Archive for Fish!

Summer 2016

Posted in Cornwall, Fun, Photographs, Sailing, Walking with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2017 by maidofmettle

Since Maid is happily back in the water again and I’m about to go away for a few weeks I thought I’d better catch up quickly on last summer’s main holiday.

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Surprisingly for the second year in a row I launched very late but left Carbeile to find Nick (just ahead of the mast in the picture below) at anchor. Even more surprisingly it was his first day off the beach, though given he’d be crossing to the Caribbean a few months later launching late seemed much less important for him!

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I wasn’t going anywhere near that far or long, but I could almost kid myself sorting out the provisions in the sunshine.

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The evening was a pretty much perfect reintroduction to life afloat.

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It felt quite easy to slip into the mindset of a longer cruise, spending the next day at anchor doing various jobs and catching up a bit while waiting for the wind to swing round to suit a passage west the next day, after another beautiful sunset.

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The next day the forecast proved true and we had a beautiful sail out of Plymouth Sound and past Rame Head (on the right below, you can just see the small chapel on the top).

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We had some extra company on passage as well 🙂

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We ended up in different places in the evening as I’d tacked inshore and pretty much got the anchor down before I realised Nick was carrying straight on, but we’d likely meet again in a few days. I’d been wanting to anchor off Caerhays and have a peek at the castle for years, but never had the right conditions for it.

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The next morning I got the dinghy out and pulled ashore – a nice easy landing!

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There was plenty of time for a look around while waiting for the tide to turn to head further along the coast. This is the view looking north across the bay with Caerhays Castle in the background.

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Later on it was a bit grey but still fine sailing conditions, nice and calm to sneak through the passage inside Gull Rock towards the anchorage at Portscatho.

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This place has provided many of the most beautiful dawns I’ve seen.

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This was clearly going to be a much brighter day…

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… great for seeing Portscatho at it’s best.

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I went for a sail in the afternoon – was initially thinking of heading round to the Percuil but the wind died away quite quickly.

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Happily there was just enough wind to glide back into Portscatho.

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The next morning proved rather less idyllic – there was brief a short steep swell that made being aboard decidedly uncomfortable, annoying as I’d been hoping to meet some friends ashore but had to stay aboard till it calmed later on. Happily there was at least the regatta racing to watch.

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Later on it had calmed down and I could head up through the regatta excitement in the town..

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to go and enjoy some games and fish & chips on a slightly quieter beach.

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Then back to the boat again and a sail round to Falmouth harbour

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including getting to wave at Kensa in Carrick Roads.

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The next day in St Mawes was a bit gloomy to start with…

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but happily cheered up in time to meet Ian, Ali and Penny (the look-out) for a kayaking/rowing expedition up the Percuil.

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We got far beyond where I’ve ever dared go with Maid and enjoyed exploring some distance upstream on the tide…

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before heading back downstream, saying hello to an old friend from the French canals on the way  – Planet looking splendid as ever.

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St Mawes looks quite nice in the evening too 🙂

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The next day was a busy one – time to head east again! But first a dinghy expedition

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into sunny St Mawes

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Following that, anchor up under sail and a quick few tacks out past St Mawes Castle across the bottom of Falmouth Harbour

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and to Trefusis on the other side to row in and have a yarn with Nick while waiting for the tide to turn and his varnishing to dry.

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And then after lunch, time to up-anchor again and sail out past Fraggle Rock St Anthony’s Head.

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It was a splendid sail eastward, with Maid throwing out quite a bow wave at times.

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I could have easily gone further, but Portmellon offered both the chance to visit a new place and to meet up with Dave who was sailing the opposite direction from Plymouth. Having had the wind behind me I had a while to explore ashore first and admire the view of Maid out in the anchorage

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before meeting Dormouse on the way in.

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I had offered to make dinner ready for his arrival, but he texted to say he’d already caught more than enough fish, and I’m not one to turn fresh fish down 🙂

The next day started off rather gloomy, a pleasant wind but many shades of grey as Dave headed south to round the Dodman

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and I ran on eastward towards Rame Head.

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The sun did eventually come out in late afternoon, but at that point the wind died, making it a pretty poor trade. The next couple of hours brought minimal progress, with just enough wind to point at Rame Head but not enough to make any ground toward it.

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Even getting the biggest sail I own out of the forepeak didn’t make much difference, until a very long hour or two later the wind finally filled back in.

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Finally we managed to put Rame Head behind us and round Penlee to head into Cawsand Bay.

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Of course later on there was a bit of a struggle to put the sail away again 😀

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The next day was a much shorter sail, though going through the swirling currents of the narrows is always exciting

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as is picking up a mooring under sail – I got it, but it took a couple of tries.

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And there we are- time to go back to work again!

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Of course now I actually publish this it’s time to go sailing again – much better 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer 2014 Part II – fish!

Posted in Cornwall, Fun, Music, Photographs, Sailing, Walking with tags , , , , , on August 11, 2016 by maidofmettle

This picture I took while walking north of Gerrans Bay shows why there were quite so many dolphins around – the wind is calm and the patches of ripples on the water are all teeming shoals of fish swarming in the bay – a spectacular sight and hopefully encouraging for local ecology and businesses alike. IMGP2901 (Custom)

I did quite a bit of walking in the area over the next few days – very tempting with another spectacular dawn over Gull Rock… IMGP2745

and time for a little excursion across Gerrans Bay.. IMGP2747

.. to add some interest to the view from the Nare Hotel. I didn’t even charge them. IMGP2750

..but I did enjoy the rather lovely Carne Beach (after I’d finished hauling the dinghy up it anyway).

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Lovely and clear though the water looked, the wind was still very chilly, so rather than being tempted into a swim I headed out along the coast path.

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Besides enjoying the walk I was also making note of where the rock and/or seaweed patches were to avoid them when next anchoring off. I also peered down into various coves – this one used to be a refuge for fishing boats, but probably for hauling them up on the beach, the anchoring prospects didn’t look ideal.. IMGP2762

Here is the ‘summit’ of Nare Head, looking back west across Gerrans Bay to Portscatho.. IMGP2770

..and here is the view from it down to Gull Rock, and away to the Dodman in the east. IMGP2773

After exploring a bit more on land I headed back to the boat and sailed a similar route, but this time a few hundred yards offshore- there was still room to sneak between Gull Rock (on the right, yes it does look more like a whale, yes I probably have said that before, yes I suspect more gulls than whales are seen on it, indeed) and the mainland. IMGP2818

The first place we headed past was Portloe –  I was thinking of stopping, but was rather put off by having to tack suddenly to avoid a fishing buoy moored by great length of floating line laying on the surface, and then losing the wind completely close to the cliffs. IMGP2821

Besides, it was a fine day for sailing still. I didn’t think the possible anchorages off either Porthallow..

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or Porthluney..

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would be all that sheltered in this wind, and was proved right, with the nominal north-westerly funnelling along the coast. However it did prove surprisingly co-operative for sailing back west again, just managing to glide through the passage between Gull Rock and Nare Head again before tacking back into Portscatho for the evening. IMGP2829

The next day I rowed ashore early on..

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..having got rather used to a quick early morning swim after hauling the dinghy up the beach (leaving a rather curious track it must be said…)

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The sky was starting to look rather interesting..

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..but I decided it was worth risking a walk round the bay again, this time from Portscatho to yesterday’s start point of the Nare Hotel (and back). The coast path mostly goes along the top of the cliffs, but there are several places where you can drop down onto the beach for a change of scenery – including some surprisingly lush vegetation here: IMGP2899 (Custom) (2)

It was another day that got steadily better – ideal for walking with sunshine and a cooling breeze.

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Here we are back in Portscatho again.

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I couldn’t resist going for a quick sail across the bay in the evening sun – just across the bay and back before popping into the Plume and making plans for another fishing expedition the next day.

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This time we get full technicolour with Si having recruited both Debs and Helen as crew already and signed me on as helmsman/photographer. Unsurprisingly they have lots of pictures of Kensa from afar but very few close-up, and not while working, given the general issues of being busy, and fish, and fish scales..

So here we have everyone else working away while I practise the art of steering with one hip while taking pictures – it was good the conditions were still perfectly sheltered, and that I had a little practice at steering Kensa already – she is a well-behaved boat to handle, but very different to the Maid.

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We found a good spot on the way out, and the ice box in the middle was filling up pretty quick. It’s a fine job when the weather’s good and the fish are biting – for other times a lot of resilience and some alternative income options are as vital as ever.

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Helen and Debs are fishing in the foreground here with Portscatho in the background. The mainsail is set again to take as back to Portscatho – not that the fish had stopped biting but there was no point catching more fish than Si and Cat could be pretty confident of selling fresh.

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Back in Portscatho, I’d say this was a marathon gutting session in progress, but in fact it was impressively quick.

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And here is some of the catch in close-up.

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Since I am useless at gutting fish we gave me something to do by accidentally setting one dinghy adrift, so I rowed off in pursuit. By the time I got back pretty much everything was sorted except lowering the mizen sail and putting the cover on.

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I had another invigorating swim the next morning

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before a bit of wandering round the harbour.

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and then heading back to the boat to get on with some jobs aboard.

The next day’s weather looked rather more unpredictable…

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but happily cleared as boats started arriving for the town’s regatta day.

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The seafront was even busier

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though not quite as intimidating as the racing fleet!

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I had been half-persuaded into doing a bit of racing (this was of course in the pub..) but happily ended up with the even better (and less scary) plan of meeting up with a friend and his dad for lunch in Portscatho and then sailing them across the bay in the afternoon.

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Doug proved a very competent helmsman, and it was a quick and smooth trip across the bay.

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A quick drop-off at Carne Beach, and then I set sail again to sail round into Carrick Roads to be ready to take the tide up the Fal in the morning. More beautiful sunshine sailing round the coast of the Roseland..

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..and in past St Anthony’s Head lighthouse..

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and beautiful evening sunshine for the arrival in St Mawes, where I rowed ashore again later to meet Doug & family in the sailing club for a coffee. This social life business can require some co-ordination!

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The next day I headed up the Fal

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albeit with some amusing hi-jinks in Carrick Roads when my badly tied knot allowed the dinghy to escape, and inevitably it headed out of the main channel and into water too shallow for Maid before I could get to it. Happily some quick examination of the chart revealed the bank was shallowest next too the main channel and I could motor round the back of it to grab the errant dinghy before it ended up ashore. The alternative would probably have been trying to beg assistance from somebody else with a dinghy or else anchoring off Turnaware and swimming ashore to walk round to it (not appealing at all with that day’s weather), and either way being very late for the party.

Party? Ah, yes – this was for an annual Ocean Cruising Club gathering up the Fal – a good chance to meet others with similar interest, and usually vastly more experience, in long distance cruising, and generally enjoy excellent company.

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Admittedly this was a relatively small gathering, as the poor weather had led to a rearranging to the main event to occur down in Falmouth, but very good fun nonetheless.

The next day I dropped back down the Fal a little way, to an anchorage off Roundwood Quay with a rather curious view downstream!

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(the Fal is commonly used as a lay-up for ships that aren’t being used at present)

Later a couple I’d met down this way before tied up at the quay to dry out and do some maintenance work, and we had a lovely walk further inland and round the peninsular.

Thenext morning I did some more rambling, this time with a camera. There are some beautiful areas of heath here

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along with the remains of a fort on the promontary – mainly just visible as a ditch and earth bank now –

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as well as the essential rope swing.

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Later on the sun had come out and I headed a bit further down the river to anchor off Turnaware Bar. This is a nice sheltered spot in the easterly wind that was forecast

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and also a splendid base for rowing ashore to pick blackberries and enjoy a walk looking down on Carrick Roads,

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and also to blink at the site of a very large ship in quite a small channel – one of the cargo ships that had been mothballed up the Fal heading back to sea again.

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I also had a very nice coffee with a couple I’d met at the Ocean Cruising Club gathering in previous years who’d attended the rearranged party in Falmouth.

I still hadn’t had enough sailing for the day though, so decided to head down Carrick Roads in the evening.

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The sailing conditions were beautiful, with plenty of interesting boats to admire as well, from a lugger heading up river..

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to several of the Falmouth Working Boats enjoying their race night. Some of these are still for oyster dredging, but they’re also very keenly raced, especially as they carry a huge amount of sail.

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The sunlight was just turning golden when I headed in to St Just – again a beautifully sheltered spot in an easterly wind, but with the added benefit of free anchorage, and a very easy sail across to Falmouth for the Tall Ships festival starting imminently.

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