Monday, 16 September 2013
Another month slips by, some progress made and we're getting closer to another departure date. Very little has happened from a boat orientated view but much from a personal view.
The primary reason we crossed this year was for Bee to spend some time with her mum. Over the last 6 years they have kept in touch via Skype for the most part and she kept up to date with our wanderings. Olly, her mum, had only positive things to say about what Bee was doing and though she sometimes seemed tired she was generally pretty lively and they were looking forward to seeing each other. Sadly a week into the visit her mum died with Bee and her sister Sally beside her which, as our very good friend Robin said, was quite extraordinary and many other friends have suggested that she, Olly, may have been waiting. Well we'll never know but we are thankful we made it (and probably wouldn't have had we gone on to Iceland or caught up with all those friends along the way etc). I have to say that the funeral was, without a doubt, the best and most moving I have ever been to. In part because it made no religious references but rather talked about Olly as the person she was and included tributes from some members of her extended family that were then, and still are as I write, intensely moving. An emotional time that has left us a little raw.
So much of Bee's time has been spent away from Hannah, helping with the arrangements etc Before she first went away we'd managed to contact Alastair who came out to look at the engine, did a compression test (good compression) and suggested we needed to get the injectors serviced. This he duly did and after a rebuild etc the engine now runs without smoking all the time....seems they were much in need of it. We've also replaced the chimney base as the steel one had rusted whereas the new stainless one probably won't. A bunch of engine spares have been bought...(a pensioner and his money are soon parted...); the gaff saddle re-leathered and that really is about it; a shockingly small list of achievements.
For many years we have known about Nick Skeates through word of mouth. I think Martin and Roma, builders of Hannah, first mentioned him to us; then R&J of course. Years on we have met numerous Wylo owners (Nick is the designer of the Wylo and sells plans for building same) but never the man himself until recently when he sailed into this anchorage and came over to introduce himself before departing for somewhere else. Actually the chances of us seeing him were always slight as he cannot abide the cold and we feel the same way about the heat but he is good company and perhaps paths will cross again. Which reminds me that another Wylo owner, Trevor Robertson has left Greenland some months back and is probably enjoying the fleshpots of St Anthony before heading out to wherever he next plans to be. I haven't seen an update about this years over-wintering so can say little else about it...I'm sure there is a sound reason for icing yourself into some isolated anchorage for 6 months or more, a large part of which will be in total darkness...isn't there?
We've recently had a gaffer coming in and out of the anchorage and he one day sailed close by us and called across that he'd sailed a similar boat to Hannah in the Falklands in 1978! Intrigued or what!! The next time he came in we called him over and thus we met Ewen Southby-Tailyour, one time marine officer, but best known, to those who dream of such places, as the author of the Falkland Islands Shores Pilot. A fine time was had and whilst Nick could see no reason to go the Falklands, Ewen could see of no reason NOT to go, preferred it to South Georgia and generally enthused us with tales of great anchorages and a fine people. Definitely on our list of places to go and soon.
When we mooted the idea of returning to the UK, Pete and Lucia suggested we might be able to use their buoy and this we duly did. We'd hoped to meet up with them on the Scottish leg but they were late in leaving and headed for the west coast of Ireland as we slid into Plymouth Sound. The chances of them getting back seemed slight but get back they did and we were awakened one afternoon by their familiar voices coming alongside us albeit with a now greatly expanded family of one daughter and two cats. They shrugged off our offer of vacating their mooring and sorted themselves out and are currently anchored further up the river and, like us, are trying to work out what they should do next. Actually the reason we were in bed on a Sunday afternoon was simply because I had met up with some of my family the previous evening and hadn't got to bed until 05:30. Unfortunately one of my sisters had retired early (03:30) and for reasons best known to herself woke up soon after and, clad only in her knickers, wandered into the hotel corridor. Unable to workout what she was doing there she went to re-enter her room to find the door had locked shut behind her.....thinking she might wake her other sister she banged on her door but got no response. Mostly 'cos that sister was with me talking about life, the universe etc in another room.... The guy in reception had a bit of a shock when semi-naked sister walked in!
And finally. I know we have a blog and folks read it but we don't really expect to meet readers. Why should we? We're not exactly static and the chances of us being in the same area as a reader is fairly small. Nevertheless in this remarkable anchorage we have come across two separate readers and perhaps the location is the key. Wearde Quay and as far as I know Plymouth in general, is one of the few areas on the south coast of England where you can anchor for free. Thus it attracts a number of boats who have no wish to tie up in a car-park and are content with anchoring and no facilities. Oddly enough those type of boats are often those we feel some affinity with....