a travel log
From France to Scotland by sea.

Saturday, August 3, 2002

Departure from Caldey Island at 2 PM. Arrival in Milford Haven lock at 7:30 PM. Went through the lock and into the marina at 9:35 PM. Conditions: W then NW winds 5-13 knots, on the nose, practically all the way. Calm seas. Tidal currents my way all day.

Because the currents weren't going my way until 2 PM, I decided to go ashore in the morning; I inflated the dinghy, rowed to the beach, and pulled it up on the sandy beach. Walked around most of the island, which is only about 2 miles long. The most striking elements were beautiful cliffs, the old priory, the welsh cakes, the lighthouse, and... the flies. I say the flies, because throughout the day I was escorted by my own personal swarm, landing on me every few seconds. I'd seen some spray in a store a few days back, and decided to pass.... mistake.

Spent some lovely moments in the priory.

The priory

The priory floor - all made from found stones on the beach

Caldey Island, and the bay in which I was anchored (Sandtop Bay), are both well worth the visit.

The boat at anchor in Sandtop Bay.

Upon returning to the boat, I was thinking about taking a swim - I say thinking, I should say I briefly thought about it, and decided perhaps later.... only to find out that I'd not tied the dinghy properly, and it was drifting about 25 yards from the stern. I quickly stripped and dove in - was actually quite nice... I suppose swimming with a purpose is quite different than for pure pleasure. I managed to get the dinghy back. I think the water was around 16 degrees C (about 61 deg F) - very invigorating.

As I readied for departure, I attempted to start the engine, to warm it up a little before leaving. Bad news: it wouldn't start. The boat has 2 batteries, in case one empties, the other is the reserve. Turns out neither of them had the juice needed! I pulled out the hand crank, and tried to do it that way - what a joke. Would take a serious weight-lifter to start the engine. That's what I call a symbolic tool. Makes you feel safe, but is absolutely useless. After about 30 minutes of trying everything I could think of, I remembered that I had bought a new battery, a few days back, to experiment using it as a powersource for my computer. I plugged it in, and the engine roared away. I think the other batteries have had it - they had been charging in Swansea, but I suspect they are getting too old.

The rest of the trip was quiet - some sun, some wind; arrival in the lock was a breeze; was joined by "Liberation", a Westerly yacht sailing around Britain. Offered me a beer, showed me beautiful pictures of sailing in Scotland... they also pointed to the seal that had made it's way into the lock. Apparently it lives in the harbour, and uses the dock like we would use doors. It knows when to go in and out to go to sea and come back. Quite amazing.

It's now dark, and I'm going to get some sleep; a new crew arrives tomorrow afternoon.
12:24:49 AM    
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© Copyright 2003 Thomas Degremont.

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