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Eyemouth 2nd September

Yacht Quintet
Visitors' Pontoon
Eyemouth
Berwickshire

2nd September, 2005

<-Granton 1st September Eyemouth 4th September->

Click for a larger imageYesterday's wind had died down so much that there was barely a breath of it this morning. The sun reflecting off the black mud revealed that Granton harbour really is shallow. Even the fuel wharf which we had visited only yesterday, was high and dry at the bottom of the tide.

Click for a larger imageA little before 10.00o'clock we posted the security key card in the box on the pontoon, started the engine and headed out into the Firth of Forth. The waters of the Forth had an oily sheen as we headed east.

I called Harry and Sheila to say goodbye and to thank them for their hospitality. I told Sheila where we were and asked her to wave, but I don't think she did. I couldn't see her anyway. Then again their house in Burnt Island was 15 miles away!

An interesting thing happened today. Clive is prone to sudden and uncontrollable bouts of sneezing. When I ask what triggers these attacks I get the strangest explanations, like 'a cold wind blew down my neck' or 'I picked up a cold glass' or 'my feet are cold' or even more bizarrely 'a draught blew up my trouser leg'. Well, today Clive sneezed abruptly and wildly and I asked what caused that. He told me that it was caused by 'nasal irritation'. So sometimes he is 'almost' normal!

One supposes that if Clive sneezes because of cold feet, where other people might carry a handkerchief, Clive will keep a pair of socks in his pocket.

Clive is actually surprised that my own sneezing is not brought on by something other than an irritated nose.

It turns out that Clive's mother would sneeze violently if someone held a cold spoon behind her knee! This poses so many questions not the least of which are 'How did Clive discover this fact?', 'Why was Clive holding a spoon behind his mother's knee?' and 'What pleasure did Clive derive from his mother's sneezing that would cause him to repeat the spooning?' But perhaps Clive is the normal one and it's the rest of us...

Click for a larger imageAt 1.00 pm we reached the farthest north of our voyage 56°04.6. It's all downhill from here, a bit like life really. Sadly we were still under motor, but at least the batteries, much depleted by nearly a week of inactivity in Granton, are topped up to the brim.

A little before 2.30 Clive confirmed that the breeze had come up at last and we should hoist sail. For the next two hours we sailed but sadly not really in the right direction. After just twenty minutes or so the wind shifted pushing us inshore. We then tacked away to clear St Abbs point and suddenly we were going north again, albeit just 65°. It didn't last very long though. Within a couple of hours we had furled sails and were motoring again.

We had revised our destination a number of times, between Dunbar, St Abbs and Eyemouth. Dunbar wasn't particularly attractive. St Abbs is pretty but has an 'interesting' entrance. Eyemouth is farthest south and would therefore make for the longer day. I had convinced myself that St Abbs would be best being described in the almanac as 'attractive'.

Click for a larger imageWe hoisted sail again a little after 6.00 pm and enjoyed a splendid sail, full and bye, towards St Abbs Head in the evening sunshine. I studied the chartlet of St Abbs and tried to match what I could see with the picture, but with little success. The harbour, when it became visible, was due west of us and south of the headland but the chart shows a leading line of 165o and the chart looked nothing like what I could see.

As the light started to fade I felt less and less confident of getting in unscathed. On top of that we were sailing at a good lick in the direction of Eyemouth just three miles further south and with deeper water, and a more easily identified entrance, having a cardinal buoy just outside. Eyemouth it was to be.

I telephoned the Eyemouth Harbour Master to get berthing directions. I first spoke to an elderly lady who patiently told me in a beautiful, gentle Scottish accent, that 'No, the Harbour Master's number is not as printed in the almanac.' She gave me the correct number. I thanked her and apologised for the inconvenience. She said 'It happens all the time.' I bet it does.

I called the revised number and spoke to the Harbour Master's answering machine. We were on our own.

By 8.00 pm the wind had died away again and we dropped sails and motored towards the entrance to Eyemouth harbour. The buoy was identified. The dayglo orange leading marks were aligned, they did seem to push us a bit scarily close to the rocks, and in we went.

A figure on the end of the northern pier asked us our draught. He then called out 'You'll probably be fine', that 'probably' again, waved us in and directed us to the pontoon at the western end of the harbour. The pontoon is not shown in the almanac. They have a few revisions to make about Eyemouth before the next edition.

The Harbour Master visited us on the pontoon as we were tying up. He took the necessary money and directed us to toilets and showers. Then we headed off to town to try to get a meal before everything closed for the night.

We can recommend Oblo's Bar and Bistro for dinner, apart from the group of large women, barely clad and celebrating some sort of occasion, who seemed to be everywhere one looked. Quite put me off my excellent seafood pasta. It's times like this that I am pleased I forgot the camera.

Les Sutcliffe

<-Granton 1st September Eyemouth 4th September->