It turns out that the sea dawg needs a face-lift. She's been having problems with infections in her right eye for ages and it seems to be steadily worsening. The vet doesn't have much to offer other than eye drops which only work for a few days, so he referred us to an animal opthamologist. By coincidence, the nearest one is in Emsworth. That's 'andy.
So we headed off down to Chichester on Thursday evening for a change. Missy sensibly booked the appointment for Friday afternoon, so we made use of the (disappointingly flakey) marina wifi and worked off the back of the boat on Friday. I'm not sure how much productive work I got done, with VPN problems taking much of the day, but it certainly beat sitting staring at a car park in Bracknell.
Anyway, the opthamologist confirmed that her lower eyelids are too long and she'll need surgery to shorten them. We were amused to find that the procedure involves taking a small amount of skin from the side of her face and pulling it tight, so she's going to be facelifted. I'm sure she'll look lovely. Sadly, he said that, no, he can't give her botox to get rid of the wrinkles while he's at it.
We had a lovely weekend, making the short trip down to Bembridge. *Again* we were out early, being one of the first boats out as free-flow started. We motored down to East Head and got the sails up as we passed North Winner buoy. The wind was a bit variable to start with but as we rounded the new West Pole marker, we had a nice angle for a close reach pointing pretty much at St Catherine's Head. Not quite a straight line to Bembridge, but we only needed a couple of tacks to get us heading to the harbour entrance.
I thought we'd be early enough to get a decent berth on the Duver pontoon, but everybody on the South Coast seemed to have had the same idea as us and it was already rafted four or five deep on the outside of the pontoon. We were slightly surprised that we were directed onto the inside. I always thought it was a bit shallow there.
I was wrong - it's a lot shallow! Here's the picture at low tide on Sunday morning. We were sitting in about 18" of water with the keel and rudder sunk into the soft mud.
To be fair, nobody was going to be going anywhere for another three hours or so, because the harbour entrance is roughly the same depth.
So, nothing for it but to go and get a newspaper, get the kettle on and sit and drink coffee before heading off for a walk on the beach. Can't beat it for a relaxing Sunday.
Once we had enough water we headed off back to Chichester. The wind was perfect, a pleasant South-Easterly that gave us a beam reach all the way back to Chichester. It swung round a little towards the end, but we were able to sail serenely back as far as Itchenor (it was on the nose by then, and I didn't fancy tacking up the channel) before firing up the engine and cruising home.