We left Ramsgate. Prepared to reach Isle of Scilly. We talked each other up: “We can do another night shift! The weather looks OK. What is the chance we would get another one like Belgium…No way! We can do this!!!! The weather rapport lied again… After two hours, we sailed past Dover. Ferry’s coming fast. Very fast! However, the tide was with us. We had some speed. We were able to navigate our way past Dover harbor.
White cliffs of Dover.
The wind started picking up. Gales…what else is new…. In what direction you ask? I won’t even dignify that question with an answer……OK…Since you ask so nicely…..SMACK RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR FACE…..I’m screaming inside!!! So tired and angry at the wind. Will we ever be able to get to Portugal, so I can get my kid back? After two more hours, the tide turned. We headed for a bay. Not very sheltered, but maybe we could anchor, to wait out the tide? With the wind, waves and tide against us, we figured that was our best option.
Anchor down. Would it hold? The bow was more under water than over. 80 meters of chain was out. It should hold. And it did! After a little while, we got a call over the radio. A French sailboat, who wondered about the shelter where we had anchored. My answer: A little choppy, and many lobster pots. He tried anchoring, not far from us. His anchor would not hold. He called over the radio again: “This weather is too much. I am heading back to Dover. Good luck, crazy Norwegians.” We still felt safe about our anchor. It still stud its ground. The holding was good. What didn’t hold was the chain hook. The hook that unloads the pressure from the anchor winch. 9 mm of steel snapped. The rope and chain rushed out into the water. I got the engine started. Put the “pedal to the metal”. Rudi crawled along deck in the waves, to get the anchor out. I was scared about Rudi’s safety on deck. Finally, we got the anchor up. Rudi crawled back into the cockpit. Back to safety. We looked at each other. Dover? Do we really want to go there? It is not supposed to be very nice. It is expensive. It is sheltered, and we can get some rest. Let’s go!
On our way back to Dover, we sailed past the French boat. They looked scared. When we got just outside the brake water, the tide, wind and waves was so powerful. We had to aim the bow west, to get thru the entrance that pointed north. It was crazy. I have so much respect, fear and anger for the tide. As I am writing this, safely in Portugal, I still feel strongly, I am never doing the English Channel again.
We were a little stressed. Would we ever be able to get thru this stretch of ocean? I missed my Troy so much already, and the English Channel, Bay Of Biscay and the Portuguese coastline was still to come. If the weather kept kicking our ass, we would never get there…..And Rudi had to leave me, to go home for Grandmothers’ funeral. Life really sucked!
This is my last pessimistic post for a while. It gets better. So much better :)!Stay tuned!