Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Swell Time

Briongloid left her home cove on Saturday under blue skies, carrying myself and Mr. T. We beat to westward for 34km against a steadily rising wind - choppy, damp, but exhilarating. After dropping anchor in the shelter of Broadstrand Bay, her hungry crew took to the dinghy for a 4 kilometre transfer to dinner at the nearest pub.

The wind having risen further after sunset, the return journey, in the teeth of a badly-timed squall, was exceptionally wet and bruisingly rough. On the basis that "'twer well, it were done quickly", I opened up the throttle on our nifty little Mercury Marine 6hp outboard. With Mr T lying flat across the thwart to keep the bows down, we had a wild ride through the blackness. In between trying to clear my eyes of salt water, I found time to admire the green flecks of phosphorescence in the sheets of spray blasting over the bows. Reaching the relative calm of Broadstrand Bay, we glimpsed at last the light from Briongloid, now rolling drunkenly in the swell that had now found its way into the bay; and at that moment, to the battered, soaking, and half-blinded sailors in that tiny dinghy, the little 10 watt bulb swaying alone in the darkness was as warm and welcoming as the sun.

Our long-suffering dinghy on the crest of a swell

Sunday dawned grey but clear; after a leisurely breakfast, we raised anchor and set off for home on a broad reach, whizzing past the low black knife-edge of Horse Rock and the crashing surf on Black Tom to reach the Old Head in record time, rolling our way home through swells noticeably taller than the previous day (9ft ?). Back on our mooring, the GPS showed 24km covered, the trip having taken less than half the time of our outward leg.

* For an alternative version of this trip, see here...

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