And it did, although not until the early hours of Friday! In retrospect, saying ‘Come on’ to the wind from behind the safety of a big wall is a bit like taunting a dog on a rusty chain. One day he is going to have his day but whatever you choose to do, there is never much fun to be had without a little bit of risk is there.
The wind didn’t get up to the severe gale force 9 that was eventually forecast but a gale 8 did blow through although inside the harbour this meant no more than seeing the occasional white spray over the top of the wall and hearing the wind whistling through the rigging. The entrance to the harbour was side on to the waves running onto the beach and as a result every now and again a surge of water enters that makes the boat twist and pull against all the lines which creek and groan under tension. It is impossible to adjust the lines to prevent this but thats a small price to pay for being in the safety of the harbour.
I ventured into town for a look around and liked what I saw. Nothing amazing or remarkable but a nice little area around the harbour blighted only by a massive Harvester Restaurant taking pride of place overlooking the marina. Their advert used to go something like ’Hello, have you ever been to a Harvester before’?
‘No, who the f*ck wants to’! What is it about these places? Just like Toby Carvery, it seems that people gravitate towards them at the point in the week when all of their clothes are in the wash apart from their football shirt and every child seems to be in there to make everyone else’s life a complete and utter misery. I don’t know, maybe there’s a dress code in the small print, maybe I just don’t get the joy of lots of small people shouting, crying, screaming or taking a dump in the ball pit. Okay, okay, I suppose I shouldn’t have been in there but honestly, it was him not me. Maybe, and most likely, I am simply a miserable unsociable scrotum who should probably just p*ss off on his boat for a while……Anyway, I digress.
Torquay was lovely and in the evening I ventured into town for a beer. I thought about the same time a week ago with Sarah in the The Jolly Sailor and wondered if I would be brave enough to venture in somewhere like that on my own. Unfortunately I found no such place. There was Yates and a Weatherspoon’s with doorman and loud music but whereas Poole folk seemed to have a live and let live mentality and just have a good time, there were far too many blokes with white muscle tops on and chests puffed out (as I remember from my DDDD Dukes experiences in the 90’s). It wasn’t just because I felt inferior that I didn’t go in but also to do with the fact that I would have stuck out like dog balls in there and having got away with it last week, I moved on. I walked around and found a couple of pubs that were full of middle aged men drinking on their own. I felt sorry for them if thats what they have been reduced to. I continued my search and elected for a nice little bar across the road with a good live band which wasn’t too loud (oh dear) where I could stand at the bar in all my middle aged glory and drink on my own. Eh?
On Saturday the wind had gone. The weather forecast was still saying ‘gale imminent’ for Portland and Lyme Bay but all the other areas were showing ‘gale ceased’. I spoke to the harbour master and the consensus was that it had gone through so I left Torquay bound for Dartmouth. There wasn’t any wind at all out there and shortly after leaving Torquay a met office report came though on my Navtex stating that the gale warning for this region had now ceased too. All that was left was a fairly big swell from all the wind of the previous day but mainly this was big enough to ride over nice and smoothly and it took three hours to motor with the tide into Dartmouth Harbour.
Sorry, here it is again. Dartmouth, what a treat! It was misty on the way in but it is still a stunning place to see and enter by boat. Pretty dramatic coastline giving way to some beautiful old buildings and cottages piled up on both sides of the entrance and all the way in. What a pretty spot this is. There is a marina here but I elected to stay on the island pontoon in the river. This means getting in the dinghy to go ashore and in my view the island pontoon is better than a swinging mooring (same price) because you have somewhere easy to get in and out of the dinghy rather than having to climb up on the side of the boat whilst trying to carry everything – yeah, been there before!
The sun came out and it was a beautiful first evening in Dartmouth. I took Max ashore for a comfort break and then back onboard to relax and get warm and cosy.
Yesterday I got in the dinghy and Max and I ventured up river to Totnes. With a 6 knot maximum speed in the River Dart this took about an hour and a half each way. Its very pretty along the way but got very shallow until finally the engine was on its maximum tilt whilst still keeping the propellor in the water and we just made it far enough to get to a jetty and get out. Lovely job. Totnes itself is pleasant and we stopped for lunch on the quay before making the journey back to Fiesta.
One thing that I keep plugging away at with little success is fishing from the boat. I used to fish a lot when I was younger although that was in fresh water and I was reasonably successful. However, in the sea I struggle. Ive caught some over the years and on a few occasions crabs, but that’s gong to happen isn’t it?
Yesterday I got the rod out and was hoping for a nice mackerel and whilst I did get some luck the mackerel eluded me and instead I caught a ‘Lesser Spotted Dogfish’ about a foot or so long. I’d love to talk about the fight, the struggle, the hunt, but the truth is that it didn’t really put up any resistance at all and just seemed to accept that it had been caught. Ok, so no Mackerel but still, I was extremely happy to have something rather than nothing. I got the hook out and let it go to swim another day.
The irony of life was not lost on me at this moment and once again I reminisced about my days in Dukes nightclub, being on the optimistic look out for something slim, racy, built for speed with bright eyes and lovely markings but ending up with a spotty old dog that just rolled over but was let go again the following day….Life is a funny thing.
Right Max, come on we’re going ashore.
Just round the corner from the harbour
Waves on the way to Dartmouth
Going to Totnes and finding a lovely pub on the way
View from the pub
Spotty old dog