The joy’s of a simple trip down river

This an article shared by John and Tonia published in the winter edition of the Westerly Owners Association magazine


Sunday was as promised a bit damp and breezy and as the forecast was giving gale force winds from Wednesday night on, it looked like a quick dash down river from our berth in Neyland Marina for a couple of days afloat at the start of the week was the best plan.  And what a good choice that proved to be.  Out over the sill on the start of the ebb just after sunrise and a one-sided beat down the waterway dodging a few tankers in a gentle force three.  So full sail for our Fulmar Elgar and no chance of spilling the tea or the cornflakes, eaten in the cockpit as the sun warmed our backs and burnt off the last of the early morning mist on the water.

A few hours later we are anchored off the beach at Dale, canopy up and settled down for coffee and shortbread in the cockpit, then a few little jobs in the sunshine before lunch and a well earned snooze.  Before you know it, it’s time for another cuppa and thoughts turn to our evening meal, eaten down below as it gets a bit chilly as the sun starts to drop. Then its back into the cockpit with comfy cushions and hot chocolate for the unexpected highlight of the day.

We only had one other yacht for company that night, a pretty Hillyard ketch, and we were both lying peacefully to a gentle northerly on an almost flat calm sea as the evening show commenced.  To port the sun bowed out in spectacular fashion with a brilliant sunset over the Dale Peninsula.  Above us and astern a large flock, or is that a murder of crows circled around before swooping down to their roosts in the tree tops along the coast road leading out to Dale Fort. Then to starboard an almost orange full moon rose behind the towers, chimneys and lights of the refinery on the Pembroke side of the waterway, making Valero look almost pretty.  Soon the show was over and we were left bathed in brilliant moonlight which lit up the cabin as we settled down for the night, only to be woken briefly by the anticipated rock and roll of the ferry wake in the early hours. 

A misty morning followed with a variety of fog horns from jetties and ships to accompany breakfast, then we headed in to the beach to get alongside the pontoon on the dropping tide, with the aim of a quick bottom and prop scrub and to get that log spinning again.  It may be the last time she will take the ground this year as autumn gathers in and it should see us through until spring returns.  Jobs done and up the pontoon for a well deserved cake and hot chocolate at the cafe, with marshmallows and cream as a treat for the first mate.  Did I forget to say that it was our wedding anniversary, I know how to show a girl a good time after almost forty years! 

We floated off early in the afternoon and after a late lunch the wind had filled in nicely with a gentle south westerly so we enjoyed a great sail for a few hours before heading back up river on a nice reach.  As we neared the Cleddau Bridge and thought about dropping sail the sun was just starting to lower in the sky and another stunning sunset approached.  This time though the gathering clouds high in the western sky now all tinted pink suggest that we have made the right choice as the marina entrance approached, sure enough the next day dawned wet and windy.  

Sunset over the Dale Peninsula


Drying out alongside Dale pontoon