Into The Darkness

Although not raining, Tuesday was a cooler day, which meant a bit of a breeze and warmer clothes – we were on a long sail. So long in fact, that we were to enjoy some night sailing. Or rather, sailing in the dark. Same thing really, as there were some giant ships loitering just off the Cornish coast, lights ablazing and engines running and it didn’t matter if it was 8 in the evening or 2 in the morning – they were still the sort of thing we wanted to stay away from.
We said our goodbyes to The Scillies, vowing to one day return whether by car plane or boat. Probably boat as there isn’t as yet, an Scilly Isles Chunnel – a Schunnel, if you will, and that is probably a very good thing.

Navigating around the top of Tresco and then down, heading south east, we sailed on toward Lands End, passing some beer.
No, wait. We passed this:
IMG_2355.JPG not be confused with this:
The lighthouse is Wolf Rock Lighthouse, named after the rock it is built on – the rock believed to be so named due to the howling sound made by the wind as it blows through the crevasses and gullies in it. Fantastic! A howling sea wolf!  But howling or not – would you believe that this lighthouse, 8 nautical miles from Lands End and 18 nm east of St Mary’s, since being de-manned is now controlled from Essex.

And so on we sailed. Conversation was made, tea was drunk. Chloe’s delicious cake was eaten. Lots of cake was eaten. Lunch was eaten. More cake was consumed and all of a sudden, it was getting dark.IMG_2404.JPG

A strange hush came over the Eda Frandsen and all we could hear was the splishing and gentle splashing of the water as the bow broke through it. A sunset is always pretty cool; watching our nearest star plummeting over the horizon taking light and warmth with it is but the warm-up act to an inspiring night vista. As our eyes adjusted to the dark, we became aware of our port and starboard lights, how small we actually were – a tiny tiny dot in massive ocean. We were calm and peaceful, enjoying the movement of the boat and watching the lights ashore, the few we could see, sparkle out from blackening land mass.
IMG_2393.JPGThen a shout – a call to arms – the sound of splashing – had someone had the misfortune of falling over-board? No – they were back!! Such drama llamas, those porpoises. They came alongside us unannounced, then in front, then to the side again, this time so close we could, if we formed an orderly queue and held on tight, reach out to touch them. But we didn’t form an orderly queue of course, we ran around like cats chasing mice in a barn, dodging this way and that, following the creatures as they teased us with their brilliance. Having worked us all up into a frenzy they dipped below the surface and buggered off. And that was the last we saw of them.

By now the stars were also out, showing off. The sky above us was streaked once more with the Milky Way and it seemed as though time as standing still. Only the gentle glow from the navigation screen with its red blip marking us out indicated our whereabouts: other than that we could have been anywhere in the world.

As we approached the Helford River it was time to take the sails down. I liked this bit – so much easier! Guiding those ropes carefully, down came the sails and were stuffed immediately into their green sail bags, taking on the appearance of giant olives. James started the motor and we pottered up the Helford River in the dark. So Daphne du Maurier I can’t tell you!


3 thoughts on “Into The Darkness

  1. For someone who professes not to like boats and sailing you seem to have been won over – must’ve been all that cake and the porpoises. I’ve really enjoyed your voice in this series of writings, you conjur up the sensations and experiences that I recall from some of my own past sailing times – narrowbaoting just doesn’t come close.


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