Friday, June 10, 2005

Friday, 10th June

My radio is working again, but I can only pick up local broadcasts on FM; therefore I listened to the early morning Coastguard weather forecast on VHF channel 23, which predicted north or north easterly winds of between 3 and 4, occasionally 5, and that’s what happened.

When there is any northing in the wind, the little bay of Porth Cressa is in the lee of Hugh Town; so I sailed the boat around the peninsula of land known as Garrison Hill and anchored at Porth Cressa in 27 feet when it was high water this morning. Because it’s a spring tide there’s a 17 foot rise and fall of water which gives a depth 10 feet at low water.

On my arrival at Porth Cressa I found three other yachts anchored there - two English and one French.

The state of the clothing I had been wearing since leaving Brixham was not clean to say the least, so I took it to the local laundry and they did a good job. Now my smalls, shirts and trousers have a wholesome smell once again.

While the laundry was being done, I found a chandler’s shop where I bought two super wooden oars and a pair of galvanised rowlocks to replace my old ones. Now I have to dispose of the old broken oar and its partner which are of no further use. While ashore I also took the opportunity to buy an Isle of Scilly guidebook which will help me to learn more about these wonderful islands. In addition to the guidebook I bought a postcard for the staff at Rice and Coles, to let them know I had arrived at the Scillies.

After lunch I rowed ashore with comparative ease against the wind using my new oars. The objective was to have a shower at the public facilities on the quay at Hugh Town Harbour. The shower was excellent, and after having a shave I felt like a new man.

You’ll have to imagine how satisfying it is to be snugly anchored in Porth Cressa; to the south west I can see the bright green islands of Gugh and St Agnes. At low water they are joined by a white sandy isthmus and around them there are outcrops of granite. To the south west there is the steep-sided headland of Peninnis with its lighthouse, and to the south is the Atlantic Ocean, a purplish blue, above which there is a cloudless light cobalt sky. As the boat pirouettes on her anchor line while being blown this way and that by the wind, bright evening sunlight dances through the cabin windows as it sharply contrasts with adjacent shadows.

By now, I’m used to the movement as ‘Bumper’ responds to wave and wind. Moving about the boat has become automatic, so that balancing requires no thought and little effort.

A French yacht recently anchored ahead of my boat and she is a little too close for my liking, but the crew seem not to care; instead they are successfully pulling in mackerel for a fresh feast, which no doubt I shall smell as the wind wafts it to me.

When I’ve listened to the1840 Coastguard weather forecast I’m planning to walk around Garrison Hill, which is a fortified bastion containing the Star Castle Hotel - one of five hotels on St Mary’s. From the western side of the Garrison I should see a spectacular sunset; silhouetted against it there will be many rocky islets resembling sea creatures swimming in the ocean.

I hope the wind dies down tonight so that I’ll be able to have a peaceful sleep.

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