Sunday, 5 May 2013

Too Fishguard

The Golden Cloud 5/5/13 Fishguard Pembrokeshire
90 miles down, ~410 to go.
At 2am Yesterday morning Billy and I made our final preperations and set sail for Fishguard, hoping in the kindest way possible to never see Aberaeron again! However, our excitement was shortlived as we soon found the sea far too rough and a teething problem with the engine again! I knew i could work round this issue, but feeling both tired and not prepared to go into a big sea with only hand start on the engine we tightened up the ropes back on Aberaeron Quay. Not to be detered at first light, after a quick stop to the bakery, we started on some more niggling improvements to the boat and by the time the tide returned, we couldnt be more ready. So at 1445 we slipped lines for what would be the final time in both Aberaeron and Ceredigion, and we set off for Fishguard.
The trip is a reasonably long one but doesn't have any significant navigational hazards, our biggest issue was a mountianous and choppy sea, and strong winds straight on the nose. We prepared sail but in the end these stayed lashed down and we ended up motoring the whole way. We just wouldn't have made enough headroom to make it worth while.

Along the route we were stalked by an incredibly interested flock of guilmots, and one seagull who took a shining to our fishing line... i'm so glad he didnt go for it, needless to say we soon brought it back in. The grace, ease and speed of these proffesional sea goers was a signt to behold, we only wished to mimic them in any way.
As we came to Newquay Head we discussed very quickly that this was the last possible safe haven before Newport (in spitting distance of Fishguard) as Cardigan Harbour had said they were too dangerous to enter. The conversation was Swift.... LETS DO IT!
Soon we sped past, a good few miles offshore, the coastal settlement and MOD test firing range at Aberporth, where i'm sure i spotted a dolphin as billy was sick. Then the first and testing manouver of a refuel at sea. I knew she would make it on one tank but i didn't want another air lock or RNLI call out! So big jerry out, and siphon tube was the order of the day to avoid splashing too much.... Let me tell you know, Desiel Burps are not nice. As sun set we rounded Cardigan Island with giant waves smashing into the coast visible even to us miles off shore. Then as darkness fell Billy spotted Strumble Head Lighthouse and soon Fishguard Harbour lights. Billy masterfully helmed through the big seas, amazing as it was only his first time. While I cat napped between navigating and writing the log. Every time I awoke we were nearer to our destination more lights on the coast were visible and Billy without the aid of seeing the charts was bang on course.
And a lovely supprise as Strumble became a shimmer over the top of a suiluet of the hills of Fishguard. A wonderful fireworks display in Cardigan! Something tells me they didnt want me to harbour their!
As we passed the final headland and officially entered Fishguard Bay the seas and winds calmed around us leaving us oncourse and ontime for my predicted midnight entry. Then on the horizon a beacon of light to steal our thunder, The Stena Line Fishguard-Rosslare ferry was on the horizon and gaining on us fast! I altered our route to take us outside where i thought he'd go and added a bit more speed to make sure we rounded the harbour wall before he did, and thus into saftey.
Soon he was right upon us but we were inside the calm waters of the harbour and preparing to anchor in GoodWick sands. Radio conversations with the Harbour Master and Milford Coastguard to check we were safe insued, before we made the final approaches. It nearly got very hairy here as the mainly unlit harbour (inc. unlit bouys, boats and pontoons) soon caught us out even tho we looked as hard as we could. A half submerged pallet attached to a bouy caught on the bow, neither of us had seen it, luckily it glanced off us and the masterfully added Skeg from the previous owner pushed it's rope away from our prop. We rounded up into the wind and dropped anchor. Successfully in fishguard. Our and my longest leg so far, a brilliant test for the engine and a successful journey. Weather doesnt look ace today or tomorrow, and with Strumble and St Davids Head our next leg I think we'll seak the haven of Fishguard Old Town tonight and continue working on the boat.
In other news I recieved a wadge of donations to the charitable cause from Aberaeron under the impressive flags of the RNLI and Isle of Wight Blind Society. Fingers crossed we can muster some more from fishguard. Just Giving Page should be up and running soon, but thier not making it easy for the IOW Blind Society to join... sounds like its a "charity website" only for the big boys!
As they say in Greenland (but probably don't spell it like this) Ka-shult-ta!
(means cheers)

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