Ocean Mist Ship's Log

1st of August 2008 - Summer Cruise - 4

Crew : Helen and Andy
Destinations : Wherever the wind blows us.
Distance : 136 miles

1 st August Dittisham (Pronounced Ditsam)

5 miles (on foot)

The rain had finally stopped! After trying to call for a taxi with no response our only hope for making landfall was our little tender. We managed to land just down from Greenway House where Agatha Christie used to live and which is now owned by the National Trust (not our favourite organisation). Anyway we made use of the cafe for lunch before heading off on a tour of the gardens. We were prevented from carrying on after a while, having not paid our entrance fee or collected a map. We were duly ordered back to reception to pay. I think we managed to look like we had made an innocent mistake (which we sort of had) and instead headed onto the Greenway trail, which we hoped was a circular walk. Our supplies of ordnance survey maps don't start until Plymouth. Anyway it was a fabulous walk and gave views over the sea toward Torquay and we managed to make it back to the tender. We then popped across the river to pick up some provisions from the local store (in the pub) and had a pint in Dittisham, before going for a little tour of the river. No sooner had we got within viewing distance of Agatha Christies boat house when an elderly official appeared at the window. We quickly headed back to the boat for an evening without rain (ish) and a lovely sunset.

2 nd August Dittisham-Plymouth Sutton Harbour Marina

34.4 miles

We left the river Dart around 10.00am and had a great sail around Start Point, tacking once to head into Plymouth Harbour. We tried to get a berth at Queen Anne's Battery marina but they were full. Thankfully Sutton Harbour marina were very friendly and we were given a berth right near the office. It turned out we had arrived in the middle of the Sutton Harbour Festival and there was music and lots of beautiful classic boats around us. The marina had the best laundry service so far, so I enjoyed an hour or so doing the washing. We had a stroll around the Barbican area and Plymouth Hoe after eating supper in a bar. This is not a usual occurrence as we are enjoying home cooking most of the time, having learned to use our pressure cooker for all sorts of things, and feeling much better for it.

3 rd August Plymouth

Another fairly wet day spent doing a big shop and visiting the aquarium along with hundreds of screaming children. We managed to find somewhere quiet for tea and cakes. We made contact with Phil who planned to join us for a trip up the River Tamar the following day and then on to Fowey.

4 th August Sutton Harbour Marina-St Germans River

21.2 miles

Phil joined us around 10.00am having found a bus to drop him off in Plymouth from his home after a rather circuitous journey. Anyway he arrived safely and we went for a quick sail around the breakwater before heading up the River Tamar. We got as far as we could, which involved some pretty nifty tacking under the two bridges from Andy and Phil. Andy was feeling pretty adventurous so we headed up to find an anchorage called Dandy Hole on the St Germans River. We had to wait until 1600 in order to have enough depth of water to get there. We managed 0.0m on the depth sounder for some time. When we got to the anchorage there were already a couple of boats anchored. The smallest little boat seemed to be taking all the water, with a big old classic boat anchored very sensibly fore and aft. We decided there wasn't enough swinging room to anchor and the skipper of the classic boat kindly pointed us in the direction of another possible anchorage. We found somewhere and had a fairly rocky and squeaky night at anchor in sight of a war ship.

5 th August St Germans-Fowey

33.1 miles

The weather was murky and wet but the winds seemed OK for our plan to get to Fowey. We headed out well reefed into Plymouth Sound with gradually deteriorating visability. We weren't alone as we saw a big white sailing boat, which had been following us from Cowes, also raising it's sails and heading toward the end of the breakwater. As we got toward Rames Head the radar had tripped again and, with poor visability, Andy decided we should head back to Plymouth. We anchored just off Mount Edgecombe Park in the Barn Pool for lunch and the weather seemed to clear. We still had plenty of tide in our favour so we headed out once more. It was pretty rough and wet but we had reasonable visability for a while. Once past Rames head land disappeared but we were able to sail to Fowey along the coast. The only land we saw on route was at Looe which loomed out of the murk briefly. We found the south cardinal buoy near Fowey but could not see the cliffs or harbour entrance clearly. Apparently there is a day mark on Gribbin Head to help sailors find their way in. Fortunately as we got there a pilot boat came out to bring a big ship in which had just appeared behind us. We hung around and followed them in. We were directed to a mooring buoy and had a very rolypoly and noisy night after a meal in The Ship, courtesy of Phil and a water-taxi.

6 th /7 th August Fowey

Phil left in the morning after helping Andy pump up the tender to get us ashore. Andy and I then wandered around town, visiting the castle in the rain before returning to the boat. I finally succumbed and bought a pair of greenish blue Crocs for only £14.50 in a sale. Everyone in Fowey now has a pair. Andy bought a padlock and we got some sausages for a cassoulet. Beans take only 1½ hours including soaking time if you have a pressure cooker. We spent the second day walking up to the day mark on Gribbin Head. Regretfully we forgot to take our swimming gear as it was really close and muggy there were people enjoying the beach despite some rain. We had our second cream tea, not as good as Dartmouth, the scones came out of a packet. The nights in Fowey were undoubtedly the rolliest I have ever had and Andy agreed (even compared to when he was in the Virgin Islands). Once we sorted out the squeaky ropes I actually found it quite nice, Andy didn't agree. On our last night we had a tiny little man come and raft up to us on his tiny little boat. The following morning he had disappeared before we had noticed. Hopefully he got back to the Solent where he was heading.

8 th August Fowey-Falmouth Pendennis Marina

25.4 miles

We had a lovely rain free sail all the way to Falmouth. It was quite a novelty being able to see land to starboard all the way and the entrance to the harbour was pretty obvious. Being able to see the headlands coming out of Fowey was great. It turned out we had again turned up somewhere at a very busy time, it being Falmouth week. Fortunately we were found a berth amongst the luxury yachts. As soon as we had tied up and settled down with a beer we contacted Helen M, who we were expecting to meet for a sail in beautiful sunshine. After another beer we all headed out for some food in town.

9 th August Pendennis Marina-River Truro

16 miles

The weather forecast was terrible but we thought we might be able to get to the Helford River without too much trouble. After getting out of the raft on the pontoon we headed out to sea with two reefs. It was horrible and we were making little progress into the wind toward The Helford River. Eventually, to my relief, we decided to turn and head back to the Fal. This was much easier and, with Andy on the helm, we made 9.7 knots (surfing) It rained and rained. We headed up toward Truro and found a place on a pontoon in the river in a beautiful spot surrounded by trees in quite a deep valley. Unfortunately it continued to rain and rain. Just when you thought it couldn't get worse it did. We had an afternoon and evening of sudoko and quizzes with Helen M as quiz master, occasionally sticking our heads out of the hatch to inspect the world outside.

10 th August River Truro-Falmouth Marina

6.1 miles

We awoke to sunshine and breakfast in the cockpit. Surrounded by boats with skippers called David. It was like a miracle had occurred overnight. During the night I had even managed to see the milky way and one shooting star. Although it was too cold and wet to sit out during the night, I would have liked to once it had cleared. It was still windy so we motor sailed against the tide and managed to find a space in Falmouth Marina. They were very friendly and Andy was complimented on his excellent parking. We said goodbye to Helen M and then spent the rest of the day airing and washing everything on the boat. I then experimented with making a curry in the pressure cooker and we had our favourite dessert of bananas and custard.

11 th August Falmouth Marina

Once we had moved to another berth to make space for the return of the berth's permanent tenant, we walked into Falmouth. We visited the maritime museum where they have a large exhibition of small craft and lots of children. We had our third cream tea which was OK but the scones were a bit dry. We bought a rucksack full of lentils and beans as we have discovered how much we like them and how easy they are to store and cook on a boat. We have haricot, cannelini, pinto, blackeyed beans and chickpeas and lots of green and red lentils now, enough to see us through until the end of the trip.

12 th August Falmouth Marina-Ruan Creek

We had a very relaxing morning until the wife of the berth's owner turned up surprised that we were there and informed us her husband was bringing their boat back and expected in 10 minutes. We quickly left the berth and headed back up the River Fal. We managed 8.3 knots under just the genoa. We found an lovely place to anchor just down wind from where we had been on a pontoon with Helen M. After lunch Andy thought it would be a good idea to lay a kedge from the stern to stop us swinging as the wind was pretty strong even that far up the river. This involved him taking the anchor out in the tender and dropping it someway behind us. We managed this just before it started to rain again. We stayed sheltered in the warm saloon reading for the rest of the day.

13 th August Ruan Creek-Smuggler's Cottage

This morning we decided to wait for the wind to die down. Listening to the forecast we heard Gales were forecast for the English Channel and south coast, possible Force 9s. As a result we didn't plan to leave the river for some time. Just down river was the Smuggler's Cottage which had its own mooring buoys and where you could get a cream tea and beer. That sounded like the place for us. The wind died a little so we used this opportunity to attempt to weigh both anchors. Not as easy as it sounded. With the strong wind and tide, the kedge anchor had dug in very firmly. As Andy released the bow anchor in order to lift the kedge the boat got pushed quickly sideways into shallow water placing continued tension on both anchor chains as we tried to pull in the slack. Andy decided to set off once more in the tender to see if he could lift it that way with no luck. Eventually he used the bow roller to pull it in and we just managed to avoid a grounding. We picked up a buoy and then spent a while cleaning the decks of the clay brought up by the anchors. I rowed ashore and I was praised for managing to steer us to the buoy when even the professionals were struggling with the wind. We had the inevitable cream team. Definitely the best scones so far. We then looked around the cottage which had been used as a setting off point for hundreds of American soldiers for the D-day landings. We had a brief walk and a pint before returning to the boat , Andy rowing this time.

14 th August Smuggler's Cottage- Channals Creek (Trelissick House)

After a gentle start we headed around the corner and anchored in a small bay underneath the gardens of Trelissick House at the top of the Carrick Roads. The sun was shining and the wind seemed to have abated somewhat. We rowed ashore and had a lovely walk around the gardens and through the woods. When we returned to the boat we sat in the warm sunshine watching the world go by and doing a touch of bird watching and photography. The weather forecast looked like it would briefly improve and we decided to head for a marina tomorrow to prepare for a trip to Penzance.

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