Herring bones, mackerel, dolphins and a Kobra (sic)

As the title suggests, this is a blog of 4 animals – 2 fish, a mammal and a reptile!

We have had a great week at Dittisham, catching up with family and friends and enjoying our house September Cottage, while Spellbinder has been moored on a buoy in the river. The weather was that of a typical British August – sometimes fine, sometimes dull, sometimes rainy. We managed three BBQs but generally pudding was eaten indoors. I thought of my friends Julian and Karen, currently in Portugal on their Halberg Rassy, for whom such considerations will be distant memories. But we enjoyed the view from our terrace. 

We also enjoyed some walks and I spent some time buying and fixing bits and pieces on Spellbinder. The salt water foot pump now works (on long crossings water is a precious commodity, and it is good to have salt water  to cook and do the washing up). I also spent a delightful afternoon sewing on a new leather covering to the wheel, using a herringbone stitch some 500 times. Much patience and precision is needed, and I have a dearth of both, but the result was satisfactory:

A full picture will follow when eldest son Tom has tied me a Turk’s Head knot on the top, marking the centre point (straight rudder), as is traditional. 

We also fished from Spellbinder and Jonty caught many mackerel, filleting them and frying them up for a delicious supper on board:

The third animal arrived in a huge box. It weighs 20kg and a similar one kept me very stationary (as is its job) on my last yacht. I fixed it to Spellbinder’s bow and it has already proved its worth. It is a new style anchor, called a Kobra 2, and will give me peace of mind in the years to come. Below is a picture of it with Dart mud still attached:

While in Dittisham Jonty and I also motored round to a cove just east of Dartmouth called Pudcomb. We anchored at the foot of a beautiful National Trust property called Colton Fishacre (owned once by the D’Oyly Carte family, of opera fame). It was a nice day anchorage where we fished, practised rowing the new tender and had lunch.

Our time in Devon came to an end after Tom returned from a music festival in Cornwall. We motored across to Guernsey, leaving at midday and arriving around midnight. Although lack of wind and some rain made it a bit of a dull crossing (we discovered that our cockpit enclosure kept out the worst of the showers), the highlight was the fourth animal, in the form of dolphins who joined us a couple of times, playing under our bow for a while. I think they were bottlenose – quite large, and blunt at the mouth end. Perhaps someone can definitively identify them from the photos below.

We arrived with the tide whisking us around to St Peter Port in the dark. Now in Guernsey for a couple of days, we are hauled out and a self steering system called a Hydrovane is being fitted. More to follow…

One thought on “Herring bones, mackerel, dolphins and a Kobra (sic)

  1. Nicolas Casanova

    Brillant! As you wrote, Nick, Weather concerns are quite different in Portugal… we arrived two days ago in Lisboa. The Syrakko’s “winterisation” process has now begun while we simultaneously visit the Town which is so beautiful. Next week back to East of France : a shame!


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