Wednesday: We motored down the lovely Dart first thing in the morning and had a gentle sail across Start Bay. The wind picked up after Start Point, and then we also got some welcome sunshine. We ended up having to tack a few times, but it was a nice sail and we only had to put the engine on just before reaching Salcombe itself. 23 miles, average speed 4.9 knots, max speed 8.3 knots.
The approach to Salcombe is just beautiful! Several very small and sandy beaches, full of happy people. I saw what looked like our perfect home just up from one of the beaches (I’ve seen quite a few dream homes this last week!). We called the harbour master for a buoy and he said there were spaces on the visitors pontoon in The Bag, up the estuary.
Our neighbours in the Rustler 44 left after us, and were heading to Salcombe too. We saw them behind us on the horizon once they’d come out into the bay. Of course Dominic isn’t competitive at all; he only kept their AIS details up on the screen and checked their every move the whole journey! And funnily enough, they went on a buoy near us in The Bag when they arrived, and they popped over and Graham told Dominic how our course doesn’t seem to show on AIS. So he’d been tracking us too!
We really like it here, and since Dominic would prefer to go home as soon as possible, we decided to change our plans, leave the boat here rather than in Plymouth. So we checked with the harbour master and he seemed sure he could find us a buoy if we came in tomorrow, so we thought it all through, I changed our train tickets, checked for buses – decision made.
Thursday: We had 0% water and very little battery power so set off to the harbour pontoon at 7am to fill up and charge. You can only stay for 30 minutes but we were lucky that there was always spare space, so we stayed on. The harbour master’s office opened at 9am and we went in promptly to organise our buoy and an hour later one of the ‘boys’ (their word not mine!) came up and told us he’d organised for us to raft up to someone on a buoy and that we could stay the entire time we need it. They will also keep an eye on the boat, and should it be needed, move it to another buoy. Perfect! I popped in to the Tourist Information Centre and got all the information I needed for buses tomorrow, parking for next weekend etc etc from the very helpful ladies. When we felt we couldn’t stay on the 30 minute pontoon anymore (hmmm 4 hours later) we motored up to our new temporary home. The owners of the other boat helped us raft up, and were so nice. Everyone’s so nice in Salcombe! And the best of all, Julian, a physicist and racing sailor, had a very good suggestion as to what we can do with our poorly functioning alternator setup, as they also had a lithium Ion battery and had had the same problems. We need an alternator to battery charger. Dominic did a bit of research to confirm this, and there’s no doubt this seems to be exactly what we need. Hurrah! Why on earth has no one mentioned this before? Considering Dominic’s been talking to a very large number of specialists in the field? And MasterVolt actually sells these themselves?
Dominic took a trip in the dinghy up to Kingsbridge, I did a bit of cleaning and sorting inside. We got the RIB up on the davits and finished everything outside. The day went rather pleasantly. We reached a combined score of 724 in Scrabble in the evening, not bad for us!
Friday: We called the water taxi at 9am, and got into Salcombe with plenty of time to spare, so we had a nice walk around the harbour area. We caught the bus to Kingsbridge, and this was a very picturesque bus journey. I admire the bus driver, as this was no easy drive on narrow and winding roads with a lot of traffic and some very poor parking along the roadside.
We had half an hour in Kingsbridge to while away, and saw the entirely dried out waterfront. I’ve never fully appreciated the difference between an estuary town and one by a river mouth, but this was a definite example of a dried out harbour. We saw an old man being carefully liften on to a stretcher and in to an ambulance, looked like he could have had a heart attack. I do hope he’s ok, his wife looked very worried.
The bus journey to Totnes was less picturesque as the hedges were too high. And there was a lot of traffic so we only just made our train. The train journey was also less pleasant than normal. It was very crowded and as we’d booked late we didn’t have seat reservations. We sat most of the journey, but had to swap seats when the reservation holders came along. Train was delayed due to being diverted, and again someone had a heart attack and the train had to wait for an ambulance to come. Two in one day, makes you think.
Back home, really nice to see Daniel and Emma, and the bunnies! We didn’t do anything particularly touristy in Salcombe, but we will do that when Emma and James join us next weekend!