Monday, January 16, 2012

Cruise of the ‘Ishani’, a 26’ Eventide – Part 16

'Ishani' off Hugh Town

Early morning of Wednesday, 1st July, found ‘Ishani’ wallowing with no wind in her sails. We were forced into starting the engine, but we benefited by making 3.4 knots. Sunrise brought a Force 3 from the northwest so that we were able to lay a course directly for the Scillies. On this fetch ‘Ishani’ agreed she would look after herself. We had coerced her into sailing with the helm lashed so that we could relax and enjoy watching the ever changing scene, clouds, sea and sky, partners in a rhythmic dance.

Without a doubt this was the best part of our adventure to date. Conditions were perfect. We had a magical evening watching a golden sunset, and the stars that night were literally, out of this world, a canopy of sparkling jewels. It was as if ‘Ishani’ knew she was on the homeward leg. She dipped and curtsied in harmony with wind and sea. It was a timeless, almost surreal experience that made all our previous encounters with malevolent seas and strong winds so very worthwhile. No longer were the elements against us; instead they were caressing and willing us along the way. We wanted this forever.

Around midnight the wind briefly faltered; then it came in from the northeast at a gentle Force 1. The barometric reading was still high at 1,026 millibars. Sunrise heralded a helpful north-easterly for the most perfect sailing. At 0945 we were blasted by the sonic boom of Concord as she passed overhead, en route for the States. Our position as ascertained by sextant was 49 degrees 12.4 minutes north and 6 degrees 25.9 minutes west, which placed us 44 miles from the Scilly Isles. That evening of Thursday, 2nd July at 2133 we caught a glimpse of the Bishop Rock lighthouse, the granite beacon we had taken our departure from on 25th May.

The following morning we entered St. Mary’s Sound and anchored off Hugh Town. After breakfast and a nap we were awakened by a customs officer who promptly cleared us so that we were free to disembark. Our priority was to phone our wives, then do a bit of shopping. For relaxation we sailed to St. Agnes where we anchored for a peaceful day in the little cove between it and the tiny island of Gugh. There at low water, it is possible to walk across the sand between the two islands.

On the morning of Saturday, 4th July, we returned to Hugh Town where we re-victualled the ship, including topping up our water; then we motored to St. Martin’s Island. There we anchored by the Old Quay to the east of Cruther’s Point where ‘Ishani’ took the ground. This was a perfect sheltered spot for getting ashore and for exploring the wonderful, charming island where time stands still. Then there were no cars, only tractors for mechanical transport. The seawater was crystal clear, but perishing cold for a swim. We both enjoyed a tranquil stroll. It seemed we had the island to ourselves. That’s quite different these days, because of frequent visits by noisy water jet taxis that kick up a hell-of-wash. Why ever the authorities sanctioned their use, I cannot imagine. The old longboat ferries that so quietly graced those waters, was far superior in every way.

Text for the Day

Philemon 1:3 ‘Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.’

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