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white cliffs of dover from the sea

White Cliffs of Dover ~ from the Sea!

white cliffs of dover from the sea

Want to visit the White Cliffs of Dover?  By far the best way is from the sea!

Want to visit the White Cliffs of Dover?  By far the best way is from the sea!

After travelling from St Leonard’s Warrior Square Station to Dover, via Ashford International Station (the trip is about one and a half hours), then a short taxi ride to the seafront, I met the crew at Dover Sea Safari for my journey out into the English Channel and exploring the white cliffs.

Want to visit the White Cliffs of Dover?  By far the best way is from the sea!

What a fabulous adventure!

…and before I step you through my photos, check out this video I found on YouTube – we didn’t have waves quite as high, but it was definitely just as much fun!


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…and although the sky looks ok in most of these photos, there was a huge patch of grey/green/black clouds that looked menacing – I did, however, inform our captain that I had placed an order for no rain to fall until we were safely back from our trip – and………  Wish granted!

white cliffs of dover from the sea

In what looks like an over-sized inflatable dingy (but is in fact a phenomenally sturdy RHIB powerboat), under the direction of our boat captain and tour guide, James, we cast off into Dover Harbour… (oh, and the man on the dock is John – he’s with the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution))

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This is the old Customs Watch House – well, not quite as old as it looks. Built in 1909 and designed by Arthur Beresford Pite, this building was home to the navy during both WWI and WWII.  After the end of WWII when it was no longer necessary to heavily protect the English Channel, and as commercial shipping increased to a point the current harbour was unable to support it, leisure boating and ferry terminals became the residents in the harbour and as such, there was no further maritime use for Customs Watch House.  It is now apparently used as office space for an aggregates company.

white cliffs of dover from the sea

…then it’s out past the Dover Breakwater…


Constructed of concrete blocks from 26 to 42 tons each, the surface of the breakwater was faced above sea level with granite. Housing two cast iron lighthouses, the island breakwater is 4212 feet in length, running east to west between the southerly ends of the Eastern Arm and the Admiralty Pier, with the east end curveing to north.

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Built between 1898 and 1909, it was designed as the southern breakwater to a vast artificial harbour called Admiralty Harbour with its purpose to provide a refuge for the British Fleet.

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In the First World War, this was a haven for battleships and submarines protecting the Channel, and in the Second World War the breakwater played a key part in the Dunkirk evacuation as 200,000 men were returned from Dunkirk to Dover in eight days.

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…and now for the cliffs!


What makes the White Cliffs of Dover white?

They are made out of chalk – just like the type of stuff we used to use on blackboards (ok, now I am really showing my age).

The chalk layers built up gradually over millions of years and are formed from the skeletal remains of minute green algae.

…and if you look closely, you will see horizontal black lines – this is flint.


OK, so what’s with the caves?

Many of the caves in the cliffs were used for smugglers – but a large proportion were used during WWI and WWI.  In fact, until recently, people still used the zig-zag steps that were carved by the armed forces into the rock to get down to this beach – that is until a chunk of the cliff broke off (see on the right hand side of the photo, there is a gap in the path and a huge rock on the ground with a crack in it).

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Hemp and matches on the same ship?

Next to the zig-zag stairway, you will notice a straight line down the face of the cliff.  This was the result of ropes being used (before the stairway was built) to rescue people from the wreck of the SS Falcon whose cargo of hemp and matches caught fire.  Seriously! Some bright spark (pun intended) thought it was a good thing to put them both on the same boat.

At low tide, it is still possible to see the remains of the shipwreck.

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Here below you will see a much deeper groove carved into the cliff-face.


This was as a result of saving people and cargo from in 1910 from the Preussen shipwreck.  Built in 1902, she was at the time the world’s only ship with five masts carrying six square sails on each mast.

Here is a photo from Wikipedia showing her in full sail – wasn’t she magnificent!!!


Unfortunately after encountering bad weather, she collided with the steamer Brighton and although she wasn’t severly injured and the captain found safe anchorage, the weather worsened and she was driven ashore at Crab Bay.

Among her cargo of precious items, were reportedly twelve German grand pianos – with the running joke for sometime being that every house near Crab Bay now had a grand piano – I wonder where they came from?  🙂

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These houses once owned by Noel Coward, were sold to Ian Fleming with Fleming actually living in the house on the right for some time and writing many of his famous James Bond novels there.

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Here we find the beautiful Walmer Castle, one of the favourite residences of one of my favourite Royals, The Queen Mother.

Built during the reign of King Henry VIII, it is now home of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, with the flying flag indicating he was in residence that day.

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…and on our way home, that’s when we opened the throttle away we went blasting through the waves doing doughnuts, infinities… Sooooo cool!

I had a blast! Thank you all.

travel bucket list

Creating Your Travel Bucket List

travel bucket listDo you have a travel bucket list?

Creating your travel bucket list should be fun. It is what should inspire you to lead a more exciting and fulfilling life. But, sometimes, it can be difficult and overwhelming creating one. You have so much to see and experience in the world and only just little time to do it that you might be wondering what places of interest you should incorporate into your travel bucket list.

So, how do you begin creating your travel list?

The first thing you need to do is to get some basic tools ready. Whether it’s on physical paper or online (my favourite tool for this is Evernote), you need a place not only to write down your ideas when you get them, but also to add web clippings and other information as you come across things. Also, as you accomplish each item on your list, you will cross it off.

Accomplishing each of them can be incredibly satisfying – at least it certainly has been for me!  Here’s my bucket-list, complete with both items achieved and those still to achieve.

Now, grab your pen or open your program, and start brainstorming all the exciting and wonderful places you would like to visit in not too distant future.

Your bucket list should be very personal. You might include all the travel destinations you have always dreamed of. Think back to the periods you were younger and places you dreamed of visiting when you grew up. If you had wanted to travel to many parts of the world, why not list them down now?

As people age, they often tend to dismiss their childhood dreams as unattainable and unrealistic. However, these childhood dreams can be a great resource for your travel list ideas, and depending on your present lifestyle or taste, you can turn these dreams into achievable goals. You will discover that creating your list from your fantasies can be fun.

If you have heard about some fantastic cities like Paris, Sao Paulo, London, Dubai; and some countries such as Guatemala, Italy, South Africa and other beautiful travel destinations, you might include them on your list.

Also, think about your interests or hobbies. Which of those travel destinations can provide you with your hobbies or interest? Then, proceed to list them in your travel list.

When you look at my bucket list, you will also see activities such as swim with dolphins, go horse-riding in the snow, or be a volunteer at “il Club di Guilietta” (ref ‘Letters to Juliet’)…

As you progress through life, ensure that your travel bucket list notebook or app is always within your reach. As time goes on, your notebook/app will remind you of fantastic places you want to visit.

Sometimes we just need a little reminder of our dreams in order to take the first step toward them…

…and let me know what amazing items are on your list.  You may inspire me to add to mine!


What is a Staycation?

Staycations – What are they and why are they sometimes better than a vacation?

staycationA staycation is essentially a short period of time – even if it’s simply a weekend – where you either stay home, or you book into a hotel somewhere near where you live.

Many families prefer a staycation not only because it’s affordable, but it often promotes better rest and relaxation. A staycation, by the very nature of the fact that there is little or no travel involved, will give you more time to relax and restore energy.

While travelling to exotic locations can be amazing, it can also take a toll physically and financially.  Enjoyment is not measured based on the money you spent, but the moments and experiences you gained.

If expensive weekend getaways have no room in your budget, instead try staycation. If you’re looking for more staycations ideas, check out the list below:

1. Laser Tag or Paint-balling: You can invite some of your friends or families to join and battle with you. There are numerous laser tags and paintball facilities everywhere, you can use Google to locate the nearest one.

2. Visit National Park: This is acknowledged as the country’s greatest treasure. If you have National park in the area, make sure to visit the ranger station first to pick-up a Junior Ranger Kit and complete required activities to get a badge. A National Parks Passports is also available in the park’s gift shops; you can assemble numerous passport stamps every time you visit.

3. Local Theater: Check the theater website or local newspaper to see the latest musicals, family friendly shows, concerts and plays. This is a wonderful way to spend your night with children, family, friends or special someone.

4. Amusement Park: If Disney World is quite far and expensive, it does not mean that you cannot enjoy in a nearby themed park. Local amusement parks offer unique features that can make you thrilled, fun and excited. Since this activity is often a lot cheaper than other vacation ideas, you can also treat your loved ones in a fancy dinner.

5. Local Museum for Children: If you have children at home it’s best to find staycation ideas that they can appreciate and enjoy. This type of staycation will definitely fit your budget. Many of them offer a variety of interactive and fun activities that can keep you busy the entire day.

6. Visit Aquarium or Zoo: Children are not the only ones who adore animals. Even adults can spend time seeing and enjoying animals, too. Before you go, make sure to check if they offer special programs – some offer opportunities to feed, or Junior Zookeeper programs. You may have to pack some lunch since zoo fare is often quite pricey.

7. Local Library: I love, love love libraries!  The majority of libraries offer family friendly activities and events.

8. Minor or Major League Sport Event: Major leagues are really fun but these are quite pricey especially for a family of 4, 5 or more. Good thing, most cities have minor leagues that can provide you same experience but at an affordable price.

9. Spa-Cation:  Another of my all-time favourites!  Consider treating yourself to a day at the spa, then come home to blissful music, candles and your choice of beverage (mine is good red wine!)

Whatever form of staycation you choose, it’s always nice to know that not only are you saving money, and saving travel time, but you are also supporting your own local economy.

By Leigh St John, aka the Luxurious Nomad

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