Gina’s Take on our 2017 Cruise (Scotland)

Gina’s Take 21 – 2017 (October) – Last Post from Tiftie – (Sounds ominous! Ed)

Well hello everyone!

Here I am again, back on board for probably our last sail of 2017!

I have come, somewhat reluctantly if I am honest! But you know sometimes, when one has to admit to being wrong, especially to your husband!! It’s a hard thing to do, but Ken promised lovely weather & good sailing.  And indeed it is, we are currently sailing towards Dartmouth, having left Plymouth at 8am this morning!

It was rather chilly then & grey, but having just sailed past Start Point Lighthouse in brilliant sunshine, 20kts of wind, we are flying towards Dartmouth!

We plan to stay a couple of nights, go ashore & shop, explore, eat!! before returning home, to Plymouth on Friday.

Ken as usual is in his element & I must say, I’m feeling relaxed & calm! What a great way to end our year of adventures!  Plans for next year are under way.
Tiftie comes out of the water for the winter on 1st November until next April or Easter anyway!

Looking forward to seeing you all on the golf course or tennis court in due course!

Best wishes GK&T xx

Gina’s Take 20 – 2017 – A Perfect Ending

St Mawes – arrived there after our long passage of nearly 30 hrs & 149nm!!!

It was a beautiful evening, just a few yachts at anchor.  Showered on board, G&T in hand, it was time to just relax & enjoy this glorious summer’s evening.

We sat in the cockpit & really enjoyed our meal & wine, the wind had died off, the water was still, perfect!

Thursday 6th July

Ken & I first met some 12 years ago on July 6th, at the sailing club!  We arrived home (Plymouth) in 2015, after our sail round the UK, on 6th July! And indeed, we would arrive in Plymouth today, on 6th July, Bubbly is in the fridge, all ready & waiting to celebrate!

Leaving St Mawes around 9.15, we were soon able to sail in a perfect north-westerly wind of anything between 14 &18kts, but downwind.

Along the way we nosed into small harbours & bays, just making the most of this fabulous weather. Wall to wall sunshine, blue sky, perfect wind & sea state, who could ask for anything more. Shorts & t-shirts, only the 3rd time out in 9 weeks, I’m definitely making the most of it.

We were even able to peek at the tv, for me Wimbledon & Ken the Tour de France!!

We should be in Plymouth, early evening, we are in no hurry, this is sailing at its best!

6.06!! Berthed in Plymouth, we are home!  Lovely long shower, glass of wine & watch the Federa match.

Looking back over the last 9 weeks, at the highlights & the lows! We have really enjoyed our sail, sometimes it’s been a challenge & other times it’s been amazing. We have missed family & friends, golf, tennis & home. But we will catch up with everything!

So here we are at the end of our journey, we have sailed some 1749 nm in 310hrs!!

Tomorrow, cleaning Tiftie & packing up, then home !

Bye from Gina & Ken & Tiftie! Xx

Gina’s Take 19 – 2017 – The Best ’til last

Tuesday 4th June – Dale is so beautiful in the morning sunshine, hang on, did I just mention sunshine ? Well, yes I did, it was indeed a beautiful morning!!
We breakfasted in the cockpit, the full works, under blue sky & it was so good to feel the warmth on your skin!

Having checked tide times & wind direction, Ken suggested that we head off about midday, so that we could get a good percentage of the Bristol Channel under our belt, so to speak.

Now for those of you who were reading my blog in 2014 & 15, you may remember we had two rather horrid crossings of the Bristol Channel! It’s not my favourite night crossing by a long shot!!

When we stated 9 weeks ago, we had a very easy passage to Dale from lands end, what would today bring??

I should not have worried, firstly the sea was very calm & we had enough wind & good tide to sail our planned course. It was a glorious day, no clouds just continued blue sky & sunshine!

Added to this the dolphins were extremely active all the way across, they spent hrs on & off, playing in our bow wake, darting under Tiftie & then jumping out of the water.  They would suddenly rush away from us & then charge back, so wonderful to watch!  We photographed them & we both spent time on the bow just watching them!

As the sun was slowing going down the moon was already high, directly ahead of us, the sky remained cloudless.
We sat & ate supper in the cockpit, sailing along, watching the beautiful sunset & the dolphins, just magical.

We take it in turns to do our watch, along with the dolphins, still playing beside us in the moonlight, whilst the other one rests & tries to sleep! It’s amazing, just 1-2 hrs & you feel rested. Added to the fact it was a very relaxing passage!

The night sky, when cloudless is amazing at sea, no light pollution. The moon was very bright & left a silver path across the water. When you look up, it’s incredible as you see galaxy after galaxy of stars & planets.  Very thought provoking at 1am in the morning, alone on the helm!!

We were headed for the Cornish coast line, to reach there by dawn, then sail down to lands end & round the corner.     The faint glow of the shore began to appear.  First light stated coming up around 3.30am, but not really light until 5ish. It was promising to be another lovely day, whoopee! We have finally found summer after 9 weeks!!

We may continue on to Plymouth, it would be another 100 odd miles, another long day & night ! We will see how it goes, at the moment we are motor sailing bathed in sunshine & enjoying the spectacular Cornish coastline!

Bye for now GK&T xx

Gina’s Take 18 –  2017 – Long Haul Sailing

Phew, once Ken gets in to his ‘Homeward Bound Mode’ there is no stopping him!!

Just completed our 3rd mammoth sail in the last 5 days!

Islay to Bangor, Bangor to Holyhead, then yesterday Holyhead to Dale, 117nm 18.5hrs.

It was a really good passage, great wind & direction plus good sea state, until we reached Ramsey Island, light was falling, when it decided to rain, which then turned in to thick sea mist. Despite this, we continued our passage through Ramsey Sound & then across the bay towards Jack Sound & Skoma Island! Not going through Jacks Sound at night, quite narrow, lord if rocks & strong currents, so we detoured round the outlying Islands, was that a good idea?? Not sure, took much longer & now we had a large passenger ferry bearing down on us!
The Port Office called us up the VHF Radio, to ask us to stay well clear, but once we explained our destination, they were happy! The ferry also called us up & we heard them discussing our position with the Port office, she was lit up like a Christmas tree & passed well in front of us, into Milford Haven. The captain thanked us & we duly followed in, making our way in the inky darkness towards Dale Harbour.

Once in Dale we needed to be carful as boats on moorings would not have any lights on & boats at anchor, should have a light on, the very top of the mast! We have a large search light on board, which we use to check what lay ahead, with no moon or stars, just inky blackness, it’s not easy, but with the chart plotter, Ken knew where the anchorage area was, however a couple of yachts had no anchor warning lights on. We laid our anchor & once settled we could relax! A quick drink & bed!

Tomorrow was my worst part of the journey to come, the Bristol Channel !

But that’s tomorrow’s problem

Bye fir now GK&T xx

Gina’s Take 17 – 2017 – Crossing the Irish Sea

Saturday 1st July – Unlike our crossing over to Ireland in May, in flat calm sea, blue sky & sunshine, today was going yes be quite different!

Up at 5.30 am, it was a beautiful sunny morning, cool, but  in the marina hardly a breath of wind. 6am, quietly, we left our berth & motored out into the bay, quite a few boats were also on the move, main sail up, then the genoa & we were motor sailing, inching,  that bit closer to home!

Even though the sun was up, a rare occurrence, it was still bitterly cold, obviously summer has not reached the Irish coastline yet, felt much more like winter!

The forecast was 12/15 kts but increasing !  But also moving round from a south westerly to a north westerly! Gradually the wind freshened & the waves get bigger. By 2pm, close to the south of the Isle of Man, we were experiencing 20/22kts with gusts up to 24. The sea was by now quite large. Every 5th wave would come over the bows as Tiftie plunged off the top of one large wave in to the trough & the next wave would break over her bow!!

With reefed in sails we kept going, we had miles to go, a total of 100+nm would see us in Holyhead at about midnight!!

I have been trying to find the right description of how it feels on board in these conditions!
One would not choose to sail in these conditions, but on long passages, conditions change, not always for the better.

Permanently on a 20 degree angle, plus the movement of the boat from waves & wind, makes the simplest task so much harder & very irritating!
The cooker is on gimbals, so moves with the boat, but trying to make coffee or tea can be really challenging, let alone cook anything, hard enough to make a snack! Try going to the loo, if we don’t laugh, I don’t know quite what we would do?

It’s now 6.30 pm, we sailed for more than 12 hrs, & we still have at least 6 more hrs to go!! Urgh! Ken swaps places with me, so I can come below & warm up! I have resorted to my warm long johns, thick socks, hats, gloves & neck warmer, is it really summer??

There is no let up in this current weather, the bang as she crashes down another wave is quite alarming!

8pm, we finally see a slight change in the wind direction & on the far horizon to our right, we can see patches of blue sky!
It will still take us at least 3/4 hrs to reach the marina, by which time it will be dark!
Having got used to the long days & short nights of the North, we will now have the reverse!
The tide & wind are in our favour, but unbelievably we now have 24kts, however making fantastic progress, should be along side by 11pm, ish!
The light has gone, but we know the harbour & with our instruments we inch our way to our berth, we had been told to go the pontoon B & berth next to a yacht called Rebell! Using our searchlight, we find our slot, still blowing, we come along side, phew what a long day. 102nm in 17hrs!!! We have a quick supper & shower, then bed, exhausted, mentally & physically!!

Ken has kindly said I can go home from here, by train or hire a car, he will stay with the boat, until better weather fills in. I have refused, we both go home or we both stay, there is no way I’m leaving him on his own to sail her home single handed !!

We both agree, even though we have loved it, this is our last sail to Scotland.  It is so far & the weather is too unpredictable, there is no other way to get there by yacht,  other than these long passages! Exhausted !  Camper van next time!

Good bye for now GK&T xxx

Gina’s Take 16 – 2017 – Titanic Experience

Friday 30th June – My grandsons 7th birthday! Where have the last 7 years gone? Sad not to be there, but I’ll make it up to him.

Having woken quite early again,  to yet another grey & windy day, indeed more than yesterday, apparently 36kts!! So glad we were not out in that!

We caught the train into Belfast, to visit the Titanic Experience, it is housed in an amazing building on the docks, full of the history of Belfast Docks, the people & of course the ship building! Titanic being the main theme. Well worth a visit, if you are in the area! Incredible photos & video footage too, of that era.

GK&T xx

Gina’s Take 15 – Leaving Port Ellen

Wednesday 27th June
It looked like a beautiful day, & indeed it was, sadly for us the wind was blowing in the wrong direction, an easterly still blowing strong, the sea state was not good for our passage south. We resigned ourselves to yet another day lost, so got on with necessary jobs, went shopping etc, etc, & relaxed, read books & the paper!
It’s certainly been a different summer up here to the one you have all been enjoying!

We woke early on Thursday morning & all was quiet & still, let’s go! The forecast was a northerly, blowing 15/20kts & once we passed Mull of Kintyre, the tide would be with us for 6 hrs!
We very quickly & quietly left our berth at 5am, it felt good to be moving again, sails up & out into the bay, tide against us, fir the time being, but in a few hrs it would turn in our favour!
We were not the only ones on the move, 3 more yachts also left not long after us!

It was slow progress at 1st & rain was also forecast. We had to negotiate the shipping lanes, but the tree vessels that were in it passed behind us.  It was so cold, what with a northern wind & rain blowing up the stern! I made us lovely porridge with honey & whiskey, just what one needs to warm you up!
The tide turned in our favour, the winds got stronger & it was pouring down, visibility was reduced too. I went below & Ken remained on the helm, we swapped occasionally, when he needed to go below, but he was very stoic.
The waves increased as did the wind even further, Ken recorded 30/34 kts at times.  I kept up the hot drinks & snacks to keep him going! I called ahead to Bangor marina, they had a berth for us & if we called again as we were approaching the marina, they would be on stand by to take our lines!! She said it’s rather windy inside!! We knew I thought, she should be out here.
In really strong winds, you have to turn the boat into wind, in order to get the sails away!! Sounds simple but not quite so in practice! Once turned to face it the waves are breaking over the bow & the noise of the flapping sail is quite frightening.
But we did it, although not as neat as usual, it could be sorted out later!
Our next problem was getting in safely past the breakwater, we were going in, the same direction as the wind & waves! They were crashing on the breakwater, again Ken with experience knows how to handle it, but with 30kts still blowing it’s quite ‘Exciting’!!
Once inside it was safe for me to get fenders in place & all the mooring lines, we knew where our berth was & three marina staff were there to catch us!!

Phew what a day!! One more step closer to home, we would be here at least two nights, until it all dies down.

Bangor has lovely facilities & is a nice place to be. We may take the train to visit Belfast, but that’s tomorrow’s tale!!

Bye for now GK&T xx

Gina’s Take 14 – Homeward Bound

Sunday 25th June
Homeward bound, well, sort of!! Still a long way to go, but looking at the weather for the next few days, we have to press on & move south!
Our next stop will be Mallaig, in order to refuel, fresh water & buy fresh supplies for the boat.
That was our plan, but as they say, ‘best laid plans’ ha ha!
Food – yes
Wine -yes
Fresh water – yes
Fuel – er, no!! Not open on Sunday & yachts don’t have priority! Only can get it in cans!! We needed at least 100 litres!!

We left early next morning as we wanted to motor over to Eigg, Muck & Rum, Islands south of Skye! Perfect day for sight seeing & photography.  They look so small & rather dull from a distance, however, they are all quite different & beautiful. So isolated though & yet people live on them, a totally different way of life, not one I fancy! Lovely today in the sunshine, but I should imagine so hard in the bad weather & the winter!

Constantly reassessing our situation & plans, we decide to motor back down to Oban, having called ahead, they have fuel & a berth for us, perfect! There is hardly any wind today, not enough to sail, so 30nm takes about 6 hrs!!
We should be in Oban by 9pm & refuel Tuesday morning!

Tuesday morning, woke to find really strong winds & rain, lashing it down! After refuelling we commence our sail towards Isla, Port Ellen. It was quite a good sail, but as we approaching Isla, so were 3 other yachts! The little marina was only small & given the weather conditions & time of day, the race was on!!!

I have never yacht raced before, unlike Ken, & one needs nerves of steel!  The approach to Port Ellen is quite tight, as there are numerous out lying rocks! We only had the genoa out (the fore sail) & the engine was on too .
Ken increased the power on the engine & I was told to tighten the sail! We were approaching the channel from the right, whereas the closest yacht to us was bearing down on our left hand side. He obviously had the same idea, & was also increasing speed!! However, we were on a starboard tack, it was our right of way.
The rocks were getting closer & we would have to do a quick right hand turn, once round the rocks & get rid of the sail at the right time!
I have never shaken so much! We did it, but the yacht behind was still bearing down on us! I had looked through the binoculars & saw that there were only one or two berths left! I quickly got all the mooring lines in place & fenders out, in order to be ready to jump off onto the jetty. Hooray, we won!!! Still shaking we tied up along side, laughing & trying to calm down. At least 4 more yachts came in after us, but we had the best berth. The others were all rather tight!

Exhausted, we put the kettle on & had a nice drink, followed by a stiff gin!!

All the best for now

GK&T x

Gina’s Take 13 – 2017 – Worst Nightmare

Trying to sleep, when you feel sea sick in your bed, is not much fun!
Around 2pm, feeling I can’t take much more, I’m up, watching as the waves are breaking over the jetties, every boat is being thrown about & gradually lights coming on, & heads appearing from below!

3am, we are both up on deck, as many were around us.  Ken on the pontoon trying to recover our fenders, which due to the wind & sea state are jammed under it!! Nothing protecting the boat from the constant rubbing of the jetty! The noise of the wind & rain lashing down was quite stressful! Ken says it will give me B&C! & I will look back on it as a great experience! Um, I’m not so sure!
Back on board I sleep in the main cabin, eventually. Both of us have one ear open, just in case, when I looked at the instruments it was recording 34/35kts!

Morning eventually came & we both decided as the weather was not getting any better, we would definitely stay the night away!

We had a beautiful drive north, following the old coast road, it was tremendous, for the most part single track road with passing places, but all quite tight! Long, blind, hairpin bends overlooking the dramatic coast line below or land locked lochs. They were really beautiful, almost like a Monet painting, as many of the fresh water lochs were covered in beautiful water lilies !
Amazingly, lots of camper vans use it too, almost impossible for them too reverse, so I did!
We were headed back to Lochinver as we knew there was a hotel & some B&B’s!
Arriving in town, we drive up the rather impressive driveway to the 1st hotel, it was a 6 star with very expensive cars in the car park! I enquired if they had a double room for the night, “yes” came the reply from the ratter enormous man behind the desk! “How much?” I asked, “£240 madam & £45 per head for the meal with out wine!” & not even a sea view!!
“Ok, I’ll just check with husband” came my reply!
Well of course we were not staying there!!
We drove round & found a lovely B&B with splendid sea views & full Scottish breakfast £80, for us both!
We ate in the local Bistro, fresh scallops & venison, fabulous! Just as we were about to start, three sailors walked in, to my surprise an acquaintance from
Stone Allerton was the 3rd sailor. They joined us & we had a very good evening! Such a small world!

The next day we continued our drive north towards Cape Wrath, again on the old coastal road, which was again single track most of the way.  The coastline was spectacular, stunning, breathtaking & dramatic, all rolled into one, glorious white sand beaches & crystal clear sea! So glad we were not out at sea today, large breaking waves & white horses as far as the eye could see!  Huge waves breaking on the rocks & beaches. We drove to John O’Groats & then down the east coast in stunning sunshine albeit really windy!
Retiring to Tiftie, and wet dull weather, but at least the strong winds had passed through!
I was shattered having driven for the past two days, (Ken thinks about 300 miles but to be confirmed!). I think I fell asleep immediately, unfortunately, sprawled over the whole bed, not leaving him much space! There was no waking me!

Bye for now GK&T

Gina’s Take 12 – 2017 – No Room at Mallaig

Thursday 22nd June!!
Sitting here at 7pm on Wednesday evening, listening the rain battering down & the wind howling through the rigging, you probably wouldn’t blame me, if I said I would quite like to be at home, right now!!

At least the rain is washing all the saltwater off, saving me a job!

However,  Having slept in this morning after our long passages yesterday, we woke to a warm, calm morning, just for a moment.  With lots of activity all around us, as boats were arriving or leaving, trying to decide if they could get far enough, before the ‘Gale’ hits’ !!
It was still coming & after making a couple of phone calls to Mallaig, where they had no free berths, we have decided to stay!  We are not tucked up as much as we would prefer, but definitely more protected than being on a mooring or at anchor, I really would not sleep a wink if we were!

We have decided to hire another car, picking it up at 10am Friday morning, then we are free to roam for the next 48hrs, we will take an overnight bag, & then if we find somewhere nice to stay over we will!  We can now explore to our hearts content!

It’s now gone 11.30pm,
& the ‘Gale’ has arrived, tossing Tiftie, about on her mooring lines, I tentatively ask ken, “how long will it last ? ” “oh about 3 days !” Came his reply !
Oh well must try to get some sleep, at least Tiftie will rock us, If nothing else! As long as I can hear the lines graunching,  I know we are still tied along side!

Night night

GK&T xx

Gina’s Take 11- 2017 – Rounding Cape Wrath

We had a very exciting sail from Stromness back to the mainland, again much stronger wind than forecast, but a great direction for us & fairly flat sea state.  Tiftie loved it, so did we!
The wonderful thing about Scotland, are the incredible short nights, all the way over it never really got dark!  Had it been a cloudless sky, I doubt it would have not appeared dark at all. I took a photo at gone midnight & it just looks like early evening!
One hears such awful stories about rounding the top of Scotland, but each time we have sailed round, we have been very fortunate, obviously Ken always checks things 1st!

Once round Cape Wrath we only had a short way to reach KinlochBervie, but it was raining now, quite misty & poor visibility, now it felt dark, everything closed in around us! This is the time I long for it to be over, for dawn to be upon us, soon!!!
KinlochBervie is still a fishing port, & has a small pontoon for visiting yachts, well three on a hammerhead, that’s small. Ken knew there was a small bay with anchorage, so at 4am (now full daylight) we dropped our anchor. Gratefully after a 14 1/2 hr sail,  we fell into bed!! Unfortunately, some two hrs later the anchor alarm went off, both jumped out of bed, but she had purely turned on our chain!! All secure, but now I found it hard to sleep!
Around 8am, we decided to nose into the actual harbour to see if they had any space, luckily they had one!
It’s a pretty place, but like so many of these remote villages, very run down.  The fishing industry is just dying, the huge fish markets on the harbour side, lay dormant, not many boats come in & out, so all going into decline! Rotting trucks, just abandoned to rust away.
We walked around the headland, such a beautiful place but very isolated!

Next stop Lochinver, we visited here 2 yrs ago & on exactly the same dates, with almost identical weather, atrocious!!!
Chatting to the young harbour master, one gradually understands why it’s so dismal here, no on shore facilities, everything on the decline.  The main reason is the local county council!  He explained that any money they make goes directly to the CC, they spend it on other things! All very frustrating!!
Two nights were more than enough for us, so braving the weather we set off for Stornaway!!!

Bye for now GK&T xx

Gina’s Take 10 – 2017 – Back on Board

Since having left Tiftie for two weeks on a swinging mooring, in Oban, were somewhat relieved she was still there. When we left her it was rather windy!

We had two lovely weeks at home with family & friends, gardening & even some golf !!

But now having been back on her for 10 days, we have as usual covered lots of ground!
Our intention had been on our return to sail out & around Skye!    Then the Hebrides, round the top of Cape Wrath, then the Orkney Islands & down to Inverness to commence the Caledonian Canal.  However, Mother Nature had other ideas & so we change plans & headed straight for Fort William.

It’s was a wet & gloomy day, no splendid scenery but the quicker we arrived at the sea lock the better, they knew we were coming & held the lock for us. Why ? You may ask, because there are so many locks to get through, the more boats they can do together the better!

The canal was very relaxing, after the initial couple of locks, which can be quite tricky, but we soon got the hang of it!

The canal is some 60 miles long, ending at Inverness but passing through Loch Lochy & Loch Ness.

Travelling along the canal is very pleasant & people waking along the tow path wave & even strike up conversations as you slowly motor by! Rewarding views from the lochs & tree lined avenues from the canal.
We enjoyed lovely moorings, quiet & peaceful, just us & the nature around us. Such long nights up here, I find I’m waking at 3.30 dawn & still wide awake at 11.30pm!!
Amazing sunsets & sunrises, truly beautiful.
The best surprise was bumping into old friends of Ken’s. We passed them, heading in different directions, we did not recognise them, but they took a double take.!!  Ros, googled ken & then the boat, rang ahead to the bridge keeper, to ask us to wait, as they were heading back to us!
We ended up having a lovely evening with them, bid them goodbye in the early hrs the following morning!
We reached the end of the canal & returned to the open sea! It was a foul day but our destination was Wick! Some 80nm away, some 14hrs!!!
We did it, arriving in Wick at around 10.30pm on Saturday night.

We were welcomed in by the very kind harbour master, who had stayed on for us. We had two nights in Wick, which compared to our previous visit, two years ago, is undergoing lots of renovation. In another two years time, it will be really interesting to see it!

Monday mid-morning we had the right winds 12-15kts, right tides to take us over to the Orkney Islands.

Time & time again the forecasts could not be more different! We had a strong 22kts, great sailing, we had to shorten them but gusting at times 23-24!

Arriving at the Orkneys was lovely, the wind calmed down & we motored for a while. With about 10 miles to go the wind filled in & we sailed again.  Relaxing & feeling fine, we were both shocked to hear a loud Bang!! What the hell, had we hit something?? But it was our mainsail, the clew that pulls out the sail, all the fixings had broken! We now had the task of getting the main away, not an easy job in wind, consequently it went in all ragged & jammed!
You can imaging our thoughts !
Would there be a sailmaker on the island, could we get the blasted thing out again?
Anyway arriving in Stomness, we berthed her & relaxed for a moment.

We did manage to visit some of the local interests here but the sail was most important!

We were given a name of a local guy who might be able to help us & then as luck had it, our neighbouring boat had been through a similar experience. He had the kit for Ken to mend it.  Some 150 stitches later, & quite a few hrs it was done! Should last us until we get home!

So, now 1.15pm on Wednesday 14th June we are ready to head back to Scotland, our only chance of leaving, if not today, we are stuck here until Monday or Tuesday, strong wind due & wrong directions too!  That’s life, so looks like a night sail ahead of me !!!

See you on the other side!!

Gina & Ken & Tiftie! Xx

Gina’s Take 9 – 2017 – Leaving little paradise

What a peaceful & relaxing night we had, supper in the cockpit, watching the most beautiful sunset go down over the water, the wind gradually died, leaving just a gentle breeze!  Looking directly west of us over our stern, we could see the islands of Muck, Eigg & Rum with the towering mountains of Skye behind. They were shrouded in cloud & too far away for me to really capture them on camera, but visually they were a spectacular sight!

The seals had stated to move off the rock as the little rise in tide came in & were playing in the bay!  Try as hard as I could, it was almost impossible to capture this on camera! I had my extra long lenses, but they were so quick!

However I did capture some beautiful shots of the sunset. Oh I love my camera & cannot wait to learn even more about it.

After a leisurely cooked breakfast, in our little piece of paradise, seals returning to their sunspot, it was time to leave.  We joked about the little ruined cottage on the shoreline, how we could buy it & renovate it!! Most beautiful spot, if a little remote!

Our anchorage had held brilliantly, why? Well on pulling it up, masses of kelp came too!  Heading out to sea again, sad to leave, we were going to have a day of exploring. In 2015, we missed places out, either due to weather or time! So this trip we were determined to visit them.

Rounding the headland of Mull we sailed down the Sound of Mull, with  Ardnamurchan on our port side. Amazing coastline with huge hills rising from the waters edge, looked like green velvet fields with craggy outcrops of granite as they rise up. We were heading for Loch Sunart, an enormous Loch some 10 miles long! It twist & turns, round little Islands, with each turn or twist revealing another breathtaking view!  I have taken so many photos, thank goodness for digital cameras!

We could definitely see ourselves living here!  I think I have run out of words, expressions or superlatives to describe this amazing country. So unspoilt, so green, so breathtakingly beautiful.

One is moved by the vastness of it all!

Gently sailing or motoring down the Loch I make us lunch, ( why do we get so hungry??)

Almost at the end we heard back to explore just one more place, Loch na Droma Buidhe or Loch Drumbuie! You enter through a very narrow Chanel, large rock faces on either side, once through it opens up to a beautiful round bowl shape bay, only 4 yachts at anchor today but apparently it is jammed packed in the summer months !

Photo below, us leaving the Loch Drumbuie, quite narrow with underwater hazards!


Not my photo but the Loch at sunset


Across the bay was Tobermory, we visited here before, such a pretty town. All the houses along the waterfront are brightly painted in different colours, the sun was shining & it looked very inviting.  Only a small marina here, but such a beautiful spot! Really strange, hardly any seagulls but lots of other lovely birdsong & the stealth like heron fishing behind us in the banks.

We now set about trying to find our way home, leaving the boat somewhere safe, catching a train to Glasgow & then on to the air port to fly home! So simple but oh so complicated !

Firstly, trying to find a place for Tiftie for a week, either they were already full, or won’t allow you to leave the boat unattended! I rang several places, same answer or no answer.  Obviously we could not book in advance as we did not know how far we would have travelled!

Anyway Oban marina came to our rescue, under new ownership & really helpful. They had a visitor berth for us & then had visitor moorings for the time we required! Brilliant, sorted.

We had a really good brunch & made ready to leave, the heavens opened up, it poured down so much, you could hardly see past the end of the harbour! Yuck!

But eventually we had to leave rain or no rain & set off to Oban.  It brightened up & we even managed to sail, love to turn the engine off! Peace!

Bye for now GK&T

Gina’s Take 8 – 2017 – Little Paradise

Leaving Loch Tarbert at 5.30 as Ken felt unhappy about the anchor digging in, the wind was filling in & we were in quite shallow water!

I took the helm & with Kens help guided Tiftie out into the open water. It was difficult as one had to navigate the twists & turns of the Loch, but the only way for me to really learn, by ‘hands on’!

It was not a great start, really cold, lumpy sea state & not much wind to drive her through the waves! I was a little grumpy, as I had hoped we would have a relaxed breakfast, before setting off!

We headed over to Colonsay, but with wind & tide, anchoring was not a good plan. Rounding the headland of Colonsay, we experienced our 1st taste of the Atlantic swell, really large waves rolling in but more wind & she drove through them comfortably, large troughs & highs, sometimes losing your horizon.

Mull & Iona were our next places to sail by. Mull is an enormous island next to the petite island of Iona. The sound was quite calm & we had a beautiful sail, passing Iona Abbey, which was a very substantial building!
Through the sound & Staffa Island was in view, famous for Fingals cave, & Mendalsons music. It looked so small in the distance with the tall hills & mountains of Mull as it’s back drop.  Also way off in the distance we could make out the Treshnish Islands, most peculiar in shape & size. Large flat plat tows either side of sharp tall mounds.

Gradually we could see Fingals cave more clearly. There is an anchorage for yachts & you can go ashore & walk along the waters edge & enter the cave.  Not many would fancy it today as constant waves were breaking on the rocks by the path.  Really not suitable for us either to anchor.  Ken took us in as close as possible so we could get some stunning photos. We motored round the island & to our delight, a large group of puffins were on the water, some diving for fish & eels, others just breaking the water with beaks full.  I was thrilled to get some photos!

On we went, sails back up, towards the top west headland of Mull, to our port side & off our bows were the islands of Coll, Muck, Eigg & Rum.

We were headed for a very quiet & small Loch, called Loch a’ Chumhainn!

There was an anchorage towards to middle of the loch, with a large out crop of rock to our starboard side!  Anchor dropped & holding I noticed some movement on the rock, lots of movement, there were lots of seals, all hauled out on the rocks & kelp, basking in the sun, all different shapes & sizes & colours. Calling & squabbling with each other.  Oyster catchers dashing here & there on the wing, noisily calling in flight.  The wind settled & it was just beautiful. We had found a little paradise!

Bye for now GK&T

Gina’s Take 7 – 2017 – Leaving West Loch Tarbert, Jura

Leaving Loch Tarbert at 5.30 as Ken felt unhappy about the anchor digging in, the wind was filling in & we were in quite shallow water!

I took the helm & with kens help guided Tiftie out into the open water. It was difficult as one had to navigate the twists & turns of the Loch, but the only way for me to really learn, by ‘hands on’!

It was not a great start, really cold, lumpy sea state & not much wind to drive her through the waves! I was a little grumpy, as I had hoped we would have a relaxed breakfast, before setting off!

We headed over to Colonsay, but with wind & tide, anchoring was not a good plan. Rounding the headland of Colonsay, we experienced our 1st taste of the Atlantic swell, really large waves rolling in but more wind & she drove through them comfortably, large troughs & highs, sometimes losing your horizon.

Mull & Iona were our next places to sail by. Mull is an enormous island next to the petite island of Iona. The sound was quite calm & we had a beautiful sail, passing Iona Abbey, which was a very substantial building!
Through the sound & Staffa Island was in view, famous for Fingals cave, & Mendalsons music.  It looked so small in the distance with the tall hills & mountains the Mull as it’s back drop.  Also way off in the distance we could make out the Treshnish Islands, most peculiar in shape & size. Large flat plat tows either side of sharp tall mounds.

Gradually we could see Fingals cave more clearly. There is an anchorage for yachts & you can go ashore & walk along the waters edge & enter the cave.  Not many would fancy it today as constant waves were breaking on the rocks by the path.  Really not suitable for us either to anchor.  Ken took us in as close as possible so we could get some stunning photos. We motored round the island & to our delight, a large group of puffins we’re on the water, some diving for fish & eels, others just breaking the water with beaks full.  I was thrilled to get some photos!

On we went, sails back up, towards the top west headland of Mull, to our port side & off our bows were the islands of Coll, Muck, Eigg & Rum.

We were headed for a very quiet & small Loch, called Loch a’ Chumhainn! There was an anchorage towards to middle of the loch, with a large out crop of rock to our starboard side!  Anchor dropped & holding I noticed some movement on the rock, lots of movement, there were lots of seals, all hauled out on the rocks & kelp, basking in the sun, all different shapes & sizes & colours. Calling & squabbling with each other.  Oyster catchers dashing here & there on the wing, noisily calling in flight.  The wind settled & it was just beautiful.

Bye for now GK&T

Gina Take 6 – 2017 – Goodbye Ballycastle, hello Scotland

Tuesday 16th May – our 8th wedding anniversary! 

We had abandoned the idea of Belfast, decided we will come back & tour Ireland in the camper van! May even come back later this year! ( 4hrs or more to get there & back on the bus/train!! was enough to put us off! )

Last night the wind kept blowing & blowing, rain lashing down on Tiftie, I could not sleep, couldn’t get comfy, just tossed & turned!

Eventually dawn broke & it was a good time to have tea!  We exchange cards, so why is this so significant, well on  previous trips, Ken has always remembered the day, but forgets the card! He always reads my card to him,  back to me, changing the text here & there. Always makes me smile, but came up trumps this year with a beautiful card.

We had a lovely cooked breakfast in the sunshine with bucks-fizz! Lovely start to the day !

This beauty arrived in the early hrs. She was also here 2 years ago! From Holland .
There was a good weather window opportunity & we were going to take it!  Refuelled, we set off for Islay, Port Ellen.

Visibility & wind conditions were perfect. We had amazing views all round, the coast of Scotland to our right, Mull of Kintyre, Ratlin Island just off our port side.  Ahead we could make out the islands of Islay & Dura, with her big mountains, dominating the horizon !

Ratlin island is a bird sanctuary & you immediately notice so much more bird life. On the water & the wing. Large groups of Ganets, flying in formation, just skimming the water & all taking their flight from the lead bird. Really fascinating to watch & observe how they bank & curl through the air. Little Terns, diving for fish. Yet again we were the only vessel out here.

Occasionally in our stern wake, dolphins rose & played, but not for long, too busying catching fish!

We had a brilliant sail to Islay & Ken had a lovely surprise for me. He had called ahead & booked a table at ‘Sea Salt’ a little restaurant in town!

We had a lovely meal & it felt really nice to ‘dress up’ ! Also rather nice not to have to cook, but we have had some great meals aboard.

Woke to blue sky & sunshine, had a quick walk & bought produce from the local shops. All very friendly & welcoming.

Islay is of course famous for its 8 distilleries, soon to become 9! They have been producing whiskey here for 200 years, but it’s s huge business now.
The village of Ellen, was named after the Laird, Walter Frederick Campbell’s  wife, Ellinor.
The square Lighthouse is rather interesting but has a sad history as he built it to commemorate her death from a strange illness in 1832!
It still stands proudly today, guiding you safely into port!

The port went from illicit smuggling & distilling to a legal distillery, 3public houses & licensed retail shops, as  the steam packets starting coming from Glassgow or West Loch Tarbert.

Now leaving the Islay & sailing up its east coastline, which has numerous outlying craggy rocks, all topped with seabirds & other long lines of rocks, like gnarled fingers stretching out from the shore line in to the water!
Looking towards shore you see the lovely rolling hills of Islay gradually rising up towards the mountains, where perfect to collect all that precious water, that comes tumbling down to make the whiskey!!

We are heading to Dura, to anchor in West Loch Tarbert ! We will be sailing up the Dura sound, which is renowned for its strong currents & tides! No joking either as we are just off the sound, the weather changes, wind fills in, up to 27kts & rain too.

As quick as it arrived it stops !
We have a lovely passage up the Sound, passing more distilleries along the way. On Islay more dense woodland compared to Dura’s very barren landscape, the occasional cottage, isolated from anywhere & anybody. The huge mountains ‘Paps of Dura’ rise up, shrouded in the misty rain, looking grey and uninviting!

Eventually we enter Loch Tarbert, its 7 miles long & for once we are not alone, two other yachts are heading in too.

The occasional seal pops his head up, along with Shags & little Terns. One immediately feels relaxed.  Having negotiated the hazardous rocks we zigged & zagged to our anchorage.
Now at anchor, it’s hard to describe in a few worlds but it’s just perfect! Wine poured & supper cooking, there is peace all around. No tide or wind, just the call of birds & even a cuckoo. We sit, relax & read !! Pure bliss.

Bye for now G&T xx

Gina’s Take 5 – 2017 – Storms they be a’coming (G doesn’t use the Beaufort Scale – Ed)

Sunday 14th May – woke to rather beautiful blue sky & a gentle breeze!! Quite relaxing after yesterday’s fiasco!

We did not need to set out until after midday, which gave us time to have a wander ashore.  Fantastic facilities at this marina too, showers spotless & wonderfully hot water!

Bangor is has a very pretty water front & the land surrounding the marina is beautifully kept.  Sunken gardens & numerous water features, paths winding through here & there. Leading to a lido, where there were quite a few radio controlled, miniature boats & one rather attractive yacht. There was also a miniature railway, running through the gardens. Lots for family entertainment.  Ken had picked up a ‘Historical Guide’ of the town, which we enjoyed very much.

After a quick stop to buy wine, & champs ( it’s our wedding anniversary on Tuesday !) plus some other fresh bits & bobs, it was time to make tracks for our next destination, Glenarm, Only 22nm miles, but with the forecasts not looking good we needed to press on.

Back out in open water, we had a great sail, 9kts over the ground, Tiftie was flying. Visibility was brilliant too, so we had wonderful views of the coastline.
Ireland really is a beautiful country, and the views never stop pleasing you. Sometimes gentle rolling hills drift down to the waters edge or cathedral like cliffs, tower above the waters edge, where seabirds cover the nooks & crannies!
Velvet green patchwork fields with yellow gorse adding to the glory.

We passed the very pretty seaside village of Whitehead, all the Cottages & houses painted in different colours & Blackhead Lighthouse, sitting rather majestically on the cliff top. Not far from here we passed one stretch of coast line, which went from gentle rolling hills to dramatic cliffs & caves at water level. I noticed first a group of canonists, who had gone ashore, then there was a walkway leading to a bridge, then another & another, each linked with rock walks, all the way along the edge of the cliffs, above high water level. It was near Larne! It’s call ‘The Gobbins’

Definitely worth looking up!
I love lighthouses & their history, so I was particularly interested in two lighthouses, perched on huge rocks, fascinating history tinged with sadness ! Look up the link below.
We were by now having such a great sail & covering such good ground in great time, we decided to carry on the extra 20nm, to Ballycastle, we had stayed there in 2015, sheltered from bad weather back then.
So on we pressed & arrived around 7pm, the harbour master had allocated us a berth.
It was really calm & hard to believe the forecast 8 or 9 was coming!!  However gradually during the evening the winds starting picking up, raining & Tiftie pulling on her lines. Always a satisfying sound, the ‘grauncing’, you know you are still tied on!!
Balleycastle has a beautiful bay with a long sweeping curve of beach! Crowned by this headland, as seen below!  (Photo taken from web.  Ed)

image1.jpegBye for now G&T xx

Gina’s Take 4 – 2017 – Didn’t we have a lovely day, the day we went to Bangor

Leaving wet & rather smelly Ardglass behind, we slipped our lines & headed back out through the narrow channel to the sea.

It was again cold & grey & threatening more rain!  We were on our way up the coast to Bangor. The wind was right behind us, tide was with us & visibility was now perfect! Even the sun was trying to come out, but still very cold.

With just the large genoa ( the fore sale) we were sailing along beautifully, averaging 6-8kts over ground & with gusts up to 26kts, Tiftie was flying.  For once we had a perfect view of the rather picturesque shore line the whole way.
Lovely bays & villages hugging the shore line with gentle hills rising in the background.  Some areas reminded me of our French trip last year, where the little French villages came down almost to the waters edge!

A great days sailing, Bangor was only 1/2 a mile away, time to get the sails down, what could possibly go wrong???

Well, me letting go the wrong line too early on the main sail, didn’t help. Especially as the wind was now gusting even stronger.  We have ‘In Mast Reefing’ which means the whole sale winds up, inside the mast! But just sometimes it can go horribly wrong. If not careful it gets jammed, always in difficult conditions & always when we are somewhat tired!!

We decided to anchor in the bay, head her into wind & pull out the sail to straighten it up!
Jammed & not bugging plus the anchor would not hold. We headed in to the marina, looking ratter sorry for ourselves, sails not furled away properly & flapping! The wind kept gusting & to top it off a difficult berth to manoeuvre into !

Gina’s Take 3 – 2017 – 426 nm and Counting

Today is our 8th day aboard, some 426nm later, feels so much longer but we left Plymouth last Saturday morning, having arrived the night before!

Leaving Fishguard around 5am, our backdrop yet another beautiful sunrise, & setting out to sail the Irish Sea, heading for Greystones, a 3yr old marina north of Wicklow.

The last time I visited Southern Ireland I was 10! I remember a wonderful holiday spent with my parents & sister, 4 weeks touring in our Bailey caravan with dads Cirsair 2000E. Metallic blue & black roof!! All of the West, South & East coasts of Ireland & lots in between!

One hears tales of awful crossings to Ireland, but today was a perfect day, soon warming up, so that all we needed were t-shirts & shorts. But hardly any wind, so hrs of motoring & motor sailing with occasional parts of just sail. We needed fuel & it was promised at Greystones !

In all the 15 odd hrs of our passage we hardly saw another vessel !! It’s like we have travelled into another world, so peaceful & the sea as flat as a millpond! Books to be read, lunch to be eaten, small glass of wine & all the time in the world to just, ponder !!!
Our horizons, some 10 miles away, eerily shrouded in sea mist, that you never get any closer to! As we were approaching our destination we were able to make out the headland, made doubly hard as the sun was sinking directly in our path!  Added to this, it was Wednesday evening, when most clubs have a race night.  Greystones was no different, racing was taking place, right outside the entrance to the very tight & small harbour! All you need after a long day, & to add more insult to injury, we  suddenly had 10kts of wind, now rather chilly!

Having called ahead, we knew we had a berth & Alan, the very happy & cheerful harbourmaster, helped us with a birth. Quite tight, not much room for error.

Rather tired, but happy, this was our 1st step ashore in 5 days! A nice hot shower & meal saw us off early to bed. ( no silly o’clock wake up tomorrow morning) !! Whoop whoop!

In the morning we asked where we could get fuel!! “Oh it comes by tanker” came  the reply! ” it has to be ordered”!! Oh we thought, Bugger!!!
But Alan said, we were in luck, as the tanker was due today & would be in around 10-10.30!
Alan had a funeral 1st, but assured us we would get some fuel!  10.30 came & past!  Eventually Alan & the tanker arrived about 1hr later, it had broken down ! Only problem the pipe would not reach out berth, so off we go again, move Tiftie to fuel up & then move her back again!
Eventually we were free to explore the village & walk the coastal path some 4 km to Bray, then catching train back to Greystones! It hugged the coast line & went through long tunnels!
Greystones was a real mixture, ladies dress & shoe shops similar to Wedmore or Clifton, lots of places to eat. Both extremely expensive !! £250 for a jumper!!! (I didn’t buy anything!)
We then walked around the back of the town along the seafront, it was run down, huge hotels, that in their day would have been the pride of the town, now sadly boarded up, left to rot & decay, reminds us of Weston supper mare in parts, all past their best sell by dates!

Arriving in Bray, which has a long, long walkway along the seafront, again we noticed the sad run down hotels & houses! Plus quite a few down & outs! Some strolling along the sea front, completely stoned, off their heads! Not a welcome to holiday makers!

Back on board we settled in for the evening. Nice meal, glass of wine, or two, watched a DVD. The Girl on the Train! Disappointing, I had read the book, so much better!

Up early again, a really peaceful & quiet exit from the marina, it was a dull, grey & wet, more like winter! Long johns, thick socks, warm boots, hats & neck warmers,  were the order of the day. Hot coffees & drinks to keep us warm!

We had decided to sail to Ireland so that we could explore the coast line, be enthralled with rapture over the scenery!! Ha! Mother Nature was having none of it! We sailed from Greystones to Ardglass & saw nothing for most of the 74nm! Sea, sea & more sea. Even though the shore was less than 2miles away.
Eventually after another rather rough passage, choppy sea state, Ardglass was getting closer!

The 1st thing we saw out of the mist was the Lighthouse, usually such a welcome sight! But no light to guide us in today!

We spied, as we got closer a golf course! (Well what do you expect, it’s in my blood!) it was a miserable cold evening, but there they were, on the cliff top teeing off!
The little marina at Ardglass was very useful, as it is not far off the beaten track & well protected. We arrived at low tide, and there was a very narrow channel one had to follow. No one had answered our radio call & it was half empty anyway. So we took the 1st available berth.  The state of the jettys were Disgusting !  With a capital D! The little marina was next to the fishing harbour, still very much in use. Of course you get gulls, loads of sea gulls & the jetty was just covered in seagull poo!! It stank, to the point where I refused to get off the boat. I would shower on board tonight!!
When we turned in for the night, I looked out, every conceivable part of the jetty was covered by squabbling gulls! Yuck 🤢
Next day they had all gone, but left behind was the smelly, fishy mess of waste scraps & more poo!

Get me out of here quick!!!

Bye for now G&T xx

Gina’s Take 2 – 2017 –  Leaving Hartland Point

Having travelled up the Cornish & Devon coastline, upon reaching the light house at Hartland Point, it was time to turn west, towards Lundy island.
In the mist, some way off, one could just make out the shape of the island.  Neither Ken or I had ever visited it before & we had planed to spend the night here, at anchor.  But due to a change in wind direction & sea state, our plans changed. We would instead sail past & carry on towards Dale.

We enjoyed a great sail over to Lundy & the wind really picked up. We knew that there could be ‘over falls’, theses can be quite large waves, depending on the state of the tide!  I’m lucky, because Ken always plans so far ahead, so that usually we never have to deal with really difficult passages. Unless of course the weather changes( totally out of our hands & making)
Anyway, there were overfalls & they seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see. The water charging down the Bristol Channel, hitting the island & then splitting, to pass each side of her.
It was a shame not to be able to go shore but we can always come back!!
Onwards we sailed towards Dale in Pembrokeshire, apart from a couple of other boats, we were the only ones out there. Mile after mile of sea, at one stage we had a perfect circumstance if the earth. It turned out to be a lovely afternoon & gradually the Welsh coast line came into view.
One may ask, what we do onboard, well there are always jobs to  be done, cleaning. Making coffee or lunch! And of course reading. It’s the one time I actually sit down & read!!
I had spent some time putting our new fender covers on, Tiftie looks very smart! Trouble is I don’t want to use them now!!

Eventually, we have Dale in our sights. I love this place, it’s just peaceful & tranquil! We did actually look at a house here, but it’s too far away from family & friends, a little too isolated! But perfect for our anchorage.
We were gifted by a beautiful sunset & woke to a lovely sunrise.
Up early again, to catch the tide! Sounds very familiar this? But we needed to negotiate Jacks Sound & Ramsey Sound, we have passed through them before & both have fast flowing tidal systems, which you need to get right!
Jacks sound is quite tight, lots of underwater hazards & quite large ‘Eddies’ ( whirl pool type water)!
Ken motor sailed through this one, quite exciting & then across the bay to Ramsey Sound. They have a set of rocks on the Ramsey Island side called ‘The Bitches’ ! Aptly  named as they are very nasty!
Sailing through this one, its wider & Ken assures me, not a problem!

We were headed for Fishguard!
Now as we have been at anchor the last few nights, one would think I was relaxed with anchoring!!! Not quite, some may remember our ‘Fishguard incident ‘ of two years ago! I had woken around 3am as the boat did not feel ‘right’.  It definitely was not right, but very wrong indeed! We had dragged over half the harbour, ended up by a rather large yellow marker with an equally large yellow cross on top!!! No Anchoring Here!!
Luckily for us, our anchor came up easily & we had not fowled or hit anything!
So, upon sailing into Fishguard this time, we both glanced over towards the yellow marker & determined we would not be ending up there again!

With our anchorage very secure this time, it was lunch time. Glass of wine time & relaxation time, as I slept in the sunshine in the cockpit all afternoon!

Good nights sleep & another really early start, 5am we were off again, heading across the Irish Sea!!

Bye for now G&T xx

Gina’s Take 1 – 2017

Friday 5th May 2017!
Well, here I am again, my third year on Tiftie! Always love being on board but always find leaving home hard! This year more so!
However, we have decided to break it up a little this year, & are due back for a few days at the end of May! We will leave Tiftie somewhere safe & either fly, train or hire a car to come back!
So, we are setting off for Scotland & beyond!  Leaving Spring Cottage on a lovely warm afternoon with light winds, we arrived in Plymouth to a very different day!  I would love to tell you all, it’s glorious sunshine & fair winds! But unfortunately, the winds reached 30kts, but we were soon tucked up in our bunks & still tied onto the jetty.

Saturday 6th May
Up early & filled with fuel, forward we go, heading towards Penzance for today, where we plan to anchor off the Mount, then move on towards Lundy Island on Sunday.
It was not an easy passage, a following sea, wind & rain, made it quite trying!! As always, & for no reason I can pinpoint, I feel so ill on that first day! I had thought, I had cracked it this year, as we have already been to the Scillies for Easter, a long 16hr night sail there too. But no, it loomed its head & so in the end I took to my bunk!

2hrs later, I surfaced & felt much better!

We Anchored off The Mount,  watched over by castle, lights twinkling in the evening light.  Waters all calm & just a gentle swell now, to rock us to sleep!
Because there was very little wind, we end up stern towards the ocean, which means a lot of slapping on the hull!! After a while, it’s very hard to lie in your berth & relax! Who needs an alarm, just have ‘Bottom Slapping’ instead!

What a difference a day makes!!! Waking to beautiful blue sky & warm sunshine, the castle was now bathed in early morning light.
Lifted anchor & motored over to Newlyn, we needed more fresh water.  Newlyn is a picturesque little harbour, small but very welcoming, as most of these Cornish harbours are. Rows of cottages, gradually rising upwards away from the harbour, on the natural contours of the land.

Onward, passing Mousehole  & the Minack theatre, really want to visit that one day & watch a play! Towards lands end & the Long Ships Lighthouse.  As we were hugging the coast, we passed inside the Lighthouse, navigating the hazards, I have a brilliant skipper.  Not long after passing through, Ken had mentioned that another sailor was attempting a single handed passage from Lands end to John O’Groats ( totally bonkers in a small open dinghy!!) lo & behold, he was just starting. We motored over to wish him luck & a safe passage! Rather him than me!! But he is doing it for a good cause.

We had hoped to stay in Padstow, but the timing & tides didn’t fit in, so as it was a calm evening, we  were able to anchor off Polzeath, usually famous for surfers, thankfully no surfing tonight! Just paddle boarders, enjoying the evening.

All these bays are so beautiful & so wonderful to see the view from the water! Another good nights sleep, but another early start, due to more ‘Bottom Slapping’!  Plus we needed to catch the tide, no point trying to ‘Plug’ the tides. (In the words of my skipper!)

We were able to motor sail, not enough wind to turn off the engine, such a shame. It’s such an amazing difference, going from the frenzy of the noisy engine, to the calming sound of just wind in your sails! She is a sail boat after all !

We had the most wonderful trip up the coast line, having left Polzeath at first light, the sun just seeping over the horizon, we sailed along watching as the villages along the way, began to appear out of the early morning mist.

Mother Nature at its best, lots of activity, large groups of birds were gathering ahead, on the water & on the wing, then ganets diving into the water, almost in formation & a pod of dolphins breaking the surface, obviously lots of fish about!

Port Isaac, shrouded in mist, then Tintagel bathed in the rising sun, really magical. Bude & Hartland Point. Quite a dramatic coast line, large craggy cliffs fall steeply into the sea, gnarled faces with twists & turns! Cavernous caves, carved out by Mother Nature.

Reaching Hartland Point Lighthouse. We said goodbye to the Devon coastline & sailed towards Lundy Island !

Bye for now G&T !
Sent from my iPhone

The Mewstone as seen from the Yealm (a short trip on the day Tiftie was put back in the water

Not sure if G will add anything, but we nipped around to the Yealm on the day that Tiftie was launched (10th April) and we cruised around the Scillies over the Easter weekend (13th to 17th April).