Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.
Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Falmouth Adventures: Day Two Leaving The Smugglers Inn and heading south

Drip, drip, drip, drip. The musical accompaniment to my first night afloat. It started raining late evening and didn't stop until late afternoon the following day.

that bucket was overused during the night........!!

A pattern. A million circles scattered randomly across deep, slow flowing, grey-green rivers. Mullet bumping the hull at night. The rising winds blowing in the starboard side of the tarp tent until it bowed so much that half the space in the boat was lost. The constant drumming patter of rain on the tarp; the getting up in the night to check mooring warps and retying bow and stern springs. Through the opening at the stern, glimpses of cows on the hillside above, heads down grazing, silhouetted against the dark night sky. The occasional ominous rumble of distant thunder. The screech of wind through masts and the interminable clanking of wires against aluminium masts. Arwen tugged at her moorings. Fenders squealed in protest as she banged back against the pontoon.

It was a long night!

still raining next morning
just lie back on the cushions and do some reading!

The rain and wind stayed all morning. I sensed that further downstream things would be wilder and these fears were confirmed with the arrival back of ZaZu. Tied up at the hammerhead, her disembarking crew ere quick to advise staying put for a few hours more. Carrick Roads was 'choppy'!

I had breakfast, hot porridge with giant raisins and sultanas, hot sweet tea, and more hovis biscuit.  I strolled around the foreshore. Scandinavians say 'there is no such thing as bad weather...only bad clothing'. Um! To a point. My foulies held rain at bay. I was snug and warm. And dry! I sat under the carport and made tea; I read more from 'The lugworm Chronicles'.

 I scrutinised charts and re-read my pilotage drawings and notes. I planned afternoon sailing routes - a variety of options depending on the wind. I studied the swallows swooping low across the water and return at high speed to their nests in the carport rafters above my head. A grandstand , front row seat for some spectacular aerial acrobatics. Boy those swallow chicks are demanding!

low tide

Some would find all this boring. I found it relaxing, such is my normal hectic pace of work life, the chance to have no one around, time to is treasured.

Swans visited; hissing and searching under the tarpaulin edges for some tasty morsels and titbits. They eyed me suspiciously. I clearly wasn't playing the game. I studiously ignored them. Arwen sits only some 40 cms above the water line and Swans heads easy come up to deck level if not slightly above. I love swans but past experiences have taught me - don't feed them, they come back for more and get really irritable if they don't get it! And so a few minutes later some highly disappointed swans departed, their graceful necks making S shapes, the occasional head turned backwards with forlorn looks.

And finally, around 2pm, the weather broke. The winds dropped, the rain eased and we made our break. Our aim, to row, motor and sail back downriver to Mylor, stopping off on the way at Restronguet Creek.

I was sorry to depart The Smugglers Inn. It was a beautiful, hospitable place run by a lovely couple and I will be back.....hopefully when it isn't raining!

The Smugglers Inn
Good luck to Clive and Ellie on their business ventures


robert.ditterich said...

I'm enjoying these posts greatly Steve, despite the weather..particularly the paragraph setting the sounds and feelings in a long damp night. But it is also fun being a vicarious tourist in parts of 'the old country' that I've not been to

Alastair said...

Are they serving food again at the Smugglers?

steve said...

Thanks Robert. Have enjoyed posts on your restoration of such a lovely boat. Alastair, no. They aren't planning on serving food in the future either.

Joel Bergen said...

I'm enjoying reading about your journey very much Steve. Thank you so much. I must confess, one of my most favorite things about dinghy camping is listening to the raindrops on the boom tent while snug and warm in my sleeping bag. I haven't tried it with 3 fluffy pillows yet though (grin). You're an inspiration to us all Steve!

steve said...

Must confess, raindrops on tents is one of mine as well - I'm from Wales. The land of rain. we have a saying "if you can see the other side of the valley its about to rain; if you cant see it....its raining!"
pretty much sums up the weather in Wales for 70% of the time.

The pillows - ah - now those were a tip from the great Roger Barnes, the president of the Dinghy Cruising Association. And a damned good tip they were too. He has written an excellent book, one I would wholeheartedly recommend - I've pasted the amazon link here