Have you ever felt the call of the sea?
As a child of the Mediterranean, my mood worsens the longer I’m away from the coast. It’s a funny feeling, almost like the sadness I and others get in the winter months when it’s been dark for days on end. My skin starts to itch and I feel drained from any positive energy.
So, many months ago, when the opportunity arose to join a weekend sailing course in Weymouth, I took it with both hands. Once the time to sail away (pun intended) arrived, I was brimming with excitement and anticipation.
When you hear the call of the sea, you feel as if an invisible rope is tugging at you from your insides. I noticed that my pace quickened the second I got off the train, and I didn’t stop rushing until I took the first deep breath by the ocean and the mist from the waves drenched me.
Weymouth didn’t disappoint. While I went there purely for personal enjoyment reasons, the history of the area enamoured me, and I firmly believe we need to give British seaside towns a little bit more love and affection.
Weymouth and the Isle of Portland
Tucked in a corner of the Jurassic Coast, Weymouth connects to the Isle of Portland via an isthmus of pebbles and marshland. Both towns have a rich recent history, as they were two strategic sites for the British during the Second World War.
The area was heavily bombed, and Portland hosted a large naval base for the British. It’s no wonder, then, that the Isle of Portland is dotted with the remnants of military operations and hosts a museum on D-Day. I visited Portland the same way I travel solo to most places – with little to no preparation – so I was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon former military bases while on an impromptu hike.
Nowadays, Portland is a hub for sailors from all over the world. In 2012 it hosted the sailing events for the Olympics, and now a bunch of schools and charities continue to promote the sport to pros, amateurs and children.
I spent most of my time in Portland as that’s where my accommodation and sailing course were based. Tiny, and with no much to do aside from walking and running away from the overpowering wind and rain, it served its purpose. I felt relaxed and comfortable and inspired by everything around me.
Weymouth is another kettle of fish. The town lives up to any expectations you may have about the British seaside. The architecture is delightfully art-deco and there’s a mixture of happiness and decadence in the air. The high street is full of familiar shops and restaurants, although it’s balanced with a growing number of independent businesses, bars and coffee shops.
The beachfront is simply beautiful. It’s protected from the Atlantic currents by the road joining the Isle of Portland to the mainland, so the waves are not too strong and somehow we felt more sheltered from the wind.
Another home in the UK? Definitely.
Any place where water sports (such as sailing, surfing of all kinds, diving, etc.) have a stronghold in the life and economy of the locals often results in friendly and open communities. And that’s what will make or break your holiday, weekend escape or retreat.
Visiting Weymouth and Portland brought my stamina back to life. Not only did I prove that I can still sail – and do so confidently – but also that there’s so much more than dreaming of the next plane out of home. I was reminded of the benefits of taking life as it comes, letting go of my expectations and being open to being surprised.
After all, the sea was calling out to me. And I listened.