Saturday, 2 August 2014

Eyemouth to Lindisfarne and on to Amble and Hartlepool

Apologies for the delay, several new crew changes, route changes, weather changes and the delights of  doing laundry at 1am have meant the blog is a little behind my need for some sleep!

Eyemouth to Lindisfarne with Mark W and Matthew was a good sail, fresh useful winds whisking us down the coast past sundry castles but always with the brooding presence of Bamburgh castle in the back ground. The navigation into Lindisfarne is not especially difficult but we had arrived at low water and so our entry over rocky reefs in a slightly tortuous pattern was tricky. Depths at places were 1.6m under the keel, and we used excellent team work to enable this. We were the only yacht moving at that time. I was helming along a careful rhumb line which was pre loaded into the chart plotters, and as we nudged along at 2 knots over the rocks and sand, Mark W was using the sonar overlay on the iPad to give extra confirmation that I needed to turn to port or starboard, while Matthew was on the bows looking down at the approaching and receding rocks, always with a brief to abort immediately if necessary, and we had a constant understanding of where safe water might be, we also left our snail trail across the screen to retrace our steps, if necessary.  Despite the intensity of our approach, it was very enjoyable and an example of how great teamwork where everyone knows exactly what they are doing and communicated well can achieve so much.

Ironically, our least depth of 0.6m under the keel was when we had got into the deeper part and were looking for the best anchorage, and that was an immediate STOP! We anchored safely, put out a lot of chain in the  fresh wind and considered the unattractive proposition of leaving the security of the boat and getting into the tender. A cup of tea gave us reduced winds and new inspiration, and Matthew and I left for the slipway, on Holy island a short while away, while Mark W remained on board on anchor watch.

Lindisfarne is a very holy place where spirituality oozes out to meet and absorb you. Its importance in early Christianity is well known and as we landed in the tender, shoes and socks removed to get the tender up the mast few metres through the mud, I reflected that it was a good way to land. We ambled over to the village, had a well deserved and tasty sandwich and paid our respects at the church, inspecting the remarkable sculptures as we did so.

Then after two hours on Holy island, Mark W called us back to reality and we returned to Alexandria, now sitting prettily to her chain anchor which we were in due course able to lift without problem. We did not want to gave to leave ours behind on the bottom with all the others!

Another great sail took us down to amble where Jonty was waiting for us on our pontoon, which was really good to see. Then a meal at a restaurant followed, while waited for Ian joining us by car to arrive at 2300 so that Matthew and Mark W to could leave about midnight to drive back to Suffolk. Settling in our new crew Jonty and Ian was a pleasure, although doing my laundry at 1am and passage planning at 2am was not!

The following day, yesterday, we had an indifferent wind to take us from Amble to Whitby, and resigned ourselves to motor sailing for some if it. However, we actually got some great sailing out of a fresh wind which kept turning, which was very pleasing, and it was good to show Alexandria off to her new crew. However, we were concerned that the forecast was for strong NE winds and that we might get stuck in Whitby, pinned down by breaking surf at the entrance and unable to leave, so we diverted to Hartlepool  where happliy Ray met us at the control tower and went for a much anticipated meal. Great evening, great friends. 

Today, Ian Ray Jonty and I  are off to Scarborough, where Jonty leaves this evening, we have enjoyed his enthusiasm and he enjoyed navigating us by radar to safety yesterday in thick fog and rain .

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