3 Hours of gravel

Day 14 – West Bay to Portland – 3rd June – 23.6 nm

It was time to move on from West Bay. I wasn't looking forward to Portland Bill. It was a little tense last time, and I seem to recall that conditions were better then. But we had to get around and get on with things; the South Coast is longer than you think and to be honest it starts to drag a little – too many southerners I guess.

The timings in the morning meant a ridiculous o'clock start,  but we got up anyway. The swell was still rolling in from the previous day’s poor weather conditions. It was no-go around Portland in that. It looked like a late shift today. Hurry up and wait.

The trouble with playing the waiting game is that the days are still quite tiring, you sit around restlessly trying to catch up with admin or planning, but not really getting too much done. You don’t rest too well either, there’s always something going on around about. And then it's a late finish, to be followed inevitably by an early start.
 My Moron Magnet comes into play at times like this too. I can park myself in some remote unused corner, some tiny unwanted space, just looking for a little peace and quiet, but soon every man and his dog (whining dog, and sorry-mister football kids, and bass thumping stereo,  and...) will come to join me. From Land’s End to Cape Wrath the Moron Magnet held it’s charge, causing some frustration but also a few laughs, as we watched the herd instinct possess people, driving them to quite considerable lengths in order to not be too alone in those terrifying open spaces.

Maryse's Rule

We had learnt that if the wind is going to change then it often does around slack water. So regular was this phenomenon, that as the trip progressed we soon factored it into the daily planning.  But today was going to be complicated. The start time to get the best tide at Portland didn't match the timing for the wind dropping - the 3hr paddle along Chesil Beach complicated matters. It was one or the other. That said if I didn't take the weather option I wasn't going to paddle at all.

Chesil Beach was actually quite enjoyable, the sun was out which always drops the effective conditions a notch or two.  The wind had dropped but there was still enough chop to keep focussed without it being unpleasant.  Unfortunately the same couldn't be said about Portland.

I was keen, too keen, to get around and this affected my judgement. By the time I got to the end I had a super-glue paddle grip and eyes as wide as wheel trims – the diary puts it succinctly “...Glad that is over. Portland Bill was rather unpleasant – don’t ever want to do that again. Never again.”  Been around there twice now, let’s call it a day eh?

There was no tide left now, light was going to fade soon too, which all added up to an annoyingly inefficient landing in Portland Harbour. C’est la vie. Another one ticked off though. 

I was relieved to get Portland out of the way, I had made a mistake but got away with it.

A 'good enough to get out of trouble, but stupid enough to get into it in the first place' sort of day.