24 June 2019
A delayed blog due to a suddenly hectic social life, followed by patchy internet access. Firstly catching up with old friends from sailing school days, Tony & Diane, followed by a flying visit from Tracy & Nigel on their way home from holiday in Cornwall, after which we welcomed Hugh & Katie on board to spend a few days with us.
Monday saw us leaving Brixham on a calm and sunny day to round Berry Head and head for the River Dart. There was hardly a breath of wind as we motored along this very pretty stretch of coastline with Hugh at the helm to arrive at one of the visitors' pontoons in Dartmouth, where we found Pam & Moreno on Moody Blue, another boat from Titchmarsh Marina. We knew they were down in this neck of the woods but hadn't planned specifically to meet up - just a happy accident!
With some windy weather forecast we quickly realised we weren't going to be going anywhere soon, so apart from a quick move across the river in order to free up the pontoon for a classic boat regatta at the weekend, we settled in for a few days.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of things to do and see in Dartmouth. The setting is beautiful, the river is flanked by lush green fields, woodland and pretty coloured houses and dominated by the imposing Britannia Royal Naval College up on the hillside to the west. We took the Kingswear Castle, the last operational coal-fired paddle steamer in Britain, upstream to Totnes returning by steam train into Kingswear and completing the circuit on the passenger ferry back into Dartmouth. Even just sitting on the boat, there is constant activity with boats going back and forth and a lovely community spirit on our pontoon where most of the boats, like us, have decided to sit out the gales. Fortunately we are very sheltered here, although a walk up the hill towards the river entrance justified our reasons for staying, showing a glimpse of the 2.5m waves reported outside.
Dartmouth and Kingswear
Steaming - by train...
...and by boat.
Having said goodbye to our guests (who had to take a taxi back to pick up their car in Brixham), we sat out the remainder of the weather waiting for conditions to favour our onward journey. In the meantime, two other boats from Walton, (Heron & Bonnie Lass) joined our contingent - what a small world it is!
A problem with our domestic batteries, two of which died of old age, prevented us from moving too far from the town as we waited for new ones to be delivered to the Harbour Master's office. Now fitted, we have been able to move upstream and are currently moored at Dittisham, a picture postcard pretty waterside village a couple of miles from Dartmouth and overlooked by Agatha Christie's house at Greenway. We may move further upstream to anchor off Stoke Gabriel but with the renowned FBI (Ferry Boat Inn) only a short dinghy ride (or swim) away, who knows?
The view from above Dittisham - the River Dart with Lyme Bay in the distance