A cloudy, greyish start to our 5th Rest Day within seven sailing days. After breakfast on the boat, meusli, banana, yoghurt and toast with Salcombe ginger jam…. down to the hard graft. Having washed the topsides ( waterline to toe rail, the sides of the boat above the waterline ) yesterday on arrival from Salcombe, T got out the marina hosepipe again and scrubbed down all the coach roof, decks and cockpit. Much wetness everywhere…. assisted by Christine who came along behind to brush off the various piles of bird poo!!
Christine had not seen the “magic eraser” sponge in action… with added water it wipes away black scuff marks, soiled smears, little scratches and and any serious soiling off the off white coach roof. Prior to this Christine had indicated that after sitting on the boat for so long, she wished to do a “power walk” in Plymouth.
So at 12 noon we did. 16,000 steps and 7 miles later on return to the boat… we had walked from the Mayflower Marina opposite the Royal William Yard all the way into Plymouth…. along both the infamous and famous Union Street ( something to do with off duty sailors, pubs and ladies )…. to the Hoe. Wow what a vista out over Plymouth Sound, Drake’s Island and Mountbatten.
Walking along the Hoe towards the Barbican, Christine and T participated in a light lunch in a cafe overlooking the entrance to Plymouth Harbour. Christine did not enjoy her Calamari but T’s tomato soup was sumptuous. Mike had been called away for the day on family business in Buckinghamshire. Whilst Christine poked at her calamari, T gave her a quiz on the various cardinal buoys in front of the cafe!
The Barbican with its two smaller marinas, bars, cafes, restaurants plus the many touristy type shops claiming to represent indigenous culture… was passed through and back up on the Hoe… to admire the new memorial to RAF Bomber Command and to examine the statute of Sir Francis Drake. Seagulls had obviously enjoyed Mr. Drake’s hat as they had pooped and dribbled all down his face!
The Mayflower Steps were not ignored… where the Pilgrims had set sail for North America on 6th September, 1620. On landing in America, they named it “Plymouth Rock”. Amazing…. truly amazing… they crossed nearly 3,000 n.miles of open ocean with no GPS, no chart plotters, no engines, no accurate charts, no sextants, and…. no sea sick pills.
The evening was taken up with a grand meal at Jolly Jacks, where brother John and sister in law, Helen came to visit the weary sailors…. bringing cornish pasties x 3, goody bags and a variety of “eats” to go in our “greedy box”. Christine had already purchased 3 cornish pasties in the Barbican earlier…. so we now had six on board. This is called “victualling” and in a more modern sense, “refuelling.” Thus ended a varied and heart warming rest day.
Day 13, Plymouth to Falmouth, Friday 8th June, 2018.
Having retired the night before at 10.30pm, we were up at 4.30am to firstly refuel the boat with red diesel and then catch the down Channel tide for the first few hours of our sail south westwards to Falmouth.
Dawn broke at about 5am… not a brilliant sunrise like that experienced in Portland… but a grey, gloomy day and chilly too. Sailing due south out of Plymouth Sound, we turned westwards after clearing Penlee Point and Rame Head. Visibility was not good and closing in with sea fog… so for a short while, on went the automatic fog horn booming out two short and one long blast every two minutes. Traffic however, was sparse and without incident. The visibility seemed to improve and then suddenly close in.
Once again, having wanted the forecast of Force 3 to 4 winds to be true… there was no wind! Again…. began to feel like the doldrums! So we motored all 40 odd miles…. with the main sail up… to give the boat stability and to make ourselves a bigger target for other mariners to see. Alas… no wind ever made a billow in our huge mainsail … so chug chug and more chugs… all the way into Falmouth. Oh yes… two sightings of importance… sharp eyed Christine…. spotted two sets of dolphins… one at seven o’clock and then an hour later a single dolphin surfaced twice within six feet of the boat. On an earlier trip some years ago, off Falmouth, T, Rob and Josep witnessed a basking shark displaying its big black fin in these waters.
We docked at 11.20am in the Pendennis Marina in Falmouth. Total distance 41.80 nautical miles, duration 5 hours and 50 minutes. We are now in Cornwall.
Day 14, Rest Day…..Saturday 9th June 2018, Falmouth.
We woke…. some folk early, some folk later… a rest day… does it matter if you have a lie in?? What a lovely day weather wise… warm sunshine, light winds and blue, blue skies in every direction. Breakfast in the saloon… cereals, toast and various yoghurts and jams.
We were receiving visitors today at 11am… Liz and Brian from North Cornwall… teaching friends of T’s…. from way way back whilst teaching in Northamptonshire. So the Poli Poli team spruced up the ship, shook the carpets and mats out and generally worked hard to ensure that we were “ship shape” and ready to receive guests. Liz and Brian duly arrived by 11am in their eco warrior Nissan Leaf car… and were given a tour of Poli Poli.
Today was also laundry day…. our last two were at Poole and Portland. The Poole set up for laundry was ok and Mike was successfull in getting the clothes washed and dried. The Portland set up cost T 10,000 steps back and forth along the pontoons and a whole lotta pound coins. Now here today at Falmouth Pendennis Marina… instead of notices threatening you with “keel hauling” if you abused the washers and driers at Portland marina, Pendennis actually gave you clear and accurate instructions… and no threats of keel hauling. But it takes all day!
The day with Liz and Brian went well and a fine Spanish Tapas lunch was taken at the waterside restaurant opposite Poli Poli. Christine and Mike walked the Falmouth High Street and spent the afternoon in the National Maritime Museum where there was a special “Titanic” exhibition. T had previously seen the same exhibition in Liverpool whilst also viewing various nautical presentations at the Greenwich National Maritime Museum in London…. namely the “Harrison five clocks”, Turner and the Sea, Nelson, etc etc. All magnificent.
So having entertained our friends from the past, done the laundry with fewer problems than Portland, eaten well and for those followers out there… who think our little adventure is nothing more than a glorified “booze cruise” or pub crawl… very little alcohol passed our lips on this our rest day! Just a half of Cornish lager for T and little more for Mike.
The day ends with preparation for tomorrow’s sail to Penzance… our most westerly destination on the mainland in this southern section of the voyage. We always prepare a fairly detailed “passage plan”… absolutely essential. We look at the “pilot” books and entries for Penzance… and we examine the advice of the likes of Tom Cunliffe in the Shell Channel Pilot guide as well as studying the charts for dangers nd ports of refuge en route. Good planning and a policy of “no surprises” ensures the safety of all on board.
We depart Falmouth, tomorrow Sunday at 8am, with a following tide and hopefully enough good speed and acurate navigation as we have to arrive at Penzance at High Water minus two hours or no later than HW plus one hour. High Water Penzance is 14.47 hours, so our arrival window to get into the wet dock is earliest time 13.47 hours and latest time 16.47 hours. This is called a tidal gate.
Tomorrow we will also sail round the Lizard en route to Penzance and across Mounts Bay. After Penzance, we depart the mainland for the Scilly Isles. Progress to date is good.