11 nautical miles – about 20 km
We set off soon in the morning. A very good westerly wind is blowing, and we are able to set the mainsail with a double reef. Earlier, our friends from the Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club have been very helpful once again, giving us a lift to Clodia aboard their life raft.
We have to cope with a painful separation: Our hearts are broken when we decide to leave behind our stove. Clodia is overloaded already and we have to make sure it’s reliable and light enough for Channel crossing.
It’s a goodbye, not a farewell, though: Sooner or later a friend will bring the stove back to us. See you soon, warm travel companion!
Sailing is fantastic: we have to cover 11 miles only, helped by a strong tailwind, and in about two and a half hours we reach the channel that separates the gorgeous Isle of Sheppey from Withstable.
Sticking to the spell that seems to have been cast over us lately, in the last two miles before destination the wind is our enemy: either it drops or it gets far too strong.
This time it just vanishes and we have to get the oars out and start rowing. In a few minutes we reach Withstable beach.
There’s low tide so we decide to leave Clodia over this beautiful carpet of sand, stones and oyster shells. Quite soon, We meet the people from the Withstable Yacht Club: They kindly invite us to get inside of their building.
It’s here that we get in touch with an extraordinary man: Johnny Green, brother in law of Roland Poltock, our master shipbuilder. What we don’t know yet is that he once was the manager of one of the gratest British bands: The Clash.
What a surprise! In the following video you can see his interview:
Johnny invites us in his marvellous house, where he lives with some of his children, full of maps, books and memories. Now his true passion is cycling, and he writes fantastic books about it.
We share some very pleasant days with Johnny, that offers us more than one dinner too. One day, very early in the morning, we visit an innovative Oyster farm, run by John Bayez.
He is trying to reintroduce to Withstable the native Oyster breed, that over the time have been fished off. His farm is fascinating and Massimo Di Nonno, our photographer, takes some nice shots.
John also gives us a bag of super-fresh Oysters, that we have for lunch with extreme satisfaction.
Our days pass by working on Clodia and meeting lots of nice people.
The coast guard, and officer Colin in particular, advises us about the extra equipment we would need for Channel crossing, such as stronger life vests, radar reflector and safety rocket.
Crossing the Channel is no joke, so we are trying to prepare the boat to set out safely, by using these days of forced waiting caused by bad weather. In the meantime we also take a rest, getting ready for the months to come.
We have a very small boat, so we need to look after every detail.
Whitstable is a beautiful city, lived by kind people. It has seen the world’s first railway line, in 1830, the “Canterbury and Whitstable Railway”. What a place to stop for a project about sustainable travelling!
Finally we wish to mention Richard Green, a friend that has helped us a lot. His company, the Whistable Oyster Fishery Company, is very committed about water protection. Richard also owns a delightful restaurant where the main course is, obviously, based on Oysters from his farm. Learn the story of Withstable Oysters straight from his mouth:
See you soon.