Leaving IJmuiden was a highly emotional affair. Opa, Omi, Linda and Jur came to wave us off. After a short coffee in the cockpit full of forced jollity and great attempts to appear normal they helped us fill up the tanks at the diesel dock and we headed out into a choppy sea. Four very special figures waved wildly from the shore and slowly blurred into the coastline which in turn also faded slowly out of recognition. The impact of our departure had been weighing on us all for a few weeks but this was a moment that hit Seb particularly hard.
Our first trip was suitably messy with short waves and little wind and four highly nauseous sailors. The marine traffic between IJmuiden and the coast of England is exceedingly busy so watches were stressful and we were tired from processing our tumultuous feelings. The wind preferred to direct us to Ramsgate rather than Dover and we tied up to the dock after 24 hours feeling worn-out and sad but beginning to feel the freshness and anticipation of new things.
Ramsgate is a resort town filled with fish and chips tents, ice cream parlours, a small beach and many awful gambling parlours with slot machines primarily designed for children. Fortunately, there is a nice walk along the white chalk cliifs (really cool, you can grab chunks of it to draw on the sidewalk).
Our attempt at parenting using negative experiential reinforcement unfortunately failed. We gave both children 1 pound to test the slide machines in the gambling dens sure that they would come out with a solid understanding that gambling is a losing pursuit. Unfortunately, Emma walked out having tripled her money and Macsen with a toy. Hmmm. This lesson will need to be revisited.
Our visit to England was very short and highly opportunistic, when there was a weather window we set sail and kept going as long as the wind allowed. This gave a short but nice stay in Dover (lovely and interesting castle) and a final stop to prepare and provision in Weymouth. Weymouth might have once been lovely but the waterfront is now comically overrun with carnival rides, fast food, cotton candy and other tacky attractions. We would love to have stayed and explored the more lovely towns of the English coastline but we wanted to cross the Bay of Biscay as quickly as possible so Weymouth was the last stop.