Friday, June 03, 2005

Friday, 3rd June

0530, and the alarm tells me it’s time for the early morning forecast. Winds of 4 or 5 from the south west, with rain and fog patches are to be expected. Anchored at the mouth of Helford River I’d had a peaceful night. Bird song from the nearby woodland that plunges down the steep sided river bank to the sandy beach provided a welcome melody in keeping with the ethereal atmosphere created by the golden sunlight filtering through hazy cloud from the east.

After breakfast, a shave and bible study, it was time to be off while the going was good. Under engine we soon found ourselves in the open water of Falmouth Bay. Sailing downwind our speed was 3.5 knots. Anchored inshore there were two tankers together like Siamese twins; one feeding the other.

A red helicopter started her practise manoeuvres, hovering, then following yachts while only yards from the sea, causing a maelstrom of white water. There was something reassuring about what they were doing and I felt a kinship with them, knowing their dedication and bravery in saving seamen in distress. As the red machine took a pass overhead I waved to a crew member standing at an open door on her starboard side.

In what seemed no time at all, ‘Bumper’ came on the reach as she headed towards Falmouth docks. I disengaged the self-steering gear, downed sail and started the engine in preparation for finding a vacant mooring just below Flushing. By then grey clouds transformed the sky and rain started to fall. When tethered to a mooring I thankfully closed the hatches and took off my waterproofs before having a welcome cup of coffee and biscuits.

By 1100 the rain stopped and I rowed to the Town Quay where I left the dinghy before taking a short walk to Tescos for bread, milk and some flowers for Pat and Chas who had invited me to stay at their place for a couple of days. I was to be at the Percuil Boatyard at 1700 to be collected by Chas.

As soon as I returned to the yacht the heavens opened again, but I was safely below in time for lunch. Then after a snooze the sun obliging brightened the scene and I hoisted sail for a fast ride to St Mawes. A tug was in attendance with a large freighter leaving the docks while another held station waiting to take her place. I gilled around until the big boats had done their thing, then I continued on to St Mawes. Several yachts sailing to and fro added movement to the colourful scene.

‘Bumper’ was rather overpowered; therefore I dropped three panels and proceeded to the St Mawes moorings where I downed sail all together before slowly motoring between the moored yachts. First there was a boatyard on the port hand, then a small creek on the starboard hand. I purposely sailed close to random yachts to throw sealed and weighted gospel tracts into their cockpits. God knows if any will bring a response.

When close to Ian Webb’s Boatyard I looked for him, but as he could not be seen, I made my way to a vacant mooring, but as I did so, his assistant raced out in a motorized dory and showed me the mooring that had been reserved for the next four nights.

Chas was waiting at the slipway at 1700 hours and soon were on our way to his bungalow at the picturesque village of Point near the head of Restrongate Creek. We had a tasty meal and a lovely evening together reminiscing because we had not been together for two years.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll have a chance to visit the Eden Project, which is a huge tropical terrain of trees and plants completely under cover so as to provide the appropriate conditions for their growth.

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