"There can be few more delightful modes of spending a fine summers day than making a circuit of the Island by water, and in no other way will the tourist be able to grasp so clear an idea of its configuration and geological character. Three or four steamers make the trip from Ryde in the course of each week during the summer months, going by way of Cowes and Yarmouth, and returning via Ventnor and Shanklin. Starting from Ryde and steering westward, we pass Binstead with its curious old church, and soon reach the site of the once famous Quarr Abbey, of which but few traces now remain. We steam past the mouth of the Wootton River, with Fernhill Towers as a background, past Kings Quay until we come in sight of Osborne, her Majesty’s marine residence, situated on the brow of a gentle eminence facing the sea; a short distance further on is Norris Castle, and as we round Castle Point, Cowes Castle and the town break upon our view. Shooting across the mouth of the river Medina, Egypt House quickly comes into view, and is left behind as we sail past Gurnard Bay, Thorness Bay (celebrated for its fossil remains), Elmsworth, at the mouth of Newtown River (a capital trout stream), and Hampstead Hill, and so reach Yarmouth. Still keeping westward, North Hamlet is left behind as we reach Sconce Point and Cliff End, where stand boldly forth the ramparts of the Victoria and Albert forts, which, in conjunction with Hurst on the opposite point of the mainland, command the entrance to the Solent. Directing our course towards the south-west, we rapidly cross Colwell Bay and shoot round Warden Ledge, on across Alum Bay, past the famous Needles. The steamer turns her head to the eastward for the journey along the back of the Island. We immediately make Scratchell’s Bay, and pass on under the cliffs of Main Bench and the Nodes to Watcombe Bay, and so to Freshwater Bayy. Leaving Freshwater Bay we enter Compton Bay, the coast line now being bold and precipitous; in Compton Bay are situated Compton Chine and Compton Grange Chine, Brook Point Ledge Chine, and Blackwood Point. The piece of water known as Brixton Bay is now entered, and here we have successively Bull-faced Rock, Barnes’ Chine, Chilton Chine, Shepherd’s Chine, Cowleaze and Grange Chines, Ship’s Ledge, and Atherfield Point; then we glide across Chale Bay, containing the Whale Walpen, Blackgang and Ladder Chines, and then St. Catherine’s Point with its lighthouse comes in view. Then on eastward past Wreeth, Puckaster, Binnel, Woody, and Orchard Bays, with the lofty Cliffs known as the Steep Hill Lines breaking the sky-line ahead, across Mill and Horseshoe Bay. We leave Ventnor on the lee, and steam east-by-north past Luccombe Chine, Dunnose, and Shanklin, situated at the southern extremity of Sandown Bay. The coast line here is grand in the extreme; lofty cliffs tower above us, dipping down to the level sands of Sandown Bay, and, after passing Sandown, rising gradually into the rocky promontory of the Culvers. On we sail across Whitecliff Bay, cautiously rounding Bembridge Point, past Brading Haven to St Helens. Leaving Priory Bay behind us, Sea View and Nettlestone Point break upon our sight, and soon afterwards the little hamlet of Spring Vale, with its glorious background of wood, and St. Clare, at one time spoken of as a probable marine residence for the Prince of Wales. Appley Towers having been passed, we soon reach Ryde Pier, after an enjoyable trip of 63 miles. "

(A visitor's compliment}

The Minerva Isle of Wight Pictorial and Guide - circa 1900