A somewhat disturbed night on a mooring buoy in New Grimsby Sound, Tresco. The Sound… a long finger of water and in this case situated north to south… so if strong winds blew in from the north west…. and the Atlantic sends in its tides and swell…. then it is “roli roli”…. or as Mrs. H once put it … “like sleeping in a washing machine!”
So Friday morning at 3am arrived… the team got up and the boat was prepped for sea… some of the jobs had been done the night before… and at precisely 3.50am in a very dark morning… over an hour before dawn at 5.15am…. the line attaching Poli Poli to the mooring buoy was slipped and off we went.
The navigation lights had been switched on…. green and red on the bow, a white light on the stern and a white steaming light half way up the mast. I had also switched on the deck floodlight as Christine and Mike were going to stand at the bow “spotting” for me on the helm at the stern. In the strong NW winds it would be hard to hear what they might shout so we agreed a series of hand signals.
Moving very very slowly at 3 knots, and with great care in the darkness, Poli Poli moved snail like down a channel we had pre-planned… going due north…. along past a dozen moored vessels on the right ( most showing no lights ), various unused mooring buoys, lots of huge rocks, and fishing boats on the left. All done in the blackness of a moonless night.
As we moved north the channel, you could hear the Atlantic waves breaking on the rocks at the entrance at both sides. Mike was wearing a very powerful head torch and spotting expertly for me at the back of the boat, on the helm… right arm stretched out meaning “go right” and so on. His head torch would catch both the silhouette of the rocks and the white of the breaking waves. Both erie and awesome. The power of nature.
Increasing engine power to meet the oncoming Atlantic waves, Poli Poli surged forwards…climbing up and then over… then down into the trough… then up again. Christine and Mike retreated to he safety of the cockpit. At 8 knots and 3,200 rpm we did well to overcome the breaking waves and swell… then power out northwards over the “overfalls” which are everywhere round the coast of the Scilly Isles.
Dawn broke and we had reached a point far enough northwards to slowly come round on the helm and head due east for the shipping lanes. Some of the Atlantic waves were huge…. passing at speed underneath our hull and rushing onwards to pound the Cornish coast.
We passed the Seven Stones lightship to the north, and once safely across both the down and up lanes of the shipping channel, we passed Wolf Rock lighthouse to the south. Far away from the Scilly Isles the wind was minimal …. barely 5 knots of true wind from the west. The mainsail had been raised but only to provide stability and as a visual target for other vessels.
Mike and Christine took turns off watch and we made good progress eastwards towards the Runnel Stone south cardinal bouy which marks the most southerly tip of the Lands End peninsula. At times we were averaging 7 knots… the pinkness of the easterly dawn had by now come and gone leaving a steely grey, gloomy landscape.
Poli Poli closed on the Cornish coast by 7.30am …. closer to our destination the big waves seem to disappear and the sea state moderated. As our VHF radio is always set on Channel 16 ( the emergency channel ) we overheard a fisherman calling for assistance from the Falmouth Coastguard …. he had rope around his propeller. He had being laying and checking his lobster pots. About 2o minutes later we watched the Penlee ILB ( out of Newlyn ) race along the base of the cliffs to his aid. It is amazing that such a rescue is funded by public contributions and carried out by volunteers who risk their lives on every call out. The RNLI is a truly amazing institution.
We approached the harbour entrance at Newlyn, having just passed the white Scillonian ferry ship… ( sometimes in rough weather known as the “vomit bucket” )… just before 9am…. 5 hours from Tresco… and moored up safely at the seaward end of the long pontoon. An uneventful and safe crossing from the Scilly Isles.
After “drawing breath” we walked ashore to the Harbourmaster’s Office at the far end of the fish dock and presented our credentials, paid our dues and asked the most important question of the day …. “which cafe in the town does the best full English breakfast?”
So to the Dukes Street Cafe we all marched and the Cornish Full English was thus sampled. Christine declined and had poached eggs on granary toast! What a wonderful cafe…. highly recommended opposite the car park in the centre of Newlyn.
On a previous visit to Newlyn in 2013, Rob, Josep and myself had visited the very same cafe and had taken “afternoon tea” there. The fresh Newlyn crab sandwiches were, in my opinion, the very best in texture, taste and sublime gourmet appreciation. Well done Dukes Street Cafe… you uphold the highest culinary standards. We will return again!
Christine departed the boat as her three weeks were up ( the longest she had ever spent living on a boat ! )… Christine left at 1pm to catch her train back to the south east of England. Michael spent a couple of hours in Penzance laundry whilst T did jobs tidying up the boat. The lights went out in both the fore and aft cabin very early … about 8pm as we had been up in the very early hours. We were back on mainland Britain!