Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cruise of the ‘Ishani’, a 26’ Eventide – Part 17

Lundy landing jetty

We were indeed on the way home. The Bristol Channel beckoned. Of all places visited, the Scilly Isles were the best by far, because of their beauty and peace. Sadly, today, there are too many noisy planes, helicopters and jet taxis that destroy their tranquillity.

With high pressure still active, we were faced with a headwind of Force 1 from the northeast; this required running the faithful Yanmar for us to make progress towards St. Ives. Not long after leaving Crow Sound we noticed a small yacht coming towards us; by chance it belonged to a fellow I had met two years before at the Scillies. West Country sailors know him as ‘Mr Folkboat’. His lovely authentic, clinker Scandinavian Folkboat was kept Bristol fashion. Her home mooring was at Polruan, a delightful fishermen’s hamlet across the river from the holiday town of Fowey. Bill at first thought I was having him on about knowing the owner, but as we drew near it was quickly established that we were in conversation with ‘Mr Folkboat’. We wished each other bon voyage before proceeding on our way. Nothing of note was recorded in the log, except that we anchored in St. Ives Bay at 1735.

Next morning, of Monday, 6th July, we were underway at 0547, yet again under power. Visibility was very bad. In fact it reminded us of a previous encounter with fog we had at the same place, of which I made mention earlier in this account. We very quickly became disorientated, but this time instead of trying to follow soundings back to St. Ives, we anchored in 18 fathoms. Within half-an-hour the fog sufficiently cleared for us continue. Without incident we arrived at Padstow late that afternoon in time for tea. Neither of us had been there before. We inflated the dinghy and went ashore to do a bit of shopping and to top up the ship’s water. Before returning aboard we telephoned our good wives to let them know that all was well.

We discovered that Padstow was a pretty town with quaint stone buildings, and a small harbour conveniently situated south of the entrance of the River Camel on the west side. The surrounding countryside was very beautiful, mainly consisting of arable farmland interspersed with copses and lager areas of woodland.

We had a quiet, undisturbed night at a borrowed mooring where ‘Ishani’ briefly touched bottom. Underway again, early in the morning of Tuesday, 7th July there was precious little wind. Beyond the entrance, after crossing the bar, we found a Force 2 from north of northeast, which with a helpful tide we were able to lay a course towards Lundy Island. Later that morning we thought we were going to be boarded by commandoes who were hammering their way towards us in three camouflaged landing craft, but they left us alone and proceeded up Channel, probably to the Marine training camp on the Taw estuary.

The cliff scenery along this north Cornish coast was fabulous to behold, especially in the vicinity of Tintagel. If you view the cliffs from their tops you can get some idea of their grandeur, but when you see them from sea level you can really appreciate the scale and beauty.

When the tides are worked in the Bristol Channel, progress is rapid, because there they rise and fall more than most places in the world; hence they run faster. Therefore we found ourselves at anchor by mid afternoon in the little cove at the south-eastern end of Lundy. Needless to say, the motion was most uncomfortable. To improve matters we set an improvised mizzen by hanking a small jib to the backstay to act as a riding sail. Other yachts arrived and anchored nearby, all with the same intention of staying overnight to take advantage of the tide up Channel next morning.

Thursday, 9th July was to be our last day of the cruise. ‘Ishani’ had unexpectedly taken the ground at low water. Under the circumstances we had a leisurely breakfast in the cockpit, while not exactly admiring the scenery which was uninspiring, almost a little grim, there being a couple of drab cottages at the head of slipway; nevertheless we enjoyed our boiled eggs and marmalade on toast.

‘Ishani’ bumped off the bottom and we were away under power, as there was hardly any wind. Later the wind sprang up to help us along, and with the aid of the favourable current, we averaged 7 knots over the ground, so that we arrived back at Combwich after covering a distance of 21.9 nautical miles in 3 hours. We were highly chuffed at having completed a 7 week cruise of over 2,000 miles, the longest leg being 13 days out of sight of land between the Scillies and La Corunna.

Text for the Day

1 Timothy 6:6 'Now godliness with contentment is great gain.'

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