Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Monday, 13th June and Tuesday, 14th June


Last night turned out to be very uncomfortable. A wind against tide situation while on a mooring between Bryher and Tresco had the buoy banging against the hull, which caused a drumming sound. Sleep was not possible. I tried making the line short, then long; finally I drew the buoy up tightly to the bow, but with little effect. The dinghy needed a bucket on a stern painter to act as a drogue; otherwise it also banged the boat.

Instead of waking at 0530, as is my custom when cruising, I was surprised to find the time was 0800, but that didn’t matter, as the day was mine to do as I pleased.

During the morning I enjoyably whiled away the time by reading, attending to personal hygiene, checking the lockers, sitting in the cockpit while observing activity on the water, feeding two gulls and preparing lunch.

In the afternoon I explored tracks and roads in the vicinity of Tresco’s famous gardens; then I had a look at the helicopter port which is meticulously kept; it’s so well looked after, the keeper at Lord’s Cricket Club would be envious. The flowers, shrubs, bushes and trees are at their very best, providing a stunning show, a real feast for the eyes.

One big improvement since my last visit to Tresco is the village shop. Now one can buy most groceries there - even my favourite yoghurt, Muller Corner, which has a section for fruit. Another new facility is the cart for yachtsmen’s rubbish, near the fresh water tap at the quay.

To complete a day of relaxation I accepted the invitation of Martin and Roma Morris to visit them aboard their Nick Skeats 32 steel cutter. We spent the evening chatting - surprise, surprise, mainly on the topics of sailing, sailors and their boats.


The early morning forecast predicted winds for the next two days would be between south and south west, force 5, increasing to 6 or 7. It also stated the sea would be very rough around Land’s End, which means I’ll need to stay at the Scilly Islands until this coming Friday, at the earliest. I would like to make it back to Falmouth for the weekend, because the Tall Ships will be there from Friday until Sunday.

Because of the forecast I decided to sail ‘Bumper’ to Watermill Cove, on the north east side of St Mary’s. For the first time on this cruise I made way under sail after retrieving the anchor.

I can recommend the anchorage at New Grimsby, which is a cable to the south of the power cable laid on the seabed between Tresco and Bryher. The water only has a depth of about 8 feet at low water neaps, but there is very little current there at any state of the tide, which means boats remain wind-rode. Being near the jetty, the distance to row to the beach it protects is only about 400 yards, i.e., approximately 2 cables.

When it comes to a choice of where to walk St Mary’s is difficult to beat. There are many pathways, some bridleways and several minor roads. Unlike Tresco, cars and motorcycles are permitted.

When lunch was over I used the dinghy to take me to a hidden landing ramp; unless you know it’s there among the rocks to the south eastern end of the cove, you would assume the only practical way of getting ashore would be to land on the small boulders of Watermill Cove directly to the south east.

I found the coastal path of the eastern side of the Island was full of surprises. To begin with, I saw two separate pairs of cormorants; they are far less common than the smaller, rather dull shags. Other birds I saw during my 4 hour walk were a pair of peregrine falcons, several oystercatchers, turnstones and a goodly number of stonechats.

There’s a beautiful golden sandy beach which links Toll’s Island to St Mary’s at low water. When the sun is to the south, as it was this afternoon, the colour of the sea by this beach would probably rival anything in the Bahamas. The colour of the submerged kelp was a deep purple, and areas around it, free of weed, were a pale cobalt blue, tinged with a smidgen of viridian green.

I could see no signs of the wreck of the Lady Charlotte that floundered off Porth Hellick Point in 1917 - not even a hint of a rusted hull.

Poth Hellick is not really suitable as a port, because there are so many rocks within the cove. Some oddly shaped rocks marking the boundary between land and water have appropriately been given the name ‘The Loaded Camel’; from the north I could recognise the shape of a camel’s head and neck and behind there are some boulders resembling a load on the animal’s back.

Two aeroplanes with twin engines took off while I was walking around the perimeter of the small airport to the east of Old Town.

In the Middle Ages this village was the principal centre of population; now it is taking on a new lease of life. At the Old Town Café I treated myself to a cream tea and that cream was delicious.

My trek back to Watermill Cove took me northwards across the centre of the Island where I had the biggest surprise of all. In some nettles and bramble bushes beside the café of the Longstone Heritage Centre I spied a tiny blue double-ended boat with the name of ‘Arrandir’, and that rang a bell! I found out from a gentleman named Mick, who works at the Centre, that Sebastian Nasland had used the boat to undertake some epic voyages. I remembered Sebastian had his own web site, which I must visit again to reacquaint myself of all the facts.

Back at Watermill Cove the sea was as flat as a pancake, and yet to the south of St Mary’s I had seen it flecked with breakers.

Tonight I am expecting rain, but I hope the wind will remain in the south west or to the west.

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