Here’s a pub quiz question: Where is the Celtic Sea? Off Scotland somewhere? Ireland maybe? How about that bit of aquatic loveliness between the Atlantic Ocean, the English Channel and St. George’s Channel? Where’s all that? I hear non-sailors ask. Well, just in case you happen to find yourself in a pub at quiz time, the Celtic Sea is south of Ireland and west of Cornwall, although the marketing bods in the south west do tend to keep it under their belts. Numerous road signs in Cornwall point us this way and that toward the Atlantic Highway, not one mentioning that on any map the area of sea that lands on the north Cornish shore is in fact the Celtic Sea. And it’s in the Celtic sea that you will find scattered like gem stones, the Scilly Isles.
Under Charlotte’s expert tutelage, Monday morning saw us winching up the anchor and heaving on those meaty ropes to hoist the sails again, setting off for Bryher and Tresco. Tresco of course is ever so slightly well known for its famous Abbey Garden. It took a while to get there, as is the way with sailing, unfortunately by the time we did, it was shut. No matter. There was a whole island to explore and apparently a pub. Fancy that. But we had to get ashore first..
Ferried across to the island by skipper James, we scrambled on to dryish land via some rocks and a meandering path that took us up to Cromwell’s Castle. Now, I love a good sign, and thought this one so polite it deserves an audience here. My investigations since have found this fascinating explanation of the Ministry of Works and I am delighted that it’s neither a random sound bite to amuse tourists nor a nightclub. The Ministry was an actual thing, renamed such in 1942.
While we were enjoying a gentle stroll along the beach at Tresco in search of The New Inn (easily found, hard to leave), back on the Eda Frandsen, things below deck had taken a delightful turn.
I couldn’t do this in my own kitchen, let alone one as small as this: yep that’s right – the galley is about the size of the oven with just enough room to swing a cod. Unbattered.
Later that evening I took a risk and, sitting up on deck, began to brush my hair. Three strokes in and a snap and a splash told me that the bristly end of the hair brush would now lay forever more at the bottom of the Celtic sea. I like to think the brush was damaged before I started, rather than it being my sea-sticky knotted hair that hewed it in two. I hope some sort of marine life will make it it’s home and live within its little plastic spines happily ever after. The brush that is, not my hair, obviously.
The sun set, the stars appeared and a few of us sat on deck enjoying the spectacle. Shy crewmate John told me all about the constellations, which one was which, northern/southern hemisphere stars, planets et al. He was very knowledgeable and I was keen to absorb some of that knowledge. How did he know this stuff? I wondered. ‘Do you like sailing?’ I asked. ‘Its ok’, he answered quietly. ‘Done anything like this before?’ I asked, thinking by his demeanour and countenance that he probably had some dull old desk job and hadn’t. ‘Climbed the Andes twice,’ he said. ‘Oh’ I said, astounded, and remembered that old adage, never judge a book...
We sat in silence a bit after that, until the Milky Way became clear in the dark sky and took us on our own thoughtful journeys.
Tomorrow, sailing toward the Helston River in the dark