Howling wind high over the cliff drove the night away and sent gusts swooping through the rigging. Rain came, angry drumming fingers on the cabin roof as A-Jay swung and tugged at her harness like a startled race horse and I lay snug in my green maggot with Beethoven (Page 474). I could see the shredded sky through shiny pools and rain drops on the sky light and a little later a weak sun escaped, to add a little brightness to the day. Barry has gone all moody and this weather is set to remain for several more days – I really do wonder WHO stole summer?
The rain, heavy now, I welcome, for it sluices through joints, blocks, nooks and crannies flushing out the heavy salt crystals – and of course it will reveal any leaks, always useful. Somewhere I have a little gammon so have decided today is roast day, but first I decided to seek shelter in Milford Marina which would open later in the afternoon, though persuading Mr. Rocna to come with me I knew would be no easy task.
I called up Milford Marina to announce my arrival later; I am the only visitor riding out this weather in the bay, but I will now give up after 2 days and nights and go and join the others in the marina, especially as the milk is off, the bread green and the sausages have grown a white mould …. plus a gale moving up from Lundy is imminent.
Nearer the time I checked in with the Milford Harbour Obergruppenführer, advising him of my intentions; he told me to beware the Irish ferry due to leave shortly. Now for Mr. Rocna; the wind was only 17 or 18 knots now in the sheltered bay and I found the technique was to haul in the rode to the point where it wouldn’t come any further. Then pause, with the shank just free of the bottom the fluke still buried, await a lull and go for it and in no time the Mr. Rocna was landed and A-Jay’s sharp bows swung obediently round towards the estuary. We were soon surfing at 7.5 knots upstream past a huge terminal with Boreas blowing hard BEHIND us for a change; what joy, what bliss!
The terminal, strung out over a mile, looked as though a giant had been playing with a Meccano set and in the middle had placed a Lego blockhouse, the Obergruppenfuhrer’s HQ; we felt VERY small as we shot past but we missed the timing for entry to Milford Marina. There is a waiting pontoon, which today was bouncing around in the gusty wind; we made it, without touching the pontoon and the skipper didn’t fall in – might just be getting the hang of this.
Up on the green hillsides wind turbines turn lazily and oil tanks and chimneys speak of the work done here. The forecast came through as I sipped Horlicks and the radio reported imminent Gale Force 8 coming up from Lundy, as well as Plymouth and Sole, so for once I reckon the skipper had made the right decision. Barry, who’d dropped his pants, agreed too.
We shot through the lock gates at tea time and headed for our allocated berth – except I couldn’t find it, entering and reversing out of two berths in the strong, gusty wind before finally arriving at D 07. It was good to see 2 helpers emerge from yachts nearby for it really was very blowy; “I’m solo, thank you,” I shouted. “So am I” said the bearded ‘poet’ with my stern line. “Me too” said the tough little Dutchman with my bow line. There you are – reduced to my proper level by others who are doing much the same thing, probably rather better and with no heroics. The Dutchman was on his way to Ireland and reckoned he might go on Wednesday – yes his boat is bigger, but get this; he had done Falmouth to Milford haven in one hop. No whinging, whining blogs about short hops unlike me!
Milk, bread and sausages bought from Tesco, so all is well with the World. A steak at Martha’s Vineyard nearby went down well too, though I refrained from joining the rest of the diners who ALL stood up from their tables and watched as a yacht came in, fighting the strong wind, hoping to witness an expensive prang. You just know that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you are ALWAYS being watched in the boating world …… whether by mark 1 eyeball with or without binoculars, or radar.
I am particularly happy as Tesco sells garden compost. Those long suffering folk who have been bored by me about the unusual heads arrangement on board, will understand where I am coming from. I am not sure what the ‘poet’, or those watching eyes made of this skipper staggering back from Tesco to the boat, with a sack of John Innes’ best.
Sadly I never did find that gammon ….
Another gale is raging as I await the boatyard hand, who will help me disassemble my hatch arrangement to retrieve my passage plan folder and help restore life to my main VHF set, which I fear succumbed to so many hours with sea water sluicing over the cabin top. Luckily I fitted an emergency VHF antenna, which I connect to my hand held VHF and this seems to give a transmit range of 20 miles or so; I have also received from 75 miles away.
Toot! Toot for now!