Dolphins, turbines and gas rigs

At a little over 150 miles from start to end, this has been the longest single journey that Helena and I have completed on our own in our new yacht.

We set off from Lowestoft (the tattoo and junk food capital of the east coast) at 11am on Tuesday morning and arrived in Whitby, North Yorkshire some 28hrs later, at 3:30pm on Wednesday.

Our route took us along the east coast of Norfolk before we headed out into the North Sea at around 6pm. Dinner was reheated bolognese sauce, that we had kept frozen, and pasta which we ate as we skirted past the north side of yet another new wind farm at sunset.

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The forecast that night was for the wind to pick up to a force 6 so we had the storm sail rigged and laid out on the side deck just in case it went any higher. As it turned out, the forecast was good and the sail stayed unused on the deck.

After nightfall we worked a 3 hour watch. I took the first, from 2100hrs to midnight, then Helena took over until 0300. Neither of us slept well at this point as the winds had increased and sea had become rougher. Maybe some seasoned sea-dogs can sleep while being levitated above their bunks, but its a skill that still eludes us.

At 0300hrs, after 15 hrs of making way only under sail, we reduced sail and started the engine in an attempt to help stabilise the boat. Of course it didn’t stop us from pitching around completely but it did work to the extent that Helena managed to get a few hours sleep while I spent my time dodging the ferrys and cargo ships as they made their way to and from Hull.

First light comes early this time of year and it was possible to see quite well at just 4am. As it started to get light, we passed through an area full of gas derricks, this was one of the larger ones:

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At 6am, when Helena joined me back in the cockpit, we had two extra visitors make an appearance, I just managed to get this photo of one of them playing with our bow wave:

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They were White-beaked dolphins which are apparently quite common in UK waters.  They must have been  around 3m in length and the stunning white markings on their sides flashed as they sped around under us and jumped out of the water.

As the day went on, the wind dropped and the warm sea air thickened, reducing visibility to just a couple of miles. We headed north past Scarborough and finally arrived outside Whitby at 1510hrs. The marina manager had very kindly had words with the lifting bridge operator and delayed the last lift of the day until we got there. Five minutes later and we’d have been out on a temporary pontoon, rather than tucked away in this beautiful traditional fishing harbour.

I the evening, we found a great fish and chip shop so took dinner back to the boat to eat in the cockpit. With a view like this, why would we eat anywhere else?

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Take a look at our Facebook page to see more photos taken on this trip.

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