We have been here for over two weeks and are reluctantly planning our departure before the weather in Spain and Portugal deteriorates. Looks like we’ll be leaving tomorrow, Monday. We have started to feel like we live here!

One of the main competitive sports on the islands is gig racing and the weekly gig races attract crowds of visitors. These are fiercely fought events for hard men and women. The distances involved are 2 to 5 miles and the sea is not always calm. Our friend, Steve, is the coxswain of Czar, one of the Tresco and Bryher gigs.

Steve and Czar getting ready for the start

                                Steve and Czar getting ready for the start
Czar on the far left being 'nobbled' by the opposition at the start

Czar on the far left being ‘nobbled’ by the opposition at the start

On Thursday we went over to St Martin’s by dinghy. It took us nearly 2 hours to get there and, once we had drained the water out of the double shell hull, we came back at 13knots in 20 minutes.

St Martins is a peaceful and unspoilt island with a Lower Town, Middle Town and Higher Town with no more than a hundred dwellings in total!

St Martin's sandy bay

St Martin’s sandy bay where we landed

We went to Higher Town to try Adam’s Fish and Chips ……

The view from our table

The view from our table

Adam goes out in the morning and catches the fish and cooks it in the evening ….. the chips are made from potatoes grown behind the restaurant .. Fantastic.

We had a bit of an adventure yesterday, Saturday. We set off in strongish winds in the dinghy, bound for St Mary’s. Once out if the shelter of Tresco, the full force of the wind and tide hit us, quite literally, in the face! We arrived in Hugh town wet and bedraggled. We had to collect our post and the Pilot books we’d ordered for Spain and Portugal and the Atlantic Islands from the Harbour Master’s Office. We then went to the only supermarket on the islands to stock up with food before the 3 day passage we are about to embark on.

The return journey was a little less wet with the wind and tide going in our direction although the wind was even stronger. When we got back to our mooring the boat wasn’t there!!!! It was moored to the ferry buoy about 50m away from where we had been anchored.

One of the neighbouring yachts told us that Island Kea had been the highlight of the morning. She had started to drag her anchor shortly after we had left for St Mary’s and was heading slowly, but surely towards the rocks. The neighbouring yacht and two other yacht crews, had managed to get a long line on to the big ferry buoy and attach it to the bow to hold IK off the rocks, but she was too heavy for them to haul out. They then managed to get the Bryher jet boat ferry to nudge IK out to the buoy, while they winched her.

We arrived well after the event and after a quick ‘gratitude tour’ we got on board and had to work out how and where to move to. We decided to go to the mouth of the sound where there is more water to ‘swing’ on a longer length of chain. Having released ourselves from the mooring buoy, we hauled up the anchor, which had a tree trunk’s girth worth of seaweed wrapped around it and trailing half the length of the boat. There was no way of hooking it off with a boathook …. it was out with the diver’s knife and hack at it ’til it released it’s grip on us.

We re-anchored with all our 60m of chain out and nervously watched to see that we were holding.Once happy, we had a sociable time delivering beers and heart-felt thanks to our ‘saviours’. They were only to pleased to have helped and all felt it genuinely could happen to anyone and helping us was like ‘money in the bank’ for the day they may need assistance! Thank goodness they were aware of what was happening and were resourceful and quick thinking enough to work out a rescue plan!

Today’s lesson learned …… when the wind changes direction and strength in a crowded mooring, move to less populated water where there is more room and put out all the chain!

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