We rose bright and early, noted the blue sky in the early dawn light…. all evidence of a high pressure weather situation… but there was a strong breeze. After showers in the first class Eyemouth Community Harbour facility ( far far superior to Port Edgar in their porta cabins )…. breakfast on the hoof, we were ready to depart Eyemouth by 10.30am…. depart the port, depart Scotland, cross the border round the corner at Berwick on Tweed and be back in England.
We left our berth, and proceeded slowly being aware we were only a couple of hours after low water….. very gently along the inner channel… then round a slight bend in the harbour to the narrow main entrance.
We stopped in our tracks…. white water rolling into the entrance from the Bay outside… great big roller waves breaking as they passed through the narrow channel. We pulled out…. quite taken aback at the level of the swell coming in. Poli Poli with her super, but small yacht engine would never match the power of the waves we saw coming in. We adjorned into the deep sea trawler basin next door, spoke to the Harbour Master on our VHF radio and aborted our attempt to leave Eyemouth.
The swell coming in the main Eyemouth harbour entrance channel .
Breaking waves outside in Eyemouth Bay.
Our overnight berth had now gone…. as harbour staff had moved other smaller yachts into a set of paired rafts…. but unfortunately our original berth had disappeared. We went back up the channel and conversed again with HM. We decided we would have to raft up against a larger vessel… which is the accepted practice… and we chose a large catamaran dive boat. Having tied Poli Poli to the dive boat, we went ashore to go and look at the harbour entrance and speak with the locals as to why today the conditions were so bad.
Rafted up against the dive boat …our second berth of the day.
At the harbour mouth, we watched as a very large sea going trawler attempting to enter but on encountering the surf and breaking waves out in the Bay… the swell nearly turned the boat around…. the skipper aborted the attempt to come in and went back out to sea. Two meter waves were breaking on the harbour walls and on the beach that fringed the bay… showering all and sundry with white water surf.
We adjourned to a coffee house to work out what to do. Within minutes we received a phone call from the owner of the dive boat…. sounded a bit miffed that we had chosen his boat to raft up against…. it was a new looking boat. We had left a note on the dive boat and had got HM’s permission to do the raft. We had only been gone 45 minutes, but we returned immediately and moved Poli Poli into mid channel whilst we took advice from HM.
At about midday we moved to our third berth of the day… which turned out to be a very good one. T went to the office to pay. We had noticed the breeze earlier on and had also noticed how it had gone from a south westerly to a north westerly. Recalling how in the two almanacs we use… Reeds and CA…. we had noted the warnings about Eyemouth Harbour and trying to enter or leave with a wind from any northerly direction… whips up the swell and sends it down as waves through the main entrance channel. Possibly did not heed the warning! Lesson learnt.
Our third berth of the day ..but pointing in the right direction …out!!
HM confirmed this. It was not the blue sky, or the lack of rain, or the wall to wall sunshine that had blocked our departure…. it was the north westerly wind. So there we have it.
Our travails were lightened by this family of Mum, Dad and six cygnets…they got two slices of best Scottish bread …they and two fat seals made it all worthwhile!
We will try again tomorrow Tuesday…. hoping that the wind is a south westerly or westerly and does not change…. and that we will sail out, cross the border at Berwick and be back in England. Who knows which way the wind blows????