We had hoped that the fierce South Westerly winds would die down overnight. This was not to be…. dawn brought 20-25 knot screaming banshees. We got up at 6am to get ready and prep the boat for departure. The plan was to move Poli Poli to the fuel berth first, fill up and then depart 3 hours after High Water… the absolute limit for getting out of the Coquet River. This we did although the strong winds and ebb tide made things difficult, we finally departed Amble at 8.45am
Our exit route took us out of the harbour…. effectively the estuary of the Coquet River south eastwards into the Coquet Channel and then seawards south down the north east coast of Northumberland. We avoided the Pan Bush rocks, Polder Ware Spit and the rocks fringing Coquet Island itself. A shallow choppy sea and a seriously brisk sou westerly wind met us head on. Trying to maintain depth and avoid the many lobster pots, we made haste for deeper water. A hairy start, but once on course Poli Poli settled and we pushed on a parallel course which took us past Blyth, Tynemouth, Sunderland, Seaham, Hartlepool, Middlesborough and finally the coast of the North Yorkshire moors.
We acknowledged the great rivers of the north east… the Tyne, Wear and Tees…. all signposts on our journey southwards. We were even able to pick out Roker Park ( as it was once known ) in Sunderland with the aid of our binoculars.
if you look closely at the photo below…this is Sunderland from four miles off. To the left of the tower block flats is Roker Park or the Stadium of Light as it is now known. For Peter at No. 9 “Away the lads…”
Sunshine virtually all the way…. at first making it extremely difficult to locate the lobster pots in the glare, then towards the afternoon and evening, quite pleasant. The winds screamed and howled for the most part, reaching 37 knots at one point… but abated as we completed the final few hours of our journey. And our concern that the winds would back from SW to west, then to north west and finally north… did actually happen as per the forecasts. We had a worry that entry into Whitby would not be possible with a northerly wind blowing. Had it been a gale force 8 northerly then this would have been the case.
By early afternoon, our head tide ( ever since departure ) faded and the tide turned finally in our favour… so we enjoyed final speeds of up to 9 knots. We had been warned by the Whitby Harbour Master that in a flood tide there would be a west to east strong “tidal set” across the harbour entrance. He was right…. in our approach we tried to stick closely to the recommended track known as the leading line…. no lobster pots this time… but you could feel the cross tide trying to push you off course…. so we aimed Poli Poli to counter the tide. We entered Whitby harbour almost surfing between the huge stone walls… and then in the shelter, the boat slows and peace and quiet all around. Whitby Harbour on the River Esk on the evening of our arrival. .
We arrived in Whitby at about 5.30pm but then had to moor up on the waiting pontoon for the swing bridge to open for us. A very pleasant, helpful welcome from the harbour staff at Whitby…. once again a feeling that they were there to help make our stay in their town as comfortable as possible. Well done and thank you Whitby.
Total mileage for the day : 65.00 n.miles.
Distance from Eastbourne: 2,284.9 n. miles.