Sugar 'n' Spice – Weblog 3

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Neyland, Pembrokeshire


51º 42 N

4º 56 W

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Neyland, Pembrokeshire

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Tues 11th to Thur 13th June.  The bad weather materialises as forecast & winter returns after the lovely weekend.  It is cold & windy & the visibility is bad ranging from mist & murk through drizzle to solid rain.  The occasional sunny spells are a bonus, when people scurry about their business instead of lurking below decks.  Most are resigned to staying put for a few days & there are wry jokes about the weather. 

We forayed out to restock the ships supplies (food, gas & water) & clear the laundry backlog in the marina’s launderette.  I fitted in a swim at the local leisure pool & Doug helped the entente cordiale by loaning our very long electricity cable to a Frenchman whose boat, with flat battery, was too far from the available power supply.

On a very wet Wednesday afternoon we went round the excellent Maritime Museum – several floors of exhibits (a lot you could ‘play with’) & a tower with a good view from the top & an underwater view (lots of bass) from the lowest level. 

Thursday (breezy, but sunny!) we walked over the windswept headland to sheltered beaches the other side then back past a large lagoon & nature reserve called Swanpool – there were no swans, but plenty of other birds.  About 4 miles.



Fri 14th June.  A fairly prompt departure from Falmouth, to take advantage of a slight morning lull, & motor the short distance round to the Helford river.  6.6.nm.

The wind continued to gust to a force 6 & the rain set in in earnest mid afternoon.

The weekend continued wet & windy.  On Saturday (15th June) Doug blew up the dinghy & it took the two of us to keep control of it as we launched it over the side (instead of our usual method of hoisting it aloft on a halyard to clear the guardrails, then lowering into the water).  At this point we aborted installing the outboard & had lunch instead!  After that we togged up, fitted outboard to dinghy & set off downriver to the little hamlet of Durgan, where the beach was sheltered enough to land.  This led onto the sprawling wooded gardens of Glendurgan (NT).  We took the ‘high’ route for the views over the gardens, with architectural plants, a laurel maze & wished we had been there a week earlier when the rhododendrons would have been in full flower.



The trip back in the dinghy with wind against tide was interesting, to say the least. 

On Sunday we seized a break in the weather to go ashore for lunch at Helford Sailing Club, followed by a stroll through the village, & finally a dinghy ride further upstream (Doug seeking oysters, no result!).



Mon 17th June.  Another short (6.5 nm) motor to anchor off St Mawes.  When the damp subsided we took the water taxi ashore (had only deflated the dinghy that morning).  We made our number with the Harbour Master & were agreeably surprised to be told no fee required for anchoring. Then we walked to & around the castle (EH) on its headland.  Very nice & well preserved, swallows in the ceilings & scented flowers along the way.



Tues 18th June.  A deliberately early start to take advantage of a perceived weather window, although the downside was that the wind would be light towards the end (before it came back with a vengeance, & in the wrong direction) & that would mean motoring.  There was lots of weed on the anchor & we were lulled into hoisting all sails for about an hour’s sailing.  By 8am we had the radar on as the vis had dropped, motoring with the wind light & on the nose.  10am we had passed the Lizard, but did not see it, only heard its foghorn.  12.30 Lands End & the Longships light were abeam & just visible, & some dolphin were feeding off the other beam.  Then a couple of hours of stop start sailing with a fitful wind, until mid afternoon we furled the genny & motored.  Passed several rafts of guillemots & razorbills, & also the occasional ‘pot’ buoy – odd to see in deep water & a long way from land.  At 6pm there was a glimpse of sun, very short lived & very strange on that grey day.  8.30 pm more dolphins feeding.  Motoring, as expected, & a very dark night with dubious vis, then sometime after midnight (19th June)  dolphins arrived, playing round the boat.  First a splash near the stern, then pale ‘torpedo’ streaks alongside the boat, & then leaps at the bow, repeated once or twice before departing.  The most I saw leap at the bow at any one time was 6 or 7.  And this was continued, with variations, for about 3 hours until just short of our destination at Milford Haven, when large anchored tankers came into view.  We headed to the anchorage at Dale, dropped the hook & hit the sack.

134.8 nm in 23 hrs.



Afternoon Wed 19th June.  Having surfaced again we unfurled the genny for a very pleasant & relaxed sail in sunshine up river to Lawrenny where we picked up a mooring in very quiet & peaceful surroundings.  12.2 nm.

Thurs 20th June.  We inflated the kayaks & early afternoon as the tide came in we paddled up the river Carew to the village & castle of Carew, about 3 miles further on.  There was an abundance of wildlife with mudflats interspersed with woodland & distant farms.  At Carew we had arranged to meet some friends who were holidaying in nearby Tenby, so we all did a circuit around the castle & its now full tidal millpool before we returned downriver.



It had started to rain so we were fairly soggy when we got back to Sugar ‘n’ Spice, but it was amazing how different the view was with the tide in – the stream had become a wide river!

Fri 21st June.  A short motor downriver to the marina at Neyland, more bad weather dodgying!   & on the day of the Summer Solstice!    2.7 nm.

The wind arrived as expected for the weekend.  We made several provisioning trips to the little town, cleared the laundry & other chores.  On Saturday we took the bikes on a short but hilly circuit along the coast, then inland & back through the nature reserve above the marina, a very nice stretch.




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