As many of you may know, we gathered family together in the island of Kauai this past February to have the big anniversary celebration. That was chosen for a date when nearly everyone could make it. Now it's our actual 50th anniversary, and we're celebrating with just the two of us and occasionally the new friends we meet en route. Our gift to each other is this trip of a lifetime.
For a few days we rented a car and drove to some magical places in Cornwall. First there was Tintagel on the north coast - The legendary King Arthur was supposed to have lived there, and the wizard Merlin was said to have a cave down on the beach below the castle. We certainly saw the castle and the cave, but the real bonus was the spectacular scenery - the blue-green water, dramatic cliffs, stairs continuing up and up, and the ruins from many different ages up on the top. The little cove there was a landing spot for trading boats during many different centuries, back to the times of the Phoenicians and Romans, and right up through the nineteenth century. My guess is that they only came in for a few hours at high tide, because it looks as though it must get quite shallow at low tide. But looking at that lovely blue-green water, we certainly thought about what it might be like to take Sequoia in there.
Above: Tintagel cove
A few miles down the coast we visited Port Isaac, the location for the Doc Martin series. Great fun to see those places in person - looks just like in the TV show. Doc Martin's cottage had a for rent sign on it. I'm guessing the lease must come with a clause that requires the tenant to allow the film crews to have access when/if another season is filmed...
Above: Doc Martin's cottage in Port Isaac
The next day we visited a mines museum in Redruth, contemplating the lives of those Cornish miners of 200 years ago. We saw the third largest steam engine in the world, used to lift water up out of the mine shafts. We also drove down to Falmouth, where the harbor is overloaded with boats, and the streets are overloaded with tourists. The more nautical tourists and all the boaters were awaiting the departure of the Golden Globe race for single-handers. We had planned to go to Falmouth in the next few days, but that is now off the table, in light of the crush of boats there, the iffy weather and the contrary currents.
Thursday was a boat chores day. I went off to do laundry, while Craig began a full treatment of our water tanks to defeat a slight (but unpleasant) sulfur smell in the drinking water. The treatment involves a lot of bleach which sat in the tanks overnight the previous night, then treatment with vinegar, then a lot of flushing.
At one point Craig came up to meet me for lunch, while I took a break in fussing with extremely inefficient dryers. Unfortunately, Craig didn't actually turn the dock hose off (he left the end of the hose, with its spray fitting closed, down inside the water tank, under one of our floor hatches). (You know what's coming next.) When he got back to the boat, he heard the bilge pump running (we NEVER hear the bilge pump running), and once inside found that the hose had exploded and sprayed water EVERYWHERE. There was water on the ceiling, inside the medicine cabinet, on the open laptop, on the face of our prized Rie Munoz print. Three out of our four sailing boots were full to the brim with water. Cushions were soaked, rugs were soaked, and every upright tub and other container was full of water.
About then I showed up with a couple of bags of dry laundry, and we both launched into clean-up mode. We had intermittent sunshine, so 24 hours later all the cushions were dry and the rugs very close to dry. We took the Rie Munoz print out of its frame; dried it out under weights between paper towels, and now it's back together; mat very wrinkled but dry, and the artwork apparently none the worse for wear. At some future date we'll get a new mat for it. On the plus side, the interior of the boat is freshly and thoroughly clean.
We had originally planned to leave Plymouth yesterday, but we opted instead to go out for a nice dinner to celebrate our 50th anniversary. We took the ferry across to the Barbican historic area, and ate at Quay 33, a modest restaurant recommended by every reference we checked. It turned out to be an excellent choice, with plenty of fresh seafood, wonderful crusty bread, delicious sauces and exquisite desserts. We were seated next to a mother and daughter (Kim and Nina) who are from St. Maarten in the Caribbean. Nina is just finishing up a 3-year stint at the University of Plymouth and returning home. Kim runs a dive service in St. Maarten, and we'll almost certainly look them up when we are there next winter. We had a wide ranging conversation about education, art, world politics, Plymouth, sailing, diving and the Caribbean. A truly delightful evening.
Kim and Nina at Quay 33
At the ferry on the way to dinner we ran into Karen and Jean-Luc of the French vessel Archimede. Long-time readers of this blog will recall that we first met them on the Danish Island of Aerø last summer, and then again a couple of weeks ago in Ramsgate. We met for coffee this morning and hatched plans for the next couple of days while blustery winds prevail. Tonight we'll have dinner together - our description of Quay 33 was so enthusiastic that they want to go there and we concurred.
This is the essence of the kind of cruising we want to do - flexible schedules and plenty of opportunities to meet and interact with people from other places in a meaningful sort of way. I am so fortunate to be married to Craig, who is very skilled at meeting people of all sorts and drawing them into meaningful conversations. I'm along for the ride and enjoying it very much!
Best wishes to our friends and family!
Barbara & Craig
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that corresponds to this post.