Sunday, September 15, 2013

Saturday, September 14 Royal Harwich Yacht Club Library

A good day today!  We slept late after all our long passage of the previous days, then after breakfasting on Ann's delicious buckwheat pancakes, we were visited by the genial harbormaster, Michael Duggan (Doogy) who provided us with a wealth of information, on everything from the local area to information on going up the Thames  and traveling to and through the Netherlands.  He also called and reserved a place for us here.  We then  went out to explore the town of Old Harwich, which was the home of Christopher Newport of Virginia fame, and Christopher Jones who piloted the Mayflower.  Also Samuel Pepys, the diarist had served as harbormaster here.  We bought a few groceries at a small shop, then had lunch in a lovely building dating from the 15th century,  The Crown and Post Restaurant.   After lunch, we caught the tide upstream to this lovely Yacht Club, where we were warmly welcomed.  Everyone seems excited to meet American sailors, and even more excited when they learn that Lew and Ann have been circumnavigating the globe, living on their boat pretty much full time for the past seventeen years.

The library has many books and magazines on sailing, and is decorated with lovely paintings and prints, including portraits of royal benefactors of the club going back to queen Adelaide.

We walked on a lovely footpath through woods and flowery  fields to the tiny village of Pin Mill and a famous pub called The Butt and Oyster, where we had a light supper.  Along the path we encountered two children swinging from a board swing from one of the big old oak trees.  I ate a bowl of mussels,  Kent and Ann had a pureed vegetable soup, and Lew had cheese and olives.  The sky cleared, and there was lovely light on the fields and through the trees as we walked back to the yacht club, to the laundry and the library.
We have been doing our laundry here, with mixed success, as there is no clothes dryer, and the one machine leaves everything sopping wet.

It has gotten windier and colder.  A sudden interruption!  Fireworks and what sounded like canon blasts.  I've no idea what the occasion.

Time to head back to the boat!  More tomorrow.

Sunday, September 15
Harwich Royal Yacht Club

We slept late this morning, but climbed out to brilliant sunshine and fairly warm temperatures before 9 a.m.

Kent strung up a clothesline, and we both hung out three loads of laundry from the previous night.  The wind whipped up, and people where out sailing in little dinghies.  Here we were, the only American boat in this elegant marina, at the end of the dock with our laundry flying beneath the Stars and Stripes. It was so warm I doffed my fleece, leggings, and socks.  However, after about an hour of this delightful situation, the sky suddenly filled with dark clouds, the temperature dropped, and we were back to gray and gloom again.  We have gotten the laundry in, although a few things are still drying under cover.

The exciting news is that Lew has determined a course to London.  We leave here tomorrow, anchor one night near the mouth of the Thames, then take the tide up to Limehouse Marina on Tuesday morning, arriving shortly after noon to get through the lock into the dock, about 1.5 miles from the Tower of London,  on a stop on the Docklands Light Rail.  We are all quite excited to have this settled and we are looking forward to arriving in London from the water.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Friday, 13 September

Friday, 13 September
10 a.m.

We are sailing now, no motor!  Nearing the end of Yarmouth.  It is somewhat warmer here, wind from the west as we pass along the shore.  The swells have evened out.

I went to bed about 8:30,  before Kent finished his watch about 9: 20.  We slept until 3, despite bouncing head to toe and side to side.  During the 3-6 watch, we saw lights of ships in the darkness and some lights along the shore.  I stayed up until about 4:30, with still no sign of dawn.  I was trying to remember the words of "Let the Lower Be Burning" and hearing Johnny Cash's voice.  This was a favorite of mine from childhood.   "Some poor shipwrecked, drowning sailor, you may rescue, you may save."  I'll try to keep my lower lights burning. Occasionally waves broke over the bow, white clouds of ghostly spray whipping toward us in the darkness, then gone in an instant.

I played Scrabble against the machine on my iPad, not doing very well, and when Kent came down to the aft cabin at six, to my surprise I fell asleep again, not waking until almost 9, dreaming deeply of clinging to red cliffs in a Grand Canyon that went up, not down, and of an amazing folding tent made of one long stretch of fabulous material that could be folded and turned to stand up by itself and make many configurations.  I had rescued a hummingbird, and was looking for a safe place for it to try to fly.

6 pm. We have docked in Harwich.  Seas calm, but intermittent rain.  We had wonderful, smooth sailing for much of  the day, making very good progress, averaging six knots, sometimes going as much as ten.  We have covered 200 nautical miles since Runswick Bay.  Lew says he had sailed for 45 years before he made a passage that long.  I cooked multi bean casserole for lunch.  Then I got a knot  in my stomach that felt like it wasn't going to go away, except coming up.  But I lay down for awhile, and it did go away.  Thankful!  It is so warm we don't need more than a couple of layers of clothing.  I'm wearing my Mexican dress over long-sleeved t-shirt and hiking pants with pink hiking socks and and black Ecco hiking sandals.

8:30 p.m.  Showers tonight!  A short walk along the pontoon in the rain.  Unisex bathrooms, so Kent and I could share.  After a lovely supper, including a delicious salad with homemade dressing, all  made by Ann, who is a fabulous cook, and some red  wine, we are turning in early after our 1 night and 2 days of sailing following our wild night in Runswick Bay. 

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Wednesday, September 11

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 1:30 pm

Sailing south, large swells making rocking sailing, but no wind, heading toward an anchorage in Runswick Bay, somewhere north of Whitby.  It has been raining and it is chilly.  No hint of sun for most of the day, and not the most pleasant ride.  We are motoring, using the main sail to help even out the swell.  We are in the cockpit, because it is harder to keep from getting seasick under deck; however, the cockpit is enclosed in plastic, keeping out much of the wind and rain.  We have been underway since about 8, and have another 4 hours to go.  This is going to be a long day.  Ann, Kent, and I have chosen to fast today, so we don't even have drinks and a hot meal to look forward to this evening.  Maybe just the cessation of rocking will be enough.

A series of five big ships is crossing our path.  How will we keep from being run down?

We had a lovely time taking the bus to Newcastle yesterday, through charming Whitley Bay, the outskirts of Tynemouth.  After lunch at a buffet, The Goose,  just down from the Haymarket bus station, we proceeded down Newgate, stopping in St. Andrews, the city's oldest church, which had very old stones in the churchyard and some lovely Romanesque details inside.  After by-passing the colorful wagon of a Welsh fortune-telling Gypsy, we explored the lavish St. Nicholas church, then passed the castle, and walked down steps to the quayside, where we could see the array of four bridges across the Tyne, including one that resembled and was built by the the builder of the Sidney Harbor Bridge, and the amazing millennium foot bridge by Norman Foster, that opens like an eyelid.

On the other side of the footbridge lay the Baltic contemporary art museum in an old flour mill, a fascinating place with wild and weird art and sculpture and helpful guides.  It also offered fabulous views of the river and the bridges.  We also had great views of the performance hall designed by Foster that is sometimes described as looking like a glass bottle on its side.

Seven Stories, a children's literature center had a nicely designed, child-friendly exhibit on Enid Blyton. I met the others afterwards at the Ship Inn.) We finished our afternoon at The Biscuit Factory art gallery and dinner at the adjacent David Kennedy's Social Food, very elegant with yummy tapas and wine.  In the evening light we rode back to the boat, sitting in the front seats on the top of the double-decker bus, as we'd done in the morning.

We seem to have passed the gauntlet of large ships, and foggy land looms ahead.
I am bundled in two layers of pants, long wool hiking socks, two shirts,  my fleece, wool scarf,  parka, and gloves when I'm not typing, and I am still chilly.  Last night and the night  before the wind generator howled and moaned in irregular patterns that kept me awake.  Are we having fun yet?

About 5 p.m. We anchored in Runswick Bay. Still lots of swell.  Clouds, cold, and a pretty little village against the hillside on shore.  Whitby was visible in the distance as we came into the bay.

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Thursday, September 12. Rough Sailing

Thursday, September 12, 2013 8 a.m.
What a night! The boat constantly rocked from side to side, sometimes with loud rumbles and crashes as the waves hit the hull. Often times we slid or rolled across the bed, to which we'd attached a wooden board to hold us in. I already had a stiff neck, and this did not make it better. There was a pattern to the rocking, a crescendo of side to side rocks, then an all too brief hiatus, almost no motion at all, and then a bit of tilt from bow to stern, then it would start over again. With every repeat of the cycle, I hoped and prayed this one would be the last. Eventually I was so tired that I slept for awhile, but it was impossible to be truly comfortable. For awhile I braced my knee against the board and one arm against the mast at the head of the bed that held the board. 
At 4:30 we got up to sail again. My neck hurt, but the usually sore back was not too bad. We were finally warm under all of our blankets, and I was reluctant to get out in the dark and cold. Lew had plotted us a course of of over 150 miles. But I crawled over the rail and made my way into the head where I managed ok with all the rocking until I stood up straight and reached up to turn on the light, which caused a spasm of intense pain in my center back. I gasped for breath and moaned, and managed to sit on the toilet seat without falling out the door and collapsing on the floor. I could hardly breathe and was in a cold sweat and light-headed when Kent, who had heard me came back to the aft cabin and found me. After a few minutes I felt better, but still shaken. Kent brought some pineapple juice and ibuprofen, and I crawled back into bed. Lew and Kent got the anchor up and motor running, which immediately smooth the swell to some extent, and I dozed off, missing the view of Whitby in the gloom. 
I did get up and into the cockpit in time to see Robin Hood's Bay and look at the stark cliffs where I'd walked alone so many years ago, now feeling much better. Kent is at the helm and Lew and Ann have gone back to bed, too. The swells continue, but there is little to no wind, so we are motoring with one sail up. We've moved farther off shore, away from the headlands and fishing boats, so except for occasional birds there is nothing to see but gray water and sky, and the cold is chilling. Bed seems the best place to spend such a passage. There is no heat in the boat other than from the gas stove top and that generated by the engine. I have been thinking of the tales my grandparents told of awful crossings of the North Sea.
4:20 p.m.
I slept for awhile again this morning, then went out to watch again. We are making good progress, and the sun shone hazily for an hour or so, which made us all feel more cheerful.
I washed my leggings and one pair of underpants, and dressed in clean pants, leaving my long-sleeved t-shirt under my Mexican dress on top, with wool scarf and fleece and parka above that. Fetching, I'm sure. It warmed up in the cockpit, but it is still very cold here in the aft cabin.
We are planning an overnight passage, to either Great Yarmouth or on to Harwich, depending on our speed. We have been motoring, with slight sail assist sometimes, between 5 and7knots mostly depending on current. This doesn't make for very fast traveling.
We began passing many oil rigs and tankers this afternoon.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sailing from Scotland to London


8 September 2013  1:20 pm

Sailing on Serannity with Lew and Ann Tucker, old sailing friends of Kent's, from Eyemouth north of Berwick-upon-Tweed to London.

After an afternoon walking the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, and taking a photo of me in front of 6 Nelson street where Ed, Jesse, and I lived for nearly 3 months in 1979 (we now stayed across the street at a lovely B an B 11 Nelson Street), we took the bus to Eyemouth through lovely country villages, arriving in Eyemouth in a gale and downpour requiring our pack covers and parkas as we trekked along the waterfront in search of the boat with an American flag flying.  We spied it through the blowing rain, and walked all around the harbor to reach it on the other side.  Lew had gone looking for us, but Ann warmly welcomed us two drowned rats.
Wet Lew
9 September Sunday 1:30 p.m.

Dropping anchor at Lindisfarne (Holy Island).  Weather is brisk.
We left Eyemouth about 9, taking about an hourto get fuel.  There were some fairly big swells as we traveled along the shore where we had walked yesterday.

We saw many seals poking up their heads to look at us we passed.  We passed a fishing boat with people on deck.

Yesterday I walked around in the morning, and Kent and I did errands for Ann, getting stamps for many postcards, vitamins at the pharmacy, and a few things at the grocery store, finally buying scones at the bakery.

In the afternoon we walked along the spectacular cliff side coastal path between a scenic golf course ( I saw no golf carts and no women) and crashing waves on black rocks below, getting  back in time for dinner at OBLO, which was a surprisingly elegant pub.  Three of us had the evening special of sea bass, teriyaki mushrooms, soy meringues, and braised pak choi.  Kent had peppardelle with mushrooms.  Desserts:  Eton Mess (meringue fruit and cream), raspberry cheesecake (not really cheesecake -- more like mousse), chocolate brownie with caramel ice cream, and Irish coffee.  Also a bottle of white  fine  house wine.  On the way home we encountered swans on the waterfront.

Kent and I planned to take hot showers in the evening, but even though Kent says he put 2 50 pence pieces in for hot water, we never got any hot water, and ended up with cold showers.  Brr.  Needless to say we didn't linger.

This afternoon we arrived at Lindisfarne, the Holy Island, where saints Cuthbert and Aidan lived, and where the Lindisfarne Gospels were created.

We went ashore in the dinghy, visited two museums and had drinks in a pub.  It was a wet ride back to the boat.  Castles loom in the distance on both sides.  Lindisfarne to the east and Bamburgh (where Elizabeth with cate Blanchett was filmed) to the west, the ruined priory priory and stone and white-washed cottages of the village behind us.  There were picturesque storage sheds made of the overturned hulls of old ships.

September 10 (tuesday)
Royal Northmberland Yacht Club

We left about 7 a.m. On  Monday and motored with sail up and a light tail wind to Blyth, just north of Newcastle.  Strong winds and gusts are expected today, so instead of heading back to sea, we are taking the bus to Newcastle-on-Tyne, supposedly the hip capital of the Northeast.  A man we met at the bar last night described Nothumberland, bordering Scotland and full of castles, as the "wild west" of England.

Linnea and Kent

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