Monday, July 20, 2009

Windy Weekend

Among other things this weekend we spent a blustery hour on the seafront being blown around in a refreshing kind of way. The very low tide exposes something that not everyone knows about... The Submarine Barrier.

I've loved the idea of this ever since it was pointed out to me a few years ago. At the eastern end of the Solent, stretching all the way out from Southsea beach there are huge concrete blocks at narrow intervals which are usually completely hidden from view but on a low tide like this one can be seen either poking their heads above the water or, as in this case, as the wind breaks waves over them. They are designed, as the name suggests, to stop submarines approaching the UK's biggest Naval base except through a gap in the middle of the Solent which can be heavily guarded if need be. There are two passages, one out to sea and one inshore passage, marked by posts, through which it is safe for shipping to pass but almost every year at least one novice, naive or uninformed sailor manages to take the bottom of their boat off on the concrete...

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