Finally, as was expected, by Wednesday the sun had done a runner and left us with grey drizzle punctuated by occasional heavy spots of rain. The Helford River was beautiful though in the early morning light, the tops of the trees that abounded each shore just tipped with low mist, like a veil. Despite being quite mild I knew that once we were out at sea we’d be feeling the cold. So I donned two pairs of leggings and a pair of waterproof trousers, a thermal top, a t shirt, a fleece, another fleece, a fleecy balaclava (didn’t look mad at all) my sailing jacket and a life jacket and my new shiny sailing boots and I was ready to go. Feeling a bit like the Ghostbusters Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (ironic really – he was dressed in a sailor suit) I clambered on deck to join my shipmates; as the mist and fog rolled swiftly across the ocean toward us, the Eda Frandsen made her way down the Helford river to the sea.
Remember all those lovely pictures in brochures or on the internet of blue sea and blue sky, of bright sunshine and cheeky sea creatures photo-bombing whenever they could? Forget it. Wednesday wasn’t like any of that. We didn’t see the porpoises for one thing. We didn’t see much at all, as, like a scene from John Carpenter’s The Fog, the real fog chased and swallowed us up, spitting us out again and then swamping the mainland, so all we could see and feel was cold wet misery for ten hours, and at 45 degrees. And that wasn’t the temperature, land lubbers, it was the angle. Yes, the boat was heeled over at a rather jaunty angle for the entire journey and I felt a bit like a mountain goat when we finally reached our destination.
Earlier in the voyage, a plumbing problem with a return valve had been identified by James which had resulted in him having to suck up a mouthful of mucky water and a wear a strange expression until he was able to spit overboard. Whatever the problem had been, the men of the crew were delighted to be able to get their heads together to work it out, and had come close to cannibalising a spare motor and hitting things with hammers. I don’t know how the issue was resolved, but it was, and we were able to replenish the fresh water tanks when we reached the dramatic and beautiful Fowey . At around 3pm, after taking down and packing away the soaking sails, we motored through the harbour entrance where everything was still and wet and grey and tranquil. The houses that sat on the cliff edges above the small harbour town looked like wedding cake sugar decorations; white and blue and pink and as if they would melt into the sea in the rain. As we disembarked, clambering on to the pontoon, James pointed out the harbour showers should we feel we needed to partake in some hot water and some suds. Seeing as we had been in a shower since about 8.30 that morning and were pretty wet anyway, it seemed pointless to waste good drinking time. So despite being damp and claggy and probably very much in need of a good wash, we chose instead to do a bit of shopping before ending up in the Galleon Inn.
After another magical supper created out of the air by Chloe, and entertained with sea-faring stories from Charlotte, bedtime rolled round very fast. There would be no star gazing tonight: by 9.32pm, every single one of us was ready for bed, aware that tomorrow was to be our last full day, and our exciting adventure was coming to an end.
The last day approaches…Pandora, nan breads and beer