Week 19 - A run for the corner arriving in Dover

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6th September - 12th September

The distance from Newcastle upon Tyne to Dover is around 310nm or 580kms. Getting to Dover was a major goal for us as it would signal we were almost around the corner and clear of the English channel should the weather turn nasty. The major concern for this section of coastline was where we could stop and when we should go to make the most of the large tides - at times up to 3 knots could be against or preferably with you. 

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So we set off the first morning for a short run of 40 miles to the Seaside town of Whitby. Whitby has a notorious harbour entry and even though we had relatively moderate winds from the north the swell going in was quite something. I certainly would not want to attempt entry in the “wrong” conditions as you surf in between two solid breakwater walls into the sanctuary of the outer harbour. The first site we were greeted by whilst waiting for the swing bridge to open to the inner harbour was a replica Endeavour taking tourists out for a very quick motor just outside the harbour entrance. Whitby it turns out was the home of James Cook when he was apprenticed nearby and also the town in which the Endeavour was designed and built. High on the hill overlooking the township was a statue of Captain James Cook gifted to the townsfolk of Whitby in 1970 by Alexander Downer on behalf of the Australian people. Pleased we came by to appreciate where our taxpayer funds were spent. 

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Once a shipbuilding and whaling centre Whitby today has shifted its focus definitely to tourism as a popular seaside destination. Its success was confirmed by the number of tourists and the number of fish and chip shops. Apparently one of their claims to fame being they do the "Best Fish and Chips”  and having come so far we thought we’d best try - can’t say it was as good as fresh fish in Norway but it certainly didn’t disappoint. Whitby like many of the seaside towns had a monastery - theirs being founded in 657 before being sacked by the Vikings in 870 and later rebuilt in the 11th century as a Benedictine Abbey. The ruins on site today that we walked around apparently remain from the 13th century - and given their age and setting by the sea were standing strong and impressive. 

The old town area of Whitby was typically cobblestone with offset and leaning buildings. There was a real charm in the old town and a high percentage seemed to be jewellery stores selling jet a mineral that has been crafted into jewellery and ornaments for centuries in the town. 

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A steam train runs from Whitby during the summer season up to the North Moorlands. This would have been a great way to revisit the area we had driven through just days earlier in the car but our stay in Whitby could only be for one night as the tides were at their greatest and we had already sat on low tide literally in the mud. Another low tide and we would certainly have been leaning over. Not a site or a situation we wanted to experience.

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So on the Sunday afternoon we bounced our way over the swell and out of Whitby harbour and sailed south to an anchorage off the village of Filey. From Filey we continued south to an anchorage inside the Humber river behind Spurn Head. Here at night when the tide was running out at its fastest we were doing 3knots on anchor and the noise was most unsettling. Hilariously we slept well until midnight when the the tide was slack and at its quietest - we’d obviously gotten use to the noise quickly.

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An early start - 330am rising for anchor up at 4am we were underway again to Lowestoft. We can’t say that Lowestoft really impressed us - it had a real industrial feel to it despite the pretty promenade that stretched for miles along the shoreline with its brightly painted beach huts. One thing we did notice was there was a definite high number of mobility vehicles out and about only followed in numbers by the kids on scooters with L Plates.

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Our final run to Dover on Friday 12th was another 4am underway - though the early starts are a pain in some ways it is nice to know by mid morning you have already been underway for six hours. For us the early start was dictated once more by tide - we needed to get to Dover two hours either side of hide tide to ensure we could access Wellington Dock - a locked part of the marina where we were guaranteed safe depth. Our run went well and Andrews calculation of tides to the tee saw us arrive right on time.

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So here we were sailing into Port Dover past the white cliffs of Dover with Dover castle perched on top. Who would have every thought. 


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© SV Katherine 2017      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Faro Portugal with Askari of Australia