Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Scilly Islands , Fish and The Riddle of the Sands

Great sail from Falmouth 60 nautical miles to the Isles of Scilly with a slight wind from behind. It was slightly misty but we still had a good view of the Wolf Rock light house sticking out of the sea halfway to the islands. Adam and Mees came out in the dingy to guide us in for our first Scilly experience. We were also greeted by some very friendly seals. Anchored in Granilly bay at 1700, ate a quick and easy meal and headed for the beach on an ‘onbewoond’ island. The Isles of Scilly is a granite archipelago 35 miles west of Lands End, UK, in the middle of the ocean, officially designated as an’Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and known for being very hard to navigate. With modern charts, GPS chart plotters etc. it has become a lot easier and as long as you are careful , stick to the clear routes and carefully monitor the tides you should be OK. There is a real mystery and aura of difficulty about the Isles of Scilly that I believe has been carefully cultivated by those in the know. We will do our best to propagate this myth as well to ensure that the islands remain as lovely and untouched as they are today.

Breaking news of the week is that we have eaten our first self-caught fish! The Elena family spent yesterday afternoon pottering about in the dingy and hauling in fish after fish, one of which weighed a kilo! We had an absolutely divine Thai (fresh, fresh, fresh) fish curry for dinner – soooo yummy!

And the riddle of the sands? Last night we anchored in Saint Helen’s Pool, a well protected bay in the north of the Scillies. We carefully set the anchor alarm and double checked the height of the tides, agreeing that we should have enough water under our keel even if it went to the lowest tide (which it wouldn’t). At 0300 I woke up and gently nudged Seb “I think we are aground.” We both jumped out of bed and indeed, the boat was lying on a slight angle and we were clearly stuck in the mud. We checked the anchor and the depth on the charts, we had not drifted and the charts indicated good depth. Sand moves of course and we were just unlucky enough to have landed on top of a recently drifted sand bank under the water. It was an uncomfortable feeling as we stayed stuck for another hour and then felt ourselves slowly drifting clear. No real problem but something we would definitely like to avoid in the future.

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