0035 - Milford Haven, Wales to Newlyn, England - via Lands End

I can't really explain the sort of dualist feeling I have sometimes about living the way that the cats and I do - I guess we all like to have a sense of belonging. Sometimes I get to a place that has a real sense of community and seems to have a good collection of people within...

I occasionally feel like I would like to stay in a place, and then other times I can't wait to leave. In some places, I seem to talk to a lot of people, and in others - I don't really talk to anyone. I do find myself wondering what happens to all these people - I guess it's the same for them too - we're all on a journey of sorts right? trying to find our own little of the corner of the world.


People come, and people go - and that's just how it is all the time - you never know who you are going to meet or what story they will have to tell - and it's that fact that kinda pushes you forward. Chance encounters happen all the time, staying a day longer or a day less changes who you will encounter in the next place as the people you meet, they too are moving around also.

It's a strange feeling, that the one day you didn't get up and go - can completely alter the entire experience you have in the next place - and in staying here for an extra day meant that I got to meet, very briefly - Dave the Rooster.


I needed to buy a pair of jeans, as the ones I have were just falling apart - so a tour of charity shops was needed in order to fix this, buying expensive new jeans is just not an option for me...lol...and after visiting about 5 of these shops I managed to find something that suited for a very reasonable price and on my way back to the boat I happened across Elizabeth, her two dogs - and her pet rooster. The dogs and the rooster all seem to get on rather well!!


I know a few people who keep chickens, but never met someone who has a pet rooster. I know I mentioned this in my last blog post, but I managed to get some photos of this little dude - just living his best life - so without any further delay, here he is:

She takes him everywhere, they go for walks in fields, parks and even goes to the beach!

If you think Dave the Rooster should have a page of his own, please leave a comment as Elizabeth will see them, I tried to tell her he needs a page!


Anyway, I just thought the internet needed to see him, If he ever has an Instagram or some media presence, I'll be sure to post a link! - Anyway, back to the blog...

The next day it was time to go and I had been debating what time to leave here - and on the day in question my options, as luck would have it, were limited as they were performing maintenance on the Sea Lock, so I could either leave first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon.

This provided an opportunity for me to get over a little fear I have of night sailing, the threat of pots, and just being out at sea in the dark can be a little intimidating, for me - I came to the conclusion that I should do this trip, and the next trip in the dark to get myself over this 'fear'. So we would be leaving late in the afternoon...just before dark.


With everything packed away, we made our way through the lock and out into the bay...

By the time we got to the mouth of the bay, the sun was already beginning to set, in fact, on this trip, we would be seeing two sunsets before we get to our next stop.

Our next stop was Newlyn, and it would just be a quick one, just a place to rest and get some sleep before carrying on to Plymouth. Newlyn is a mere 125nm from where we are, and it was going to be a long trip...

Once we got out we were pleased to find the sea calm and the wind was a decent Northerly and should blow us all the way to and past Lands End. The guide books all warn about rounding this particular bit of land as there really isn't anywhere to shelter should the weather turn sour - so vessels attempting this should be well-equipped and ready for anything.

With this in mind, I settled in with a cup of coffee and watched the last of the light fade away, and got ready to see the first of two sunsets...

As I watched the sunset I had a moment where I thought that perhaps this wasn't quite the right thing to do - but it's these moments Iike these that are opportunities for growth, and overcoming fears.

I learned a long time ago, that behind every fear - is the person you want to be - and once you overcome it you see how small it was, and it becomes hard to imagine how you ever let it hold you back before. Once you destroy a fear, it comes back as confidence and ability - and that's what I want - you get tired of being afraid.

And that was that - we were now in the dark. This would be a strange evening indeed, and I know there are probably no pots out here, and not much of anything to be honest, but there are other boats and who knows what else...


I set our course to due South and we were off into the darkness.


A few hours later I heard a strange splash and that all too familiar thump on the hull, we were again in the company of dolphins...lots of dolphins! More than I have ever seen before...

These were big dolphins, the biggest I've seen yet - just huge. For a moment I thought they were maybe something else, but a quick shine of the flashlight revealed their white bellies rolling around in the pressure wave in front of the bow...they were just big dolphins...I did try to get some footage, but it was all unusable...I need to get a really powerful flashlight so the camera can pick them up...


They hung around for a long time, I guess we were both going South. As I looked up, sitting on the bow and being miles away from land, the sky was just packed with stars and I lost track of how many shooting stars I saw.


I also noticed something really neat about the dolphins, there must have been some algae in the water or something as the dolphins left bright white bioluminescent trails of light as they darted around the boat, they kinda looked like torpedoes - they are just so fast!


It must have looked like a very strange scene, me watching the stars, sitting on the bow as dolphins swam around the boat - like some kind of weird fantasy - it was quite an amazing feeling, but one that I couldn't capture on film - just another one of those things that happen in the moment, that are just for you - just to be enjoyed for as long as they last. Sometimes I just love this planet...

I will say, it does feel a bit strange to be taking part in a moment like this as the world goes a bit crazy with elections, viruses, and all the things that have happened in 2020 - I feel quite lucky to have escaped most of the madness with my own brand of insanity, but with this circumnavigation more than halfway done - I'm not sure what the future holds...


As the dolphins were just having a great time the radio crackled to life and I found my vessel being hailed by another vessel. This was both unusual and slightly alarming as they were calling me not by my vessel name but by my MMSI Number (Maritime Mobile Service Identity), my AIS should have been broadcasting my vessel name, perhaps it's not as fixed as I thought it was...hmmmmmmm


I had to double-check the number to make sure it was me they were hailing, and it was me. I answered, not really sure who I was talking to and not sure what to expect. Apparently, it was a fishing vessel and I had just popped up on their AIS Screen and I was headed directly for a whole pile of gear they had just laid..and they were requesting to transmit the location of all the strings of gear they had just laid...


I began to jot down a ton of coordinates that they were giving me...after they had finished - I looked at all these numbers thinking that this looks like a lot of work to plot all this out on the chart. I confirmed that I had got the information, but counter-requested that they just suggest a course alteration for my vessel.


They responded by asking me to change my heading by 45 degrees to the South-West for the next 10 miles before returning to my Southerly course. This was much easier to digest and a lot less work for me, but in changing course, we lost the dolphins, and we wouldn't see them again for the remainder of the trip - much sadness, it was nice to have a little company...even if they were just dolphins...

And that was the only excitement for the rest of the night, countless cups of coffee later - and it was back to daylight - But I missed the sunrise as I was doing 20 minutes awake, and 20 minutes sleeping with 5nm proximity alarms set - there will be more sunrises - missing one is no biggie...lol...I repeated this process for about 4 hours to get a little rest as this trip was going to take a bit longer than planned - the winds were quite a bit lighter than predicted, but workable - a pleasant 12 knots pushing us against the current at a mere 3.5 knots - at this speed, it would take a long time to get to where we were going, but what's the rush?


It was a long day of peaceful sailing, but I was just a little too tired to really enjoy it to its fullest, but still enjoyable nonetheless.

After sailing all day and just before it started to get dark, we caught our first glance of Lands End and Long Ships lighthouse, not quite as scary as the books suggested - but I'd like to think that's because I planned things right, but I'm sure chance has a good bit to do with it.

It was nice to know that we were most of the way to Newlyn, at this point, I could really do with a nice long sleep, I think sailing on long trips is a bit like driving for hours on end, not terribly physical, but still tiring - I was already thinking about how nice it would be to sleep for a solid 12 hours...planning what to dream about and how nice it was going to be to curl up with my furry hot water bottles and just sleep...

I can't really explain what it feels like to sail around Lands End, it's a milestone on this trip, a large part of me just can't come to terms with how far we've come - not so much in terms of distance but of the evolution that has occurred within myself and the cats.


They were not kittens when I got this boat, and living on the water was completely foreign to them, I am very proud of them - and yes, I know they are cats and are very adaptable, but I did think that maybe Phoebe wouldn't have taken to it too well as she was older - but they've been troopers - not one case of seasickness between them and they seem to like all the new places they get to see.

And even I haven't been seasick, there have been a few occasions where I haven't felt quite right, but those times passed and although I didn't get seasick - I now get land sick...lol


But after passing Lands End it was time for another sunset...and this one was quite pretty, a nice end to a long day, but we're not finished yet...

And in passing this milestone I realized that over the course of this trip I feel like something important has happened to me. It was only a few years ago I almost didn't believe I would ever get to do some of the things I have done, or experienced half of what I have so far - even though I had planned to do so - it always felt like it wasn't possible for me.

I have learned that I couldn't have planned this trip if I wanted to, so much has happened - I/we have been pushed and pulled in so many directions by the tide and financial restrictions, as well as avoiding Covid Lockdowns and just a myriad of situations I could never have thought of from the starting line - all of the support from the Facebook page and the help from friends along the way has really made all of this possible - and we're not done yet...there is still quite a distance to go.


Now sailing in the dark again, we were approaching Newlyn, England - the third country in as many months...and eventually we could see the flashing lights that mark the entrance to Newlyn Harbour in the distance.


We were quite a few fishing boats screwing around out here and a constant watch was maintained to observe their location and to stay away from where they were and where they had been - some of these boats were laying pots - not something we wanted to bump into at night, and not this close to our destination...

By 10 pm we were radioing the harbour requesting clearance to enter but did not get an answer, so we just followed a fishing boat in and made our way to the pontoons to the West of the harbour, and without any fuss or drama - we were tied up and some sleep could be had, but not before a hearty dinner was had by all.


Trip done, some food munched, and all the equipment shut downtime for some sleep and as we all piled into the forward cabin the last thing I remember was Chloe curled up by feet and Phoebe greedily wanting to be brushed more...that girl can never get enough of the brush...

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