmin was interviewed on the radio a couple of days ago. As the interviewer tried to link Our Tracey to Margate with fond memories of the place, Tracey was happy to wax lyrical about the wide variety of opportunities that Margate presented for Al Fresco sexual encounters. I don't think it was quite what the interviewer (or Margate Tourism Board for that matter) had in mind. Anyway, I hope it is a raging success and brings plenty of arty types to Margate - if not, then I'm sure Tesco will take it off their hands.
Sent from my phone


Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Very impressive feat you are undertaking. I think you should do the next lap in a WWR C1.

Good luck for the rest of the journey.

Rob Pumph

Anonymous said...

Inspiring progress! I can't believe that you are on the south coast already. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help when you pass through Purbeck in Dorset - 07813462602

Mark R

Anonymous said...

Nuclear power plants and live bombing ranges in the same OS quadrant make for an exciting coastline, and also promote accuracy of both the tested weaponry and the personnel handling it.

Sounds like the trip is going well and well-er(except the associated phone bill)!