Isle of Wight by Hovercraft

I spent this weekend visiting my sister in Southsea (Portsmouth). Unusually we had a sunny weekend rather than the usual persistent rain that seems to follow us whenever visiting her. Making the most of the weather we decided to visit the Isle of Wight and of course, we had to travel by hovercraft!

Travelling on the Hovercraft is not as one might imagine. One expects a deafening roar of fans, a turbulent take off and a sensation akin to riding on the top of an air hockey table. In reality the engines start, the craft rises, swings to the side and slips on to the water, buoyed on its cushion of air. It is beautifully sublime in its utterly unremarkable nature.

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Once underway it is easy to understand why the craft is controlled by a Pilot and the journey called a flight; the sensation is very similar to cruising in a small commuter jet, if a little noisier.

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Unremarkable the takeoff and journey may be, but that does nothing to stop the feeling of stepping in to James Bond's shoes when arriving on the shore of the Isle of Wight in a roar of engines and a flurry of salt spray. 

Once on the island we took the bus up toward Wooton Common and the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. Trainspotter jokes aside it was great fun to be sat in the restored Victorian and Edwardian Carriages as the train pulled through Bluebell woods and open countryside at a rather genteel pace appropriate for a vehicle close to celebrating its 140th birthday.

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Heading back past the marina to grab a quick lunch at Ryde Castle the weather and atmosphere felt closer to a Mediterranean island than a rock off the coast of England.

As we returned to the hover terminal at end of the day with a soggy dog and tired family the weather was starting to turn and the sun beginning to set - the temperature definitely felt more like England again! Ten minutes after departing Ryde the craft touched down on Southsea beach in the same utterly unremarkable fashion as it left, but for kids (and the kid inside all of us) it's utterly unforgettable.

Useful links:

  • http://www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk/
  • http://www.hovertravel.co.uk
  • http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

 

NB: Once again I was blown away by the abilities of the Fuji X-Pro1. I really cannot recommend this camera enough. The only time it struggled was was taking shots of the hovercraft approaching shore at speed - other than that it was perfect! 

Drew Morgan