23 May.  We left Whitby at 8am, through the lifting bridge and out through the harbour, this time with plenty of water and watched by Jonathan’s sister on a webcam. She has been keeping an eye on us each day for safety purposes, aided enthusiastically by Sam (8) and Barney (5). 

It was a sunny day with wind a bit more westerly (and warmer) than we have had so far this trip and we were able to sail close-hauled and made good speed up the coast.  The high cliffs at Whitby and Staithes gave way to low-lying coastline covered in industrial buildings and a wind farm close to shore – Hartlepool and Sunderland. The wind farm industry has been evident all the way up the east coast and is clearly bringing work into these areas, as well as changing our coastal landscape.  As we approached Tynemouth, the coastline became greener, sandy beaches came into view at South Shields, and then the tall light tower at the entrance to the Tyne came into view.  

This river is not as busy as some we have been in recently, but we still had to ask permission from the port authority to enter the harbour in case a cruise ship might suddenly emerge. As we entered there was no traffic – other than a seal who popped up to welcome us – and we turned to motor 2 miles up river to the Royal Quays marina at North Shields. Greeted by an efficient and friendly welcome, we filled up with fuel before entering the lock and mooring in the sheltered converted dock.  We were tied up by 4pm and had time to wash the decks down, greet the neighbours and use the new hotel-class facilities at Royal Quay facilities before supper and planning our passage for tomorrow. 

Our overnight stop in the Tyne was far too brief of course. We had hoped for longer but are still catching up. One evening, however, was enough to sense the Geordie spirit: Chris on the night shift at the marina, a muscular 38-year-old with a broad smile, has lived all his life in North Shields. In the time it took to do our paperwork and pay for a bargain night in the spacious luxury marina he had given a verbal guided tour of the region. “We have beaches, countryside, history, the city (Newcastle) a few minutes away on the Metro, good schools, and one of the best hospitals in the world.” Until recently Chris worked on the rigs, and before that was a merchant seaman. “I’ve been all over the world but… it’s just not home… I come back here and I know it’s where I want to be.”

  • Distance: 53 NM
  • Wind: W/NW 4-5


On our passage ‘Around These Islands’ Anne is writing about each trip, and Jonathan is writing some more ‘technical’ blogs, from our perspective as ordinary cruising sailors. We are sharing what we’ve learned, and welcome your thoughts too. Please remember that this blog – and your comments – are public.

There’s also a special focus on 12 key ports on our planned route, with articles from These Islands and a series of podcasts from Chrome Media called ‘Around These Islands in 12 Ports’.


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