Friday, 11 September 2015

Digby's First Boat Trip

Yesterday was one of the best Sunshine Days on the Solent and we were invited to take a Boat Ride to the Isle of Wight.

The day began as we boarded Colin and Mary's Nimbus 31 Ultima called Bobbles IV at the Gosport Marina.

 The view out of the stern across the marina.

All Aboard and ready to leave. This was our dog Digby's first ever outing on a boat so all was not happy to begin with as he surveyed the cabins and main deck. 

 Out Stern First and then we have to wait a while the Marina Tug parkes a large yacht into one of the berths.

Once into Portsmouth Harbour we have to take avoiding action as the Gosport / Portsmouth Ferry makes its crossing behind us 

Our Captain, Colin describes our route and destination as we pass the Lightship Cafe at the Haslar Marina on the Starboard Side. (did you like maritime terminology)  

 We spot two Abseiling Painters swingin up high as they paint the Emirates Gold onto the Legs of the Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays 

 Out into the Solent we are heading for the point in the distance which is just to the east of Cowes and the River Medina 

To the Stern, beyond our wash we can just see the headland hump of Fort Gilkicker at Stokes Bay 

Here we are passing across the stern of this Classic Ketch making its way towards Southampton 

This shot of Queen Victoria's Osborne House is only available from the sea. 

We were hitting some strong offshore Swell here so this is a little off centre as a result. 

 We had to open her up to get across the bows of this massive Hapag-Lloyd Container Ship Hamburg Express as her Sister ship rounds the Bramble Bank heading towards the Southampton Container Terminal

 Being Passed to port by another fast operator. We get a wave from the skipper.

 As we approach Cowes we take more avoiding action as this crew seem preoccupied in raising the sail.

As we swing into Cowes Harbour, The famous Royal Yacht Squadron is on our starboard. 
Their line of Brass Canon can be seen glinting in the sunlight to the right of the Mast 

The new Shingle Bank, which lies across the mouth of the harbour, is unstable so this seemingly frantic operation is to cover the shingle with a surface of giant pieces of rock. 

The Barge Crane 'throws' them into the water as near as it can, The diggers in the island then scoop them up and spread them using the lorry. Quite an operation which has been going on all through the summer.  

More avoiding action needed as the Red Funnel Car Ferry, plying between east Cowes and Southampton, is just leaving her berth.

 As we head up the River Medina, I just spot the tail of this old crane through the Hatch. I promise myself to get a better shot an the way back.

Across the fields behind the Power Lines we pass the interesting 6 Spired Church of St Mildred at Whippingham where it is said that Queen Victoria was married. She certainly visited it a lot.,_Whippingham

We are nearing our destination as we pass the popular Folly Inn Pub where access from the river requires a mooring fee and a short ferry ride.

Here we are - Island Harbour - a newish Marina development with apartments being built around the edges. This is the very Space Age Marina Control Tower.

Here we were to tie up and go for lunch at their restaurant, but first we must find the local washrooms.

Colin and Ann climbing the ramp from the jetty.  Our boat is moored at the far end of the pier.

The well used Island Harbour Marina is set within a set of Locks to keep the water level as the river is tidal and the level drops considerably at low tide

 Looking down river across the Lock Entrance towards Cowes. Does'nt the Union Flag look magnificent in the light breeze.

Crossing the Boat Park I notice this sad sight of a rusting hulk of a ship. Then Colin tells us all the sad story.  

 This is all that is left of one of the last Paddle Steamers that used to ply passengers between Portsmouth Harbour and the Pier Head at Ryde up until 1969. Take a look at this interesting video of her is use.

She was originally moored here when still in pristine condition to be used as a Night Club and Restaurant.  The local council have given Island Harbour another few years to decide what to do with her.

This was how she looked in her commercial days.

 After lunch we too a walk along the river using the excellent new cycleway that runs from the Marina to the Capital of the Isle of Wight, Newport which is just a few miles away up river.

 Looking back at that sad sight 

 Back on board at low tide we cautiously head back down towards Cowes passing some beautiful vessels on the way. This one happens to be advertised for sale at the Marina for £95k.

Here we are passing the famous Great Britain II that was used by Chay Blyth for his Round the World trip.

Nearing Cowes once again and the Aggregate Terminal, where this ship docked as we were arriving.

Here is the promised full view of the Old Giant Crane undergoing renovation at the once famous Cowes Shipyard of  J. Samuel White and Co.

We have to pause a while as the East to West Cowes Chain Ferry crosses our path. Just here we have also to watch for the Red Funnel Car Ferry and the Red Funnel Fast Ferries leaving the Medina River Estuary.

 Up ahead we hear the sound of Music of the Irish Fiddle Band variety and can see a crowd gathered on the Pontoon.

 It is a very busy Marina as most of the West Cowes ones are.

 I spot the band in the distance (Thus this misty into the sun photo) located right on the end of the Pontoon. They were really giving is some welly.
A fine array of coloured flags adorn the waterfront

This, once the home of Sailor Sir Max Aitken is now a Waterfront Museum

 Almost clear of Cowes now we are heading out into the main channel to turn eastwards for Gosport.

 We are not long out in the Solent again when we are passed by this flotilla of fast Military Ribs, each one crowded with, we think, Royal Marines, heading back to a base somewhere along the Dorset Coast?

We find ourselves in a very choppy sea where the Wind and Tide are against us. Bucking and Diving and the Spray is over the boat. This was the best I could get due to the shutter delay. 

Rounding Fort Gilkicker as we turn towards Portsmouth Harbour. 

 The Old Disused Prison once used to house Illegal Immigrants. 

 The Harbour is approached though a wet windscreen.

 The Brittany Ferry takes precedence as we turn into the Harbour Mouth 

 On the Port Side is the Naval Base of HMS Dolphin where my father was based during WW2. The tower contains a vertical tank used to train Submariners on how to escape from a crippled Submarine
Suddenly a Wightlink Car Ferry pops out of the corner on our side of the harbour having taken avoiding action of the Brittany Ferry.

We round the Marker Post into the Harbour.

There is that Light Ship once more 

Nearly there as we maneuver between that Oil Terminal Jetty and the Marina ahead 

The Marina Banner is now clear to see.

We reach our mooring, tie up and depart for home 

One last look back as we leave the pontoon and make for our car.

Back home in Hill Head we are just in time to see another Beautiful Sunset.

So, Where is Digby you may ask? 

He does not like being photographed but he was there with us all day

Taken when he was not aware, Enjoying one of his Beach Walks

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