Position: 50:21:08N 03:34:29W
We entered the River Dart after an uneventful sail to be
met by the harbor master. We had hoped to obtain a normal dockside mooring but
unfortunately because of the impending Spring tide he felt our draught was such
that we probably should moor fore and aft to the visitor buoys in mid river. Ah
ha! Another first! Actually it was quite easy but we did need to use really long
lines as the same buoys were used for super yachts and cruise ships. In fact,
each line was much longer than the boat itself. I’m not sure I like be tied fore
and aft in a tidal river as the boat never seems to sit right – it’s just
“untidy” - it is a Discovery
sailboat after all. You get great views from the middle of the river though!
Dartmouth is home to the Britannia Royal Naval College and this is where the
Royal Navy trains future naval officers for many navies around the globe.
Clearly many of them are trained to patrol rivers because it’s a little
intimidating watching the military patrol boats passing every now armed to the
teeth and their crew prone with machine guns as they take an over active
interest in every vessel they pass.
Smaller boats had the option to use their anchors in mid
river but there are negatives with this. Next morning when we stuck our head out
of the cockpit, it seemed the boat that was swinging 100 meters from us the
night before was now less than 20 meters from us. Hmm?
“Les? ..that boat across the way, it wasn’t
there last night was it? Looks a bit cozy now.”
The tide had broken the
anchor free and his boat was now a free spirit and exploring the River Dart with
the crew happily and blissfully dreaming of blue skies, no rain and fair wind –
and now coming to see us! When you see this ‘actually’ happen you really
understand why you are told NEVER to skimp on anchor tackle. Anyway, there might
have been a few interesting words floating through the early morning mist
breaking the silence, peace, solitude and tranquility – I just can’t seem to
remember any of that now. Anyway the crew moved their boat a long way from us
Did I mention it’s rained almost continuously everyday
here in Dartmouth so far? So, what’s new?
We like walking but in all this time we’ve never really
thought about how the people that plan ‘walks’, grade their routes. Well it
seems that in this area a “moderate to strenuous” walk was planned by a previous
‘Ironman’ champion! ..and also where were the pubs at the end of them! I can’t
believe that Queen Elizabeth II is gonna walk her Diamond Jubilee Trail without
a pub at the end of it – come on lets be realistic!
Dartmouth is full of history, views, a steam railway and
great walking. I could live here. Agatha Christie, author of murder fiction fame
chose to live here in the summer. The Mayflower I’m told, ‘really’ left from here (not Plymouth)
and the towns people were heavily involved in England’s mariner exploits from
exploring the new world to smuggling, privateering and the civil war. It’s worth
Google-ing the difference between a pirate and a privateer if you are not sure.
Two cool forts guard the entrance to the river. oh! ..and for the Canadian’s a
little bit of trivia – Newfoundland was colonised by Sir Humphrey Gilbert
(1539-83) who came from here.
released our lines and stole away in the eerie dawn mist - before the river and
all around awoke… in many ways sad to be leaving. The Dartmouth area can take
months to explore properly.