Tuesday 28 June
We left Millbrook 2 days ago (I can’t believe it was only 2 days ago) with a crowd of friends and family there to see us off – or a several including Mike and Claire put it – to make sure we really did leave. We motored in glorious sunshine across Plymouth Sounds and out to Cellar Bay at the entrance to the river Yealm. This has been a favourite spot of our to go for a day trip when the weather and winds have been right and so it was nice to see it once more before we set off on the big trip.
We arrived in Cellar bay around 5pm, just as all the day trippers were leaving, so had the pick of the anchorage spots and by the time we settled down for the night there was only one other boat remaining. We slept well but were up early the next morning to strap everything down ready for the channel crossing. It was to be my first crossing so I had some anxiety over coping with sea sickness and staying awake whilst on watch. We had agreed to do this in a “3 hours on, 3 hours off” watch pattern and John took first watch as we left at 10.30am. I went back to bed and slept well until lunchtime.
There were light winds as we left, but Southerly’s rather than Northerly’s, so we motored until the wind did as predicted and swung round to the West then the North, where John was able to set the sails up and we could switch the engines off. I managed to adjust very quickly to the watches, and only once called John for help when at around 2 in the morning a fishing boat seemed to be getting rather close and I couldn’t tell which direction it was going in. We both kept and an eye on it until it miraculously split in 2 and what I thought had been one enormous boat was 2 smaller ones working together. John went back to bed and I finished the graveyard shift without further incident. I did have to keep getting down from the captain’s chair and peering out of the windows on all sides every few minutes but this helped with staying awake. The Atlantic swell was messy with waves on the beam which caused the boat to lurch sideways every time a particularly large wave passed underneath us.
John woke me again at 7am this morning as land was in sight and he took a catnap before we got close in. We both kept our eyes peeled for the channel markers to get into the river at L’Aber Benoit, which looked very pretty in one of the books we had on board and met our expectations. Twenty three and a half hours after leaving cellar bay we dropped the anchor, did a quick check that everything was ship shape and went back to bed to catch up on missed sleep.
After a good sleep we decided that we deserved a relaxing day and sat and chatted about our journey so far. There was a stiff wind against tide blowing so we decided to stay on board rather than get the dingy out and venture ashore. After lunch another sleep and I was starting to feel very much better than I had a few hours earlier. I made some scones on the stove top to go with some clotted cream that needed eating (sounded like a good excuse to me) whilst John did a few minor jobs that required attention after some of the bumpy bits in the crossing, nothing serious.
The estuary is very pretty and lined with very traditional looking Breton houses, with pointy roves and blue shutters. The sand along the banks is almost white, a stark contrast to Millbrook mud.
It is now 8.30pm GMT (boat time), so 9.30pm in the UK and 10.30pm here in France, so on that basis I think it is time for another sleep! Not a surprise to anyone who knows me well.