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Friday, 6 May 2011

Isles of Scilly

We left Newlyn harbour in the morning that will forever be known as Thursday the 28th of April 2011. The wind was not as Easterly as we'd have liked. Though it still had a scratch in it and we have an itch to sail. We rounded the Easterly cardinal buoy and set the canvas. First the foresail. Spritsail next and then on to the main. On a boat of medieval ilk this took us about an hour to achieve. 2 knots of speed now, not bad for an old girl yet we're in a touch more of a hurry than that so unfortunately the engine is left on. We cross the water to the anchorage some 6 hours later from averaging 7knots an hour. Hook down, celebratory beer.

Until the Monday we would play host as a floating hotel mainly for the Cleavedon Gig Club. I did, however, manage to get enough time off to read books aloud, watch a thunderstorm pass in the dead of night and even once managed to get drunken with the local sail maker.

We headed out to return to Penzance on Monday with the boat a fragile and groaning mess, the product of a weekend's hard rowing and drinking. True it was also that people had jobs to go to.
The hook comes up and with it a great mass of seaweed. Due East we go and smack into the startings of what the clever weather people are calling 'force 8 gale winds'.
The boat itself would handle it I have no doubt, but what of the crew? What happens here? The average member has not been to sea other than in a dinghy and in fair weather. Bar five of us the rest is made up of middle aged men who love to row long wooden boats for a laugh. And it is a laugh. And I don't blame them but this is not what I need here. Nor is the 1 knot of speed we're making into an ever increasing wind. 30 hours punching shitty seas to get to B? Fuck that, I'm staying in A until the weather clears.

So the next two days our guests made their arrangements for home, to fly or to take an alternative boat back and as the numbers dwindled we explored.

Tuesday: Off to Tresco to have a coffee and explore the fantastic gardens that were set up in 1836. Such exotic and prehistoric plants prevail here. Big ones, small ones, fluffly ones, 'living' ones. Golden Pheasants. A collection of figureheads. So much beauty in such a small island. My heart softens to a pulp.
Wednesday: St. Agnes. The pulp melts and with it my soul. It mingles with the sand and gets forever entwined within a perfect day.

I awoke in desperate need of a shower. Jacqui our cook for the trip needs a lift ashore. At the idea of washing the crust of a day at sea away the crew all head over to land. Shower. Re-group. Breakfast.
We find treasure on the beach, and then? Do the same on another beach. Drift wood, softly worn glass, the remnants of clay pipes and other wonderful tidbits are picked up and pocketed for the use in making shiny things for our loved ones. Drop off the findings and over to St. Agnes.
This place is magical, it has beautiful beaches, amazing headlands, a disused lighthouse and the Turks Head pub. It is here that I tinkle on the piano for a couple of hours, it's the first go I've had in over a month! I play rather badly but I don't care. I am playing and it feels good to just be alive, even if it's only for 5 more minutes. After a thorough walk we head back to the Matthew. The wind has changed and the Atlantic swell lets us know. A beam roll all night. No one sleeps well at all so I hold tight and read some more.
 Rob kicks the bunk at 6am.
'Thom, we're off.'

OK Rob, let me just be sick from the shock of the idea I have to move today and I'll be with you.
Also how dare you ask me to leave this bed. I am happy here, I don't want my time here to ever end!! You bastard!

'Aye aye, Rob'. Says I.

Hook comes up, more seaweed.
Due East.
7 hours later  after playing with dolphins we see Newlyn, two of our crew head off to carry on their lives. One as a boat builder and the other as amazing.
I write this from Penzance. Sorry it's been a while. I am at the whim of the sea. Here my computer is an unwelcome commodity that I may not always be ale to connect to.

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