Ok, so this 'microadventure' only took me to the beach, and it was only a 35 minute drive, but it was an escape from Eastleigh nonetheless. After a stressful day, I needed some sea air and I felt like heading somewhere other than Lepe for a change.
Stokes Bay is a long beach just outside of Gosport. In one direction you can see the top of the Spinnaker Tower over the houses, and in the other direction you can see Ryde on the Isle of Wight and also the Fawley Refinery.
I'd visited Stokes Bay once as a cadet, back in 2005 when we took part in the International Fleet Review. The band were placed at Browndown Camp to train and live for the time we were in Portsmouth, but I couldn't really remember it that well. Stokes Bay is quite often used for larger ships to anchor as it's deeper and much more open than Portsmouth.
It's also quite a historic stretch of beach with a large fort at one end, originally to protect Spithead and the western approaches to Portsmouth Harbour. Much the same as Lepe, many landing craft deployed from Stokes Bay as part of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy. The D-Day Loading Control Centre is still here, though now part of the Sailing Club.
As ever, I took about 1,000,000 photos as we were treated to another gorgeous Hampshire sunset.
And so, with no further ado... and interspersed with one of my favourite poems by Pablo Neruda...
When I see the sea once more
Will the sea have seen or not seen me?
Why do the waves ask me
The same questions I ask them?
And why do they strike the rock
With so much wasted passion?
Don’t they get tired of repeating
Their declaration to the sand?