A trip around the UK in a Bavaria 46 in Autumn 2011
This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.
Tried to leave Liverpool in the early hours but the lock keeper overslept and by the time he arrived at 5am there wasn't enough tide left to get us out over the Marina cill. We left again at midday with weather calm but no sailing as wind on our nose yet again. We were intending to go into Holyhead but the weather was worsening and the forecast terrible so rather than risk being trapped there we carried on down to the SE Irish port of Kilmore Quays. A long trip with a difficult entry to the harbour which was full of fishing boats hiding from the weather.
Got up on Monday morning and went to find showers in our pyjamas but we met the Harbourmaster who said he'd closed them all last week as he didn't expect any more yachts coming through this year! He was an extremely nice guy however and invited us into his very spacious office overlooking the harbour and said we could use his own personal shower - thus joining the ranks of extremely nice and helpful people we have met on this trip. Over a cup of coffee he told me we should leave today if we didn't want to be stuck here for another four or five days. Yet another bad storm is forecast, we do seem to have been very unlucky with the weather. He also reckoned a night departure (as our skipper had thought of) was a bad plan as there were 8000 lobster pots in the near vicinity of the harbour and a rope round the propeller in such weather is not something you want to risk. So we left at lunchtime as being the least bad option, it was the worst conditions we had met so far, huge rollers with the water breaking on the tops of the waves and soaking us as we went along. Luckily the course we needed was at an angle to the waves so we were able to carry on, though with a horrible corkscrewing motion and hoping the conditions would get better rather than worse. As I am still here to write this then you can tell the conditions did improve and the worst of the swell died down after a couple of hours. We got in to St Mary's in the Scillies on the Tuesday morning exhausted not having had a proper nights sleep for five days or so. Very pleased to be in the Scillies though getting a bit sick of this trip now, I've enjoyed most of it up til now but 6 weeks is a long time and to cap it all I seem to have picked up a mild dose of flu which is not improving my patience with the others!
Now it is evening I read this and realise I must have been pretty miserable this morning as I forgot to mention the porpoises! They joined us not far off Southern Ireland and followed us for at least twelve hours across the Irish Sea. They seem to love getting in very close to the bows of the boat and then jumping in unison, sometimes alone, often in twos, but sometimes in threes, all perfectly in timing together. They are incredible animals, presumably they were bored and thought they would like to go where we were going. We organise these long trips in watches of two hours on, four hours off so Hilary and I had the 6pm to 8pm, when we could see them as it got dark, but then we did the 12 to 2am watch when it was really dark. There was so much phosphorescence in the water that we could see the porpoises swimming and follow their tracks as they came in towards the boat like miniature torpedoes, unforgettable.
Just had time this afternoon to go to Tresco (one of the other Scilly Isles) on the ferry which rolled like a pig but got us there with only 1 hour before she went back. Galloped to the Abbey Gardens which are very famous and arrived with only 20mins to see them. Admission £10 each they said, hmm, how about us being NT members - nope, well how about English Heritage? - nope, Ramblers?, YHA?, Costa Coffee bonus points card? we tried everything but no they wanted their £20. Well what organisations do you have an arrangement with we asked and they came back with "only the Cornish Gardens Society". Amazingly, we had joined this some months back, but naturally we had no membership card with us. At this point the lady was laughing so much she let us in for nothing. The gardens, so far as we could tell on such a short visit are lovely. The climate, once you get shelter from the wind set up, is so benign that plants go completely ballistic. It looked a bit like the gardens they have in Madeira.
Tresco itself I didn't take too so much, they have built a rather large and rambly poorly designed lodge type hotel in "New England Style", which just does not work and spoils one side of the island completely. Probably the other side of the island, which we did not see, was a lot prettier because Tresco is supposed to be one of the more atractive islands.