Westwards to the Isles of Scilly 1

Tue 17 May 2022 10:41

Zoonie’s New Adventure

49:55.10N 006:19.01W

Emotions were running as high as the Spring Tide that enabled Zoonie to squeeze out of her secure berth at Freeman’s Wharf Boatyard with many helping hands ensuring her safe exit. Our first safe sanctuary after the end of our epic voyage around the world where we found a boatyard full with the kindest people and the most beautiful new and old wooden boats (and a few plastic boats like Zoonie) being lovingly worked and lived upon, the yard was a magnet to us, drawing us back from our on-land capers, to live on Zoonie and spend time with our new friends.

But then Zoonie is designed for travelling and I am a rolling stone, never staying in the same place for more than seven years and often much less time and Rob starts gnashing at the bit if he’s looking at the same walls and drinking the same bitter for too long, all of which many of you well know!

We anchored for two nights off Falmouth and wandered ashore to find some blue fabric to make a Scottish courtesy flag as the chandleries had not been forthcoming, also to replace my jade Maori fish hook (hatea) pendant, my safe travel charm, that I have inadvertently left behind with exactly the same token, also made in New Zealand from paua shell, (abalone) set in plated brass, not that I’m superstitious you understand but then it doubled as an early 70th birthday present from Rob!

Yesterday morning at 5.00 am, 15 May 2022, as the harbour birds were sounding-off we retrieved the anchor and slipped away, our nav lights shining and not another vessel on the move. The sun rose into a cloudy and slightly threatening sky, but the wind promised to be fair for the Isles of Scilly, 24 miles off Lands End (finis terre). We had first to climb down England’s heel, tickle her instep and be in sight of her big toe having covered 40 miles, before that time would come.

As we turned along her sole the Diva leaped onto the deck, full of energy and ebullience after her year’s rest in the fo’c’stle and in a rolly sea she smoothed our passage in a way we had become well used to. It was reassuring that she was clearly visible to the numerous ships we came across traversing the shipping lanes.

Lots of seabirds, gannets, gulls, a few terns and numerous Wilson’s Petrels graced our passage and we arrived twelve hours later with plenty of daylight left to pick up a green visitor buoy designed for a vessel of Zoonie’s length and very soon afterwards to share the last of Cape Town’s Rooibos (red bush) gin. Gin tastes best I think after a good sail.

This morning we changed Zoon’s mooring line attached to the chain link on the buoy, with the strop we bought here for that very purpose ten years ago, and have not used since. It’s going to be a windy week here and we will not be setting forth to Baltimore in SW Ireland for a while yet, unlike the sailing school yacht next to us, we are not determined by schedules and syllabi thank goodness.

There is a massive Low centre stage in the North Atlantic at the moment, slow moving and sending cheeky little swathes of strong winds and rain our way, so we’ll wait until it looks a little more agreeable out there.

Yesterday we had a lovely walk in fine weather along the Peninnis Track to the Lighthouse. The wild flowers were profuse, cushions of thrift, bluebells and bright purple gladioli waving to the ocean and little fields of commercially grown daffs and short stemmed alum flowers. The farmer was also farming wooden holiday lodges and guests were invited to explore his fields, I’d love to have done that.

But for now Zoonie is rocking on her mooring and there is a temporary lull in the wind. Yachts arrive, their crews wearing southern ocean gear and they go ashore for a brief trip to the Coop and a visit to the Atlantic or Mermaid pubs, or both.

I am working with Rachel on the Press Releases for the book at present. Not long now!



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