I sailed from Plymouth to the mouth of the Yealm River, a bit SE of Plymouth harbour, to hide from some strong easterlies. Naturally since I want to go east all the winds are from the E. It never fails!
There is a fairly wide mouth with a long sand bar that dries out at low tide, so the entrance is narrow. Tall cliffs to the E and S give great protection from all but SW-W winds. I draw 1.8m, and of course the depth at low tide is about 1.8m at the deepest. I found myself bouncing off the bottom a few times during Spring tide lows. The other thing here is, there are a half dozen boats and not that much space. The tidal current is pretty strong up and down the river. With the current varying speed here and there, and the wind eddies from the tall hillsides, the boats dance all over the place. I don’t know how I survived the first night without a collision, because the second day three of us were moving all over and had to fend each other off several times. Good thing everybody was on deck and awake. It was a beautiful, sunny day to be on deck, and warmer than usual.
I had met Terry Williams a few days before in Plymouth, and here he was again with his wife out sailing for the weekend. His son, daughter and friend were on another boat, a classic workboat style with a varnished hull. I can’t imagine the work to keep that shiny! I saw it in Plymouth and it really caught my eye.
Jove introduced himself. He paddled by in his canoe with a dog that kept whining. I thought the dog was afraid of being in the boat, but he was upset at not being in the water, and later just jumped/fell in. “Howl, whine, howl, whine, whine, howl, splash!” You had to be there. We had a nice chat about sailing.
One of the guys doing the anchoring dance was John, aka Blond John on “Westerly Dream”. He had sailed to Azores and left his boat there a few years. He loved Azores and we had a good talk about sailing. We also took my dinghy up river to the town and got wifi at the pub and veg at the little Tesco market. There is a concrete walkway across Newton Creek just off the river, and you can walk across it at low tide to another pub, but a couple hours after low you have to walk a couple miles around to get back to the dinghy dock.
At the pub we met a couple, Chris (English) and Oksana (from Estonia) who were hiking the coast from London to Lands’ End, the farthest SW point of England. Being the coast it’s a pretty circuitous path. More at www.takeachallenge.org
During the day there is a small water taxi to take people from one side of the Yealm to the other. It was too late for that and it was getting dark, so we gave them a ride. 200 meters in a dinghy saves many miles, and a chance to pitch their tent outside of town, rather than the middle of it.