So after strapping everything down and putting what remained away, we were pretty much ready to go. We were going to go North up into Scotland, but a lot of places were still closed, and many restrictions are still in effect due to Covid-19.
So we decided to go South into England, the closest harbour that we could get to was Berwick-upon-Tweed, a short 11nm trip from Eyemouth.
There was lots of wind and was a rather uneventful trip apart from when we furled out the headsail only to realize that after I had cleaned the lines earlier in the week, I hadn't run the lines back through the sail tracks and the whole mess quickly became uncontrollable and had to be furled away, and the lines arranged correctly.
The end of the tiller also snapped off, I knew it was going to happen. When I first got this boat I noticed a fitting had been drilled into the tiller for an extension, but the hole had been drilled a little too close to the end and the surrounding wood that was left was really just too thin and unable to really offer any kind or structural support. The resulting spike is one of those 'final destination' moments just waiting to happen. (at the time of writing, this has already been repaired.)
About an hour into the trip some dolphins showed up....to be honest, I've never been this close to this many dolphins before, there were easily 20 or 30 dolphins all around the yacht...when you see that dorsal fin flash up for the first time - that close - it's a strange but interesting experience - and very hard to catch on camera - they're quite quick!
Approaching the harbor is a bit spooky as there are lots of notes on the charts about sandbars and shifting silts and something about having local knowledge about shallows...we tried to call the harbour over the VHF but as we were arriving at 9pm in the evening, there was no answer...but this is normal.
The entrance is a bit intimidating as it's quite a meandering route through the shallows until you get to the dock. From inside the harbour, at low water (pictured above), looking out you can just make out the winding route to the sea.....a sort of 'S' shape.
We found the route well-marked and encountered no problems getting to the upper basin where the pontoon is located. The pontoon looks brand new with power, water, security, and hot showers available, friendly helpful staff plus the town is only a short walk away...and more importantly, a pet superstore is even closer!
After getting secured to the dock and all safety gear taken off, Chloe wasted no time in snuggling into the heavily insulated outerwear...she knows where the warmth is.
The crew seem to have opted for the forward cabin as their safety room when we're underway. They seem to like being behind a door for some reason, the forward cabin has a door, but its difficult to leave it open as it rattles when we're sailing....a visit to the 'Pet Superstore' yielded a cat-flap - that should keep the crew happy and the door quiet.
Berwick-upon-Tweed seems like a nice little place, but I really didn't spend much time in the town to really take it all in, I only went to the harbour, a shoe shop, and the Pet Superstore....not really a fair assessment of the whole place, but it was good for us and what we needed.
I also don't want this to be a blog that just puffs up articles with regurgitated history and cafe reviews, so if you would like some more info on this place here is the wiki link...as I understand it the place does have quite a troubled history being the centre of a number of conflicts, but now appears to be home to hundreds of swans!
I don't know if it's strange or not, but I had always imagined swans as kinda solitary birds, pairing for life and I'd only ever really seen a pair or two on a lake or a river....but there are hundreds here! They seem to roam around in big gangs of 20 or 30! I also noticed long lines of geese (i think they were geese)...just so many birds!
We will be leaving this place in the morning on the next high tide and plan to go a touch further South before turning back up to Scotland. We would like to go further North but we're waiting on some announcements from the Scottish Government regarding travel restrictions, we anticipate they'll soon be lifted enough so we can move more freely.
We may go back to Eyemouth or perhaps continue on to Edinburgh as we've got access to a pontoon in the city but we'll just have to see what the wind is doing tomorrow...