The Cruise – Part 17
Sunday 18th May
Having eaten breakfast we set off at 0830 under full sail for the island of Tresco. The drizzle wasn't too off-putting and the force four wind was more than ample to push us along with the current at a good rate of knots. From the south side of The Garrison, which is a walled fortification containing forts built in 1901, we shaped a course north towards Tresco. As we approached the saddle shaped uninhabited island of Samson we could make out the beacons marking the pass between it and Crow Point at the southern end of Tresco. Getting over the shallows on a falling tide was just possible, with both boats scraping their rudders on the golden sand below.
The sheltered area of water between the island of Brhyer and Tresco is a favorite spot for visiting yachts, but apart from our Paradoxes there was only one yacht at a mooring flying a red ensign indicating the owner was aboard. By the time we beached our boats on the gently shelving beach at New Grimsby the sun was shining. We left them there at anchor for a walk around the southern end of the island where the Abbey gardens attract holiday makers. Close by there's the Heliport, but no flights are allowed on a Sunday. We saw sandmartins which look like swallows and heard the beautiful song of a thrush - the bird itself was so well camouflaged we failed to see it.
After lunch we anchored our boats with ropes attached to the crown of the anchors for retrieval from the beach; thus the boats would be kept away from the beach on the rising tide. Then we walked along a footpath close to the shore to Cromwell's Castle built in the 17th century overlooking the northern end of the Tresco Channel. From the top of the Castle there's a magnificent view overlooking Brhyer and Samson. Higher still from King Charles's Castle the view is stunning with panoramic views towards the Bishop Rock lighthouse, in fact most of the islands and outcrops from the north, westwards and to the south, can be seen. The colours of the sea were like those of a tropical island, so clear the areas of rock, sand and weed were visible.
Back at the boat I had a snooze before cooking a stir-fry. Later, we re-anchored our boats so that they would remain afloat to give us options the following morning.
Monday 19th May
At 0815 there was a falling tide, but we needed water and to use the shore toilets at New Grimsby; therefore we briefly beached our boats to carry out our tasks. Back afloat at anchor I used the chance to tend to my personal hygiene – an important matter when cruising for days at a time without access to showers or a bath.
While making the porridge for breakfast the Gaz for the stove ran out and needed replacing with a new 190 gram canister. It had lasted 8 days which was very good – mostly they last a week.
Around 0930 we arrived at the sandy beach by Anneka's Quay on the island of Brhyer after a sail downwind lasting only 10 minutes. I ran 'Faith' straight onto the beach with reduced sail and took the anchor to secure her in readiness for when she would float again in 4 hours.
Al and I set out for a walk around the Island in a clockwise direction. Moving south to begin with, we took the path around the shoreline below Samsom Hill where there are ancient tombs and chambered cairns. Continuing around rocky, weather worn outcrops like those found on Dartmoor, we found our way to the Island Hotel in time for morning coffee. The setting was quite sumptuous, obviously designer styled and the lounge was adorned with oil paintings; naturally, our discussion revolved around the subjects of the Fine Arts and artists.
Suitably refreshed, we continued our saunter northwards high up on Shipman Head, where we had a magnificent view overlooking the many islands; directly below us, across from the rocky islet of Hangman Island, tethered to a visitor's buoy, there was an old, rakish ketch with at topmast and long bowsprit – a really characterful vessel having a straight stem and counter stern. Her ensign was the Welsh flag sporting a red dragon.
On our way back to the boats we stopped at a cafe in 'The Town' for cream teas, and they were the very best, the scones having been freshly baked for us.
When we returned to our boats they were awash on a lee shore, which didn't really present a problem, as it was easy to push them off and set a small amount of sail for working to windward while dropping the rudder. Out on the water things were a little more challenging because the wind freshened and there wasn't a lot of room for maneuvering. The sandbanks and moored vessels made things awkward, but after a short battle with the wind and tide we re-anchored in the shallows of New Grimsby, Tresco. There we spent a relaxing afternoon after our morning exertions. I once again cleaned the interior of the boat, especially making sure there was no trace of sand in her bilges.
For a quiet night we shifted our boats south to a more protected position from the easterly wind, and Al elected to beach his boat, whereas I remained afloat.