Ocean Mist Ship's Log

15 th of August 2008 - Summer Cruise - 5

Crew : Helen and Andy
Destinations : Wherever the wind blows us.
Distance : 189 miles

15 th August Channals Creek-Mylor Yacht Harbour

3 miles

After several telephone calls to Falmouth Marina they were unable to find us a berth, so we contacted Mylor yacht harbour which is just around the corner. Despite it's proximity to Falmouth, however, it is in the middle of nowhere. However it had a wine bar and laundrette and lots of yachties in their Crocs so we felt at home.

16 th August Mylor

The forecast was dreadful (surprise surprise) so we decided to head into Truro. We were informed the only reliable way to get there would be a taxi to Penryn and then a train. The taxi cost £9.00 each way and the train (10 times the distance) cost us £2.50 return each! We got to the train station and the heavens opened. We were surrounded by lots of teenagers heading for a day in Truro, clearly the place to go. We found somewhere for a pasty and went into the cathedral where I bumped into Carol from work with her family on a 2 week holiday in Cornwall. We finished our tour of Truro with a visit to the museum, which had a special exhibition on Poldark. On the way back we got off at Penryn station and followed the instructions that the taxi driver gave us for Asda. Neither of us had really listened to him so we got lost and had a long and unwelcome trek. We eventually found it and stocked up for our next journey away from the civilization of marinas and supermarkets.

17 th August Mylor-Helford River

13.3 miles

The weather determined that we should not go to Penzance today so we decided to head into The Helford River for a change of scenery. We had to search for the fuel barge in Falmouth first and then had a lovely sail across Falmouth Bay to our destination. We picked up a mooring buoy, but then, on the advice of the harbour master, moved upstream for more protection from the bad weather which was on it's way again.

18 th August Helford River

Today we took the dinghy across to Helford, where it cost £2.50 just to use the rickety landing pontoon. We had a walk in the rain to Frenchman's Creek. (Of Daphne Du Maurier fame). We found a pub for lunch and then had another peaceful evening on the boat. Andy invented a rope and pulley system for retrieving a man over board which I tested on him when we had a few spare moments. Needless to say his voice will never be the same again. The weather was forecasting more lows in the Atlantic heading our way one after the other. After some thought we finally made the decision not to go to Penzance. We agreed that it didn't make a lot of sense waiting around the Fal for a weather window any longer and that we didn't want to get stuck in Penzance with the possibility of not getting to the Isles of Scilly anyway. We made a plan to head across the Channel which at least meant the wind direction would be favourable. This is sadly going to be the furthest west either of us would get in Ocean Mist.

19 th August Helford River

Today we went for another walk on the other side of the river. We got to Rosemullion Head for a view of Falmouth entrance and a picnic lunch. On the way back we visited Glendurgan Gardens which are a beautiful lush garden, owned by The National Trust, set out around 3 small valleys with a fantastic maze and masses of tree ferns, much bigger than Trevor the tree fern in our garden. Andy, of course, with his logical approach won the race for the centre of the maze. We had a cream tea in a pub in Helford Passage which wasn't very good and we returned to home where Andy planned our trip to Plymouth the following day.

20 th August Helford River-River Yealm

44.4 miles

We made an early start so decided against making a noise by sailing off our buoy. Unfortunately the pick up buoy on the mooring decided to go in a different direction to the main buoy and we got a bit stuck on it. Andy managed to disentangle us but not before some people on another boat, also leaving, noticed. We were able to sail with the wind on our beam for a change, now we were heading east. For a short time we put up the cruising chute until the wind picked up. We had quite a windy sail then into Cawsand Bay in Plymouth Sound, where we anchored. We had decided to stay there for the night and then head into the River Yealm. After an hour or so, it was apparent that the swell was picking up and we were rolling uncomfortably. We weighed anchor and had a very rough journey, under motor with waves on our beam, into the River Yealm. At one point I thought a wave was going to roll us completely. We found another mooring buoy, which the harbour master was happy for us to remain on despite it not being a visitors mooring.

21 st August River Yealm

After being unable to hail a water taxi, we had a day on the boat without any exploring ashore. A day to catch up on reading and naval gazing.

22 nd August River Yealm- Salcombe

18.7 miles

We slipped our mooring early in order to head up the River Yealm to explore. It was very beautiful and everyone seemed to be asleep apart from the birds. We left the river entrance in the sunshine at 0845 and managed to get the sails up straight away. Andy caught us 3 more mackeral for tea, which we ate en papillotte cooked in the pressure cooker. This proved to be an excellent way to prevent fishy smells in the boat for days after. We found a pontoon further up river from Salcombe and were alongside by lunchtime. We had at least 30 boats around us on the pontoon with 4 rafted outside of us meaning we were not going to get out quickly. We had been expecting much more rafting on this trip, but it seems that the weather has made things more quiet than usual. Anyway, we didn't care about being trapped as we hailed a cab and went ashore to explore the town of Salcombe. We found a place to hire a Wayfarer dinghy to explore the creeks upstream the following day and picked up more groceries.

23 rd August Salcombe

After a very noisy night, with clanging halyards and creaking warps and fenders, we picked up our little Wayfarer dinghy called Aquarius around 0930. Memories came flooding back of learning to sail in Wayfarers at Barton Broad as a teenager. The boat was much as I remembered it and Andy had to forget his Laser sailing for a moment and deal with 2 sails. We sailed on the tide up to Kingsbridge without running aground and then back down and round to Frogmore Creek. On our return we anchored for lunch and then sailed around the corner to a sandy beach on the East Portlemouth side of the river. Here Andy had to get into the water up to his waist in order to anchor the boat well out as the tide was ebbing. Fortunately he had bought some orange and red surfer shorts in Fowey, ideal for the purpose. We were warned that Wayfarers are quite heavy and if they go aground we wouldn't be able to just drag it down the beach into the water. After our sail we made use of the yacht club showers. Not being clubby people, this was a first for both of us. It was also the first hot shower that either of us had had for 7 days! We found some chilli chocolate, beer and turmeric and headed back to the boat.

24 th August Salcombe visitors pontoon-anchorage Frogmore Creek

We had a pretty lazy morning. Once all the boats on our outside had left we immediately made our move and headed slightly up river where we anchored. We decided that we needed to be free to leave early the following morning for our passage to Alderney. The anchorage was very quiet once the leisure boats had gone home for the night. We were informed by the harbour master that our pontoon was likely to be very busy as the harbour by town had been subject to a lot of swell and yachts were heading for shelter further upstream, where we had been the previous night. Not many seemed to want to anchor with us though. Maybe that was due to our lack of showers.

25 th August (BH Monday) Salcombe-Alderney, Braye Harbour

60.7 miles

We set the alarm for 0500 today. Unfortunately it was still pretty dark and we couldn't see anything on the water, so we had our breakfast still at anchor. As soon as we could see the outlines of buoys we left and made our way to the entrance. We set sail immediately and wizzed across the shipping lanes with the tide. We only saw 4 ships in total, which was a bit disappointing for the English Channel. We had a lot of wind, Force 5/6. As we sailed South East past the Casquets and Burhou the seas became quite big as they raced between the rocks. At one point I managed 9.8 knots surfing. We made it into Braye Harbour in good time. We had to pick up a buoy in the more exposed part of the harbour, where the swell was quite uncomfortable.

26 th August Braye Harbour

After the most uncomfortable night of the trip, we were up and about pretty early and I was feeling a little sea sick. Andy had been up several times during the night dismantling anything that seemed to be rattling or banging. This included taking the companionway steps off. Despite this, I managed to clamber out into the cockpit in time to watch other yachts leaving around 0630. After breakfast we managed to find a new buoy tucked right into the harbour under the long breakwater. We hoped that this may provide some shelter for the next night. We decided to stay for a couple of days and so went ashore in our dinghy. We had a walk up the hill to St Anne's and then around the airport. It was incredibly quiet. Shops closed for lunch, people smoked in the pubs and there were no road signs. The reason for this is that during the war the locals removed them to confuse the Germans and they decided not to replace them when the Germans left. We noticed many dead and mangled rabbits, the cause of death was a mystery to us. However, we later saw a sign saying that there was an infestation of rats and chickens and they were killing the rats and catching the chickens. We decided that either the chickens were evolving into killer chickens or the poison used to kill the rats was killing the rabbits as well. The chickens didn't look like killers to us, in fact the babies were very cute indeed.

27 th August Braye Harbour

We set off today on a circumnavigation of Alderney on foot with a picnic. Alderney seems to be a very wild place and seemed incredibly quiet to us after Devon and Cornwall. There are a large number of forts all around the coast. Most of these seem to have been bought privately and converted into living places. At the end of the walk I went for a swim in the sea whilst Andy sat by and watched. We saw a few more rabbits in varying stages of life and death. After a hot shower, we had really good fish and chips from the Braye Chippy with a beer from the yacht club.

28 th August Alderney-Guernsey Beaucette Marina

13.9 miles

In order to get the tide through The Swinge, a notorious tidal race between Burhou and Alderney, we had to leave around 0800. We thought that we would anchor in Hannaine bay on the west coast of Braye underneath a gannet colony, which we saw from land the day before. We zoomed through the swinge and then tentatively headed towards this idyllic cove. With the swell it felt quite difficult to keep Ocean Mist on track and as we came close to the rocks I chickened out and we turned round and headed toward Guernsey. As we had left 3 hours after high water and we couldn't get into Beaucette until a couple of hours before the next high water we had to sail very very slowly. I think we managed about 1.3 knots as an average. We got to Beaucette and entered through a sheer gap in the rocks. They were very friendly in the marina so we decided to stay for 3 nights.

29 th August Guernsey

Today we jumped on the bus into St Peter Port for 60p. We did our necessary shopping and had our very necessary tea and cake. I had the best apple and marzipan tart ever in a lovely tea room. We then returned to the marina on a long bus route taking us around the coast again for only 60p. It took 1 and ¼ hours. That was money well spent.

30 th August Guernsey

We had a high pressure weather system today, a rare occurrence for us this year. We hired bikes and headed inland up and down, up and down and up and down. It was a very warm day so of course we stopped for plenty of tea and cake. We visited a tiny chapel decorated totally with shells and ceramic mosaics. We found in Guernsey that there are few bits that haven't been developed, albeit very prettily, and very little wilderness. We cycled back along the coast and both went for swim (more of a quick dip) in the sea. When we got back to the boat we had our usual beer before finishing our laundry and going to a barbecue where we met some of the permanent residents of the marina. Having made the appropriate preparations we had our beefburgers and bananas with chocolate whilst being informed about what it's like to live in Guernsey.

31 st August Guernsey-Jersey St Helier

33.8 miles

We had hoped today to sail across to Herm and Sark. However, as usual the weather was not going to make anchoring or a mooring buoy very comfortable and there was a possibility that we may need to make a quick exit when the wind increased, which it was set to do. We decided to make for St Helier straight away. Again, because we had some tidal restrictions we took our time getting to Jersey. Initially it was a hazy, but warm day with light winds as we sailed gently along on a broad reach between Guernsay and Herm. However, as we got further south, the wind picked up along with the swell and rain and we were making an average of 6 or 7 knots in Force 6. As we headed along the south coast of Jersey the sea calmed a little and we motor sailed past Elizabeth Castle and all it's rocks into the harbour. We rafted up on the waiting pontoon until there was enough depth of water over the sill to get us into the marina. As soon as we were given a green light boats rushed toward the entrance in a mad hurry. We decided to take our time as there was plenty of room in the marina. We found a berth and were sitting in the cockpit with a beer by 1830.

1 st September Jersey

We spent today exploring St Helier, visiting a cafe for breakfast before shopping for food and fish in the fish market. We walked across the causeway to Elizabeth Castle, which is a big fort, just off St Aubin Bay by St Helier, with a long history going back to the 12th century. Since then it has been renovated several times, once by Sir Walter Raleigh and most recently by the Germans. The breakwater now protects the entrance to the main harbour for Jersey, where we entered the marina.

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