We passed 20 miles south of the Scilly Isles
yesterday afternoon, but didn't see a rock or lighthouse of the place. But by
midnight, there was the loom of the great light at the Lizard just troubling the
horizon. When the sun rose, a fingernail of land was visible to the northwest,
but we were already past the headland and officially into the English Channel.
As if to confirm this, there has been a steady stream of gigantic ships
ploughing up and down on either side of us.
I asked Elise whether she'd seen much shipping
during her night watch and she thought for a second. "No, only two," she
said. "But one of them came quite close."
"Oh, yes?" I asked, having told her to wake me if
any vessels troubled her. "How far away?"
"Oh not too close," she replied airily. "200m away
or maybe more like 100m."
Uneasy laughter. Really?? Elise has strict
instructions now to wake the skipper if anything gets within a
For the first time in nearly a week, it feels
almost summery in the cockpit. There's a strong sun out and though the air is
cold, there is little wind, which makes it seem much warmer. Fears that summer
in Blighty was entirely composed of rainstorms, showers and sea-level cloud may
yet prove unfounded.
We had a cracking northerly wind yesterday which
kept us scudding along on course at about five knots until it gave up at 3am. It
was a serious pleasure to be sailing in the right direction for the first time
in days. When the breeze gave out, we donked up accordingly and we've kept
up good pace since. Our arrival time is still on track for about 10-11am
tomorrow morning. High water at the Town Quay runs from about midday to 4pm, so
ideal for our planned landfall.
Just one more night watch between us and
civilisation. In the meantime, the crew is busy mending, tidying, cleaning,
scrubbing and packing. There is the smell of land in the air, we're
listening to Radio Four and everyone is bright eyed and bushy tailed. We're
even fishing for macker in a last ditch effort to bag a sea