The Tuesday plan was all about how to get out of Eyemouth Harbour and the big bay beyond… back into open water and safety.
So we started before 6am and sunrise… go to showers, then eyeball entrance first, then look out into Eyemouth Bay and try and judge sea state and swell. We did this…. and whilst there were one or two breaking waves coming in over the Hurkars and Luff rocks… it did seem calmer than yesterday.
We noted that there was roughly a 30 second gap between the waves produced by the swell coming down the entrance channel. Perhaps we could time our arrival at the entrance to exploit the 30 second gap.
So T went back up to the HM’s office to speak to Brendan ( on duty ) and let him know we were leaving in the next 30 or so minutes. Brendan had been very helpful the day before in finding us a third berth after the raft up with the dive boat. He had said he would be available from 6am to give advice on departure. A top man Brendan!
At 7.10am we departed our berth in Eyemouth…. confident that today was the day! Keel half way up as we were 2 hours before low water…. engine purring nicely, speed slow ahead…. watching the depth gauge…reading 1.8m at the start.
As you reach the end of what is known as Saltgreens Quay ( where we were berthed side on to the single long pontoon ) there is a “kink” in the main channel and you don’t actually see the main entrance until you have turned the bend.
Well we did so…. and immediately faced the main entrance and our way out. What I saw… did make me draw breath …. and likewise Mike who was hanging onto the shrouds ( midships )….. the channel had not one but two metre and a half swell waves advancing down the entrance towards us. Out the window went the 30 second gap plan!
Poli Poli could not just suddenly stop dead…. the oncoming waves would have thrown the boat onto a high bank of black rocks behind us. Poli Poli could not abort and turn to port or starboard to escape the swell waves… there was no where to abort to.
So gritted teeth, racing heart….. full power on the throttle…. aim at the exact middle of the first wave….. up and over, bow spray flying everywhere as 15 tons of Poli Poli surged up and over….. then the second wave…. now worried about the stern of boat up in the air, prop out of the water scenario??? No worries…. Poli Poli came down just before the bow took the second wave…. up and over….. and then in what seemed like an age at the time…. out into the Bay…. gulp, draw breath….. next issue… the Hurkar Rocks to the right and the Luff Hard rocks to the left.
Managed to get Poli Poli hard to starboard to counter the incoming waves and swell… up and over some big ones… then get her onto a parallel course with the chart leading line and power her out and past the north cardinal buoy which marked safe water beyond.
We did this….. and once beyond the black and yellow bouy, motored out to sea until we reached much calmer waters.
Looking back at Eyemouth….. lovely town, lovely little fishing port, lovely people…. shame about the harbour entrance! Much relief. Next plan…. cross the border back into England.
Plan A over thank goodness. Plan B now to sail the 40 or so n.miles to Amble in England. Weather wise the dawn was ok…. but the skies quickly became grey and gloomy…. and off shore there was a strong south westerly wind.
Once we had settled down, cups of tea and hot porridge served at sea…. we headed out to sea to avoid the forests of lobster pots and then turned south east to run parallel with the coast.
We spotted the main railway line from Edinburgh to Berwick on Tweed plus the busy looking A1 … the Great North Road from London to the Scottish capital city…. above the railway line. Two very long passenger trains with red flashes on their carriages rushed south with only a small time gap in between. We presumed London bound via Berwick, Newcastle and York.
Later, coming the other way….. a very long goods train ( unusual? ) rushing northwards with what looked like browny orange cargo trucks…. the length… well about one and a half if not twice as long as the big inter city passenger trains we had seen.
At precisely 8.25am Poli Poli lined up with the lighthouse at the entrance to Berwick On Tweed harbour…… and so we crossed from Scotland into England. Nine n.miles from Eyemouth.
We had spent exactly 70 days in Scotland… over 2 months… and whilst there were many good memories, much of our time here had been spoilt by a great deal of atrocious weather. But we had done it! So mixed feelings on departing Scotland. Down comes the Saltaire courtesy flag from the main mast.
In the centre of the photo below is a white lighthouse…not a brilliant pic but we were miles offshore. This is the Berwick On Tweed lighthouse…to the right Scotland, to the left England.
Sailing south against a strong tide… we deliberately stayed well away from the shore… and thus skirted Holy Island, the Farne Islands and Bamburgh Castle. The weather was now turning….. strong winds up to 25 knots and a 2 knot head tide. We did not try and explore these beauty spots…. saw them from a distance. In order to do so we would have needed a much more calm day with the right tidal conditions.
Mike spied the Round Britain “swimmer” two masted catamaran in the Farne Islands…. so once again we had overtaken Ross Edgley in his amazing marathon swim around Britain.
Conditions worsened…. a very choppy sea got up and the winds increased to 30 knots at one stage. The most difficult part of all of this …… was not the actual skills of sailing and navigating the boat…. but avoiding the hundreds of lobster pots well out to sea…. many very poorly marked. This scenario… of 100 per cent concentration and lookout… brings unnecessary tension and anxiety and the lobster pot nightmare entanglement constantly in the forefront of one’s mind.
Early afternoon after hot baked beans and heated sausage roll and a mini steak pie…. we sighted the entrance to the River Coquet and the little village of Amble. We had a tidal cill to cross and had to be there no earlier than 1.30pm ….. this we did, but the wind in the actual marina had also got up…. but two splendid Amble Marina guys were there on the pontoon to help guide us in and take our lines. They were both excellent…. “welcome back to England” …. we felt, and by 2.15pm we were safely moored up. But the wind screamed out the “banshees” song….. through all the masts and rigging…. and then later, throughout the night.
Amble Marina …arrival…our first day back in England…grey and very windy!
We had arranged to meet my niece Victoria and her family, ….husband Alec and sons, Ben and Adam. They arrived at about 5pm ( after Mike and I spruced up the boat !)…. we had tea and drinks in the saloon first, then adjourned to an excellent seafood restaurant “The Old Boathouse” in Leazes Street on the Amble waterfront. A lovely meal, lovely company and great to see Victoria and her family again.
Total mileage for the day: 44.9 n. miles.
Total mileage from Eastbourne: 2,219.9 n.miles.