Learning to fish, and the Isles of Scilly

We left Ireland on Sunday the 25th August and took on our last long passage of our circumnavigation, across the Irish Sea. The forecast was for a decent breeze, but the sea conditions were set to be moderate/rough.

The first day went well and we tried out our new fishing gear as we passed the small islands just outside Kilmore Quay. I reeled in the first pollock, and then Helena caught the (marginally more impressive) second:

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Later in the day we were followed by dozens of dolphins. They came racing over to us before playing across our bows. At one point we had three or four groups join us like this all from different directions and, although impossible to count, we estimate that there were between thirty and forty dolphins zipping around the boat all together at one point.

As the evening closed in and we were getting further offshore, the direction of the waves changed entirely and they became much bigger, hitting us across our rear quarter. The wind was also coming from directly behind us which, in combination with the waves made it virtually impossible to sail. To maintain our course we ran the engine through the night and took our three hour watches in turn. The clear skies allowed the bright moon to light the surreal watery landscape around us; it was a beautiful and quite humbling scene.

In the morning, as we approached Scilly, I sailed in slightly calmer seas while Helena slept under Buxton’s watchful eye:

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Scilly is a stunningly beautiful group of islands about 20 miles south west of Cornwall. I took this photo just as we were arriving at the entrance to New Grimsby Sound on the north side of Tresco, it was tricky to make out the entrance between the rocks:

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We’d been joined on deck by a small fish that must have decided that he’d had enough of the Irish Sea and that life on board with us would be better. Buxton wasn’t too impressed and didn’t seem to know what to make of a meal that hadn’t come out of a packet:

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We spent three nights at anchor in the Scillies (there are no marinas), and moved from one stunning location to the next each day. This is us anchored in Old Grimsby Sound, where we spent the second night:

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Sadly there wasn’t enough wind to kitesurf but I did dust off the kites and have a play on the white sandy beach that you can see in the background. Another few knots of wind and this would have been just about the most perfect kitesurf spot imaginable.

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The last night was spent alone in a very remote anchorage. There were no other boats there and absolutely no light pollution which, combined with a perfectly clear sky, meant that the view of the heavens was incredible and we could clearly make out the Milky Way.

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This morning we set off to find another anchorage. As we worked our way around the north side of the islands, we realised that the sea was flat, and that the wind direction was good for a crossing back to the mainland. With Cornwall clearly in sight the temptation to take advantage of the good conditions won us over and we changed course for Penzance. We are now at anchor just outside the harbour there, in sight of St Michaels Mount.

Tomorrow we will round Lizard Point and head for Falmouth where we’ve arranged to collect my Dad. He’ll be joining us for a few day’s as we head along Cornwall’s Jurassic coast.

If you’d like to see more photos from our circumnavigation, then take a look at our Facebook page

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