Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Wednesday, 8th June

‘Bumper’ made it to the Scilly Isles. I picked up a buoy in Hugh Town Harbour, St Marys Island at 1907. The distance travelled was 60 miles in 19 hours, at an average speed of 3.1 knots. A force 4 wind came from the east, making it a run from Lizard Point, but I could not use the windvane self-steering gear because the seas were too large.

There was a spectacular sunrise at 0515 when the sun resembled an orange lozenge suspended in a pale violet haze running parallel with the horizon. Shortly afterwards, visibility dropped and the Lizard lighthouse sounded its mournful note. Fortunately, as the sun rose higher in the sky, visibility dramatically improved.

I made the mistake of attempting to listen to the early morning forecast while in the cockpit. Tragically a wave broke against the side of the boat and doused the radio just as the forecast for Plymouth was about to be broadcast.

Off the Manacles there was a dancing turbulent mass of water; pyramidal waves clashed with one another, but ‘Bumper’ was very happy to waltz through the tumult.

While approaching Lizard Point I saw several gannets making spectacular dives into the water for fish. One ate so much he could hardly take off. Two helicopters were engaged in flying practice; one dropped what may have been a sonar device into the water.

The only respite I had for the whole passage was when I periodically hove-to for making drinks and grabbing quick snacks. It was a hands-on situation, leaving no time for writing up the log.

Wolf Rock Lighthouse came into view around 0800 and we passed to the south of it an hour later. Here I took in the first reef. Two more were put in before entering Saint Mary’s Sound, and it was a good job I did, because the flood tide made the waves very steep as we passed south of Penninis Head. The sea remained turbulent until we came into the lee of Garrison Hill, which is the south westernmost part of St Mary’s Island.

I’ve never seen Hugh Town harbour so packed with visiting yachts. Several were double stacked on the visitors’ buoys, so I elected to pick up a spare local buoy. The problem with that is that I may be asked to move, perhaps in the middle of the night.

We’ll see.

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