We're back in England. This may surprise you, because it's not quite on the way. Let me just say it made sense to head further west on this side of the channel for, uh, nautical reasons. Also we were just getting too fat from all the delicious french food and had to bail out back to the land of salted butter, tasteless sliced bread, pale tomatoes and red people.
After scrubbing our bottom, we've had a lovely sail back across the English channel, apart from reefing a bit late in increasing winds, which caused some minor excitement. We made good speed to Portland, a massive harbour built in the glory days of the Royal Navy. We ignored the south entrance, where said Navy had been fly-tipping battleships long before recycling was invented and followed another boat into the East entrance. After fruitlessly looking for a suitable anchorage (some lucky bastard had claimed the only sheltered spot that wasn't plastered with mooring balls), we headed into Portland Marina, which was built to host the watery bits of the 2012 Olympics. Great facilities!
We explored the island a bit and found a lot of grey stone buildings, an abandoned unfinished apartment block that would make an amazing setting for a post-apocalyptic movie and a man selling used fishing gear from his living room, complete with wife trying to watch telly while he's explaining the size of reel and line we should be using. We scored a bargain for a fishing reel from him and found a matching rubber squid fish-attractor thingie (you can tell I'm already picking up the fishing lingo) in a tackle shop in Weymouth too. Weymouth had the most amazing cycle trail! It was a former railroad that had been converted, complete with raised terrace, underpasses and on-ramps. Finally a cycle-friendly town, after the sad Eastbourne.
Crossing Lyme Bay in way too little wind was unspectacular, apart from a fantastic performance from a pod of dolphins, which accompanied us for some time. This caused some obvious squeals of delight. We wanted to go to Dartmouth, or rather a place upriver called Noss-on-Dart, because we'd get free berthing at the marina there. Unfortunately the marina is tiny and was crammed full, so upon hearing this we diverted to Torquay instead, a seaside resort. Rather than going straight into the marina, we anchored for the first night just around the corner, in a scenic place called Hope Cove, which we had all unto ourselves once the local fishermen had gone home. The next day we continued the few miles into Torquay. Instead of free berthing we found the most expensive marina yet at £45.14 a night. Ouch. We consoled ourselves with cream tea and cornish pasties.