Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Wednesday, 22nd June

By far, today has been the hottest since the outset of the cruise. There’s been a cloudless sky from early morning until now, as I type this before turning in for what I hope will be a refreshing sleep.

We are anchored in one of the few spots where it is permissible to anchor at Dartmouth, that’s next to number five large mooring buoy.

Down river, about two cables, is a large square-rigger, the ‘Amerigo Vespucci’. She’s an impressive vessel with two under decks and one upper, each defined with alternate bands of black and white. Her bow and stern are decorated with much ornate gold, and her upper cabin, masts and yards are brightly varnished.

Once the routine of ablutions and breakfast was over, and before saying farewell to Salcombe, I did the usual distribution of five Christian tracts by placing them in the cockpits of random yachts. As I was about my business, I became aware of a film crew in a rubber dinghy with their cameras following my every move! When I asked them why they were filming me, they were reluctant to give a straight answer, but I guess they were from some local newspaper or magazine, doing a report on Salcombe.

It remained calm throughout day, so we used the engine to follow the coast all the way to Dartmouth. I’ve never before been so close to the shore while rounding Start Point. At the time of rounding the Point, the ebb had not set too strongly; therefore we were able to skim over the outermost rocks so as to avoid the worst of it.

By 1000 we were close to the beach and low cliff at Hallsands Village, parts of which were swept away in a severe easterly gale some years ago.

There’s a beacon marking a point at the northern end of the glorious Slapton Sands, and I used it as a marker for setting the anchor while I made lunch and had a snooze. Afterwards, as it was so calm, I took the opportunity to check out the engine.

Just before 1400 we were underway again, and we hugged the shoreline to avoid the worst of the ebb. En route, we passed Stoke Fleming, which looked so lovely in the bright sunlight. The elevated village was surrounded with fields, copses and isolated dark green conifers, each shaped by the prevailing wind.

Below the hamlet there were cliffs of textured grey and mustard coloured rock with wild acid green foliage clinging to it in the upper regions.

On our arrival at Dartmouth I launched the dinghy and bought provisions for the next leg up Channel.

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