When I first moved to the Isle of Wight some four years ago now, I was aware of a few places around the coast where you could go walking and for bird watching. Since we’ve been here my wife Fiona and I have explored many more locations, some of which are only accessible at low tide. However, what I didn’t have much knowledge of was the sea – the Solent in particular. This sounds a little odd as it is very obvious, but to me it was just a mass of water with very little to actually see.
My growing awareness of the sea has been gradual but of increasing intensity – going sailing on the Solent in an open deck Dabber heightens awareness of the state of the tide and weather conditions, and puts them into sharper focus. Beach walking around the coast has brought me into contact with sand dunes, rocky shores, eroding cliffs, muddy creeks and estuaries – all different and exciting in their own way.
On my walking trips I have become aware of the coast and sea in more detail. I still focus on the birds, but I now notice the fishing boats, ferries and cargo ships, and on a micro scale the different types of plastic to be found on shore. In Freshwater where we live we have a fantastic local fish shop called JB Fisheries, which sells fresh local fish when available. It has even held a demonstration evening on how to prepare and cook fish, and what wines go best with the different recipes! These demonstrations were great, as I believe many people have got out of the habit of cooking fish other than the usual cod and salmon.