Trip to the Scilly Islands 9-15 July 2014 (Anita, Christa, Jürgen, Roel, Richard and Kai)
Having arrived in lovely Cornwall we used the morning for a hike around St Mawes. In the afternoon we met Georgia, our skipper and “Eve”, our boat. Both looked very reasonable. Looking around on deck we realised that this cruise would be very different from others: no winches, no cleats and all the ropes being the same colour. After one hour of sailing towards Falmouth we enjoy Georgiasseafood lasagne.
We started at 3:30 in the morning to catch the tide. We passed the ‘Lizard’ and ‘Lands End’, the two famous landmarks, with a strong tide against us. The wind turned more westerly and we need the engine to help us beat it. Helming using a compass giving a heading can be tiring that and signs of sea sickness starting to show took its toll. After 12 hours at sea we saw the islands but it took us a further three hours to reach them. We anchored between the southern islands St Agnes and Gugh. The log showed we had sailed 65 miles. Thai green curry was dinner for the evening.
White beaches and turquoise water, we pumped up the dinghy so that we could explore the two islands with Will our guide. We learned about the difference between a “Shag” and “Cormorant” (Birds for those who don’t know their ornithology). We had a few pints in “The Turks Head”, the most south western pub in the UK. Ratatouille with smashed potatoes and sausages was for dinner.
We hoisted the anchor on a misty morning. We passed Annet, the most western island of the archipelago and a bird sanctuary. We were too far to see the colony of puffins that call it home but one does us a favour and dives head first in to the water a few meters from “Eve”. We anchored on the east coast of St Martin, the main island. We had lunch while waiting for the tide. When the water was high enough we sailed through the ‘Tresco flats’ between the rocks and shallow waters. No buoys like on the Veerse Meer to mark the channel! We got an idea of what real navigation was, taking one bearing after the other, keeping a watching eye on the depth meter and compass. We reached the little New Grimsby harbour early enough for a Risotto with mushrooms and a real ale in the tiny pub on Brygher.
“Eve” had swung the whole night on a strong tidal stream. Good that we had a skipper who was familiar with the local waters. We used the sunny morning for a hike around the lovely island of Tresco and its sites namely Abbey Garden, Cromwell Castle, its white beaches and flowers everywhere that were flowering everywhere. As it seldom gets colder than 4°C in winter even tropical plants can survive on the Scillies. After lunch we sailed northwards and circumnavigated the east side of the archipelago. After Pasta with aubergine, artichoke, tomatoeswe reached St Mary’s with the dinghy just in time to watch the second half of the World Cup final: Argentina – Germany in the ‘Meermaid’.
We left the mooring buoy at 4:00 AM. The wind was with us on our way back to old England and we sailed into the sunrise. Sail by sail we set the maximum sail area we could, including gaff topsail and flying jib. Dolphins came to visit us on our way back coming close to the boat and across our course. We made 4.5 knots, together with the tide we had a groundspeed of about 7 knots. The wind was freshening and we had to put in one reef. We reached “Eve’s” home port of St Mawes after 15 hours: 9 hrs with the tide, 6 against it. We enjoyed our last evening on board with Vegetable curry and sweet potatoes.
After a full English breakfast we said good bye to “Eve” and Georgia. We both became friends, as much as this is possible during one week. You’re welcome in our waters – whenever you want!