Thursday, June 02, 2005

Wednesday, 1st June and Thursday, 2nd June


Geoff left ship today because he will be going abroad for a week’s holiday. Maybe he’ll re-join ‘Bumper’ as crew when he returns.

We visited Falmouth Harbour Commission’s Marina this morning so that Geoff could catch a train home from Falmouth Town Railway Station.

Once again I’m on my own, but there are some advantages because I can do as I please and I am not responsible for the safety of a crew member.

Since the boat was at the Marina for a ‘short stay’ visit I made full use of the facilities. The showers, although not elegant, are certainly the most spacious I’ve found so far. I was able to charge the computer and my mobile phone.

Always at Falmouth you’ll find live-aboard characters and those sailors intent upon a major cruise. One live-board was bewailing the fact that he had sold his house 10 years ago and that had he not done so he would have made a fortune because the value of it had greatly increased.

‘Bumper’ being ‘tethered’ to the pontoon was quietly behaving herself, so I took the opportunity to clean out the heads compartment and attempt to mend the pump on the Porta-Potti. I’m not sure if this was a success and I won’t know until the sealer around the leaking pump has set.

It’s surprising how dirty the outside of the boat can get when cruising; therefore I made a special effort to wash off weed on the deck which had got there when I picked up a mooring at St Mawes. I also scrubbed the decks and cabin top.

Late in the afternoon I hoisted sail and returned to ‘our’ free mooring at St Mawes.


As I type this, ‘Bumper’ is anchored at Ponsence Cove at the entrance of the Helford River, on the south side. In a south westerly wind the wooded hills give good protection.

I set out from St Mawes at 0940 to find the wind was on the nose for Helford and visibility was poor because of heavy drizzle, but as time passed the weather improved and there were some sunny spells.

‘Fred’, the Wind Pilot self-steering gear, did most of the work to get us to Helford River. On the way I used my binoculars to watch a naval exercise in which distress flares and life rafts were deployed. Two black and yellow vessels resembling tugs each launched a fast rib. In turn they launched orange inflatable life rafts into which scrambled several people dressed in survival gear.

A large tanker named ‘Halifax’ was anchored in Falmouth Bay as she was been serviced by a supply ship. ‘Bumper’ sailed to windward of her in the direction of Lizard Point. Several tacks later she came near August Rock Buoy to the north east of the Helford River entrance. Here it was necessary to tack again towards the little cove of Gillan, where three or four yachts were anchored.

Our next tack brought us to Ponsence Cove, where I anchored the boat in 20 feet of water.

It’s a particularly lovely spot. Low cliffs with strata formations at crazy angles sprout out of the sea. Tangled greenery drapes between the rocks to a horizontal darkened line that marks where the sea rises at high tide. Very tall trees twist and spindle upwards in a steep ravine, at the base of which there is a small sandy beach. Now and again visitors scramble to the water’s edge, and just now one with her two dogs that dip their feet in the water.

A gentleman who has a Contessa 32 at Port Navas being rowed by his wife in a narrow Cornish punt came alongside to enquire about my Pacific Light Wind Pilot self-steering gear. He wanted to know if I though it would be suitable for his boat. I recommended it.

I’m uncertain what I shall do this evening. Perhaps I may remain at Ponsence Cove, launch the dinghy and have a walk to Gillan church and harbour. Alternatively I could run back to St Mawes, or go on further up the Helford River.

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