Holiday take 2 – Channals Creek

One thing I haven’t talked about which deserves a mention, is how friendly everyone is down these parts. Falmouth Haven have been super helpful and really welcoming. Normally you need to leave your berth by 12pm, but here they just shrugged their shoulders and said “Ah it’s not busy today, there’s no rush”. I got a tip from one of the staff to check out an anchorage further up river, so we decided to go there in favour of the Helford River.

We spent the morning tidying up. I went out and bought a new set of oars, flat hose reel and a new pole. We had a dock side go at poling out the genoa before leaving.

Our first challenge of the day was getting out of our spot. We were boxed in with a big catamaran behind us and a large tender in front, and were facing the wrong way. Not a problem I thought, we’ll use a spring from the midship, drive forwards an the stern will pop out, then i’ll stick in in reverse and work out what Excalibur wants to do once clear of the cat.

Trina was on the midship spring, and my plan wasn’t working. Excalibur wasn’t going anywhere. Normally I’d stop, have a think and try again, but I had an audience, the catamaran owner. He jumped off and somehow managed to maneuver the boat from the bow. I managed to push us away from his davits and we were off. I’ve never been boxed in in such a tight spot, and realised after i should have put a line from the bow to the cleat on the pontoon near the midship to spring off with. Pretty simple when you’ve got time and space to think things through. Anyhow, we didn’t do any damage to our neighbours boat, which was the most important thing.

Once out, we had a go at poling out the genoa in super light winds. First time was ok, but we thought we could do a better job. So we motored back to our starting point, and tried again. Success.

We motored up the channel and caught quite a few baby mackerel which we had to throw back in.

The anchorage that was recommended to us was stunning. A quiet anchorage surrounded by woodland and overlooked by a national trust house called Tressick Manor. We found a spot far enough away from other boats and dropped anchor and slowly paid out the chain. I then hit reverse to dig the anchor in, but we could hear the anchor dragging along the sea bed. Curious, every time I’ve done this before the boat has come to an abrupt stop, signifying we are dug in. So began a pattern of events that got a bit wearing, pick up anchor, drop anchor, reverse, drag. It got a little embarrassing, darting around the quiet anchorage, probably much to the annoyance of the other boats. Finally we discovered that we were on soft mud, and that we should pay out the chain and not bother trying to dig the anchor in. Every day is a school day. As there was no wind we threw caution to the wind (boom boom) and gave up trying to dig the anchor in. We got out the fishing rods and kept an eye on our position.

After showing to the whole anchorage our lack of anchoring skills, we did manage to catch a mackerel straight away. Looking around 10 minutes later, everyone was at it. We had both rods out, Trina took the beach caster which is a massive rod and caught a fish too. We sat on the boat with lderflower gin fizz and fished as the sun started to set.

We later rowed into the bay in front of Tressick Manor, and listened to the silence. Herons and egrets would occasionally fly past or sound off. The sounds of nature, and the peaceful tranquility of the bay was a true delight. We then rowed to the shore on the opposite side, where plumes of smoke rose up through the forest from camp fires. Strolling through the woods we came across a camp. A few parents had taken their kids and their kids friends for a wild camping adventure. All the kids had very middle class names like Else and Flora. The dad had set up a hammock, and was waiting for his kayaking party to return who’d been out fishing. As we returned to our dinghy the intrepid kayakers had returned under the cover of darkness, and were being instructed by the kids on shore in a very authoritative manner where to land. Think Swallows and Amazons and you wouldn’t be far off.

We slept that night with the forepeak hatch open, able to see the stars in the stillness of the night, and in the morning feel the sun our faces.


Author: Tim Butler

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