Thursday, September 8, 2011

Truant at Fowey, United Kingdom

Map picture

The alarm clock duly started its ring at 6:30am this morning, but unlike our usual response – we both groaned and turned over, shutting the clock off. I had taken a quick look out the window and it was foggy with drizzle; we were so tired after so many days of going ashore that we just could not muster the strength to get up. Anyway, since today was a day we would anchor offshore and tender ashore, I figured with the rough seas and the bad weather, we would probably by-pass this port anyway.

Believe it or not, we slept until after 9, and when we awakened, to our surprise, the ship was quiet and at a standstill. I can remember in my sleep hearing what sounded like the engines vibrating a lot, and I do recall that I never heard the anchor drop overboard, and so I was confused. If we were not at anchor, how could the ship be so quiet and still? I opened the curtain, and to my utter surprise we were sitting right in the middle of a very, very small harbor, where we were nestled up among the little sailboats at anchor.

DSC_7647Out of our window we were only yards from the little town of Fowey, and on the other side of the ship, you could almost reach out and pick a leaf off the overhanging trees. As I later learned from one of the ship’s officers, the weather was so bad outside the harbor, the local agent advised against any tender operations, and also advised that the harbor was so small that our ship would not be able to enter the harbor itself. Well, the Captain agreed with not attempting to tender from outside the harbor, but he felt certain that he could back our huge ship safely into the little harbor. And that is exactly what he did--to the amazement of everyone!!!!! Somehow he managed to maneuver backward through the narrow entrance to the harbor, and thread his way past the multitude of little boats until he could drop both the forward anchors and then pass lines from the stern to a buoy in the harbor. This captain has done some amazing things on this trip, and my hat is off to him.

Anyway, we had planned on taking the day at leisure, however, since the tender ashore was all of a two minute journey, we decided to at least go ashore and walk the main street.

DSC_7656The clouds were hanging low, and most of the morning there was a light drizzle, but around noon things seemed to be better, and so we took a chance on going ashore. As luck would have it, just after we landed the drizzle started again. It was light at first, but over time it grew increasingly steady, until we finally threw in the towel and scurried back to the ship for lunch.


Fowey is located in Cornwall, which is itself situated on the southwestern peninsula of Great Britain. It is a very small picturesque little village that would have been fun to wander around in on a nice sunny day, but as it is, I can at least say I have been there.

Right now the tug has arrived to assist with our departure for Ireland, and tomorrow we will be visiting some friends whom we met or an earlier cruise with SilverSea, and who have invited us to join them for lunch; it should be great fun.

The pictures today are nothing to brag about, but at least you can see what the little town of Fowey is all about.


P.S. Just as I finished this blog, it was time to depart. So I grabbed my camera and ran upstairs to watch the action. I ended up on Deck 10 right above the Bridge overhang from which the officers were directing the ship.

DSC_7692From this vantage point, I got to see firsthand what was involved, and the first thing that was very obvious was that this was no ordinary departure. The wind was blowing us towards the shore and a line of very small sailing boats that were anchored. While the Captain had a great deal of power at his disposal, he had to be very careful not to damage the nearby craft. At one point, the water under the boat dropped to 5.7 meters, or about 20 ft. of clearance.

DSC_7701Clearly a ship of this size in the harbor is a rare occurrence, and for that reason it looked as if the entire town had turned out to watch our departure. From both sides of the shore people waved and shouted. I will let you see some of the pictures from the bow of the ship, but the little entrance to the harbor looked awfully small for our exit.


In any case, the Captain just came on to announce that he hoped everyone had a pleasant day. He said it was quite unusual to try to put a ship of this size into the harbor, particularly with the winds as strong as they are, but with what is facing us in the North Atlantic during the crossing, he felt we needed a calm day onboard. I believe our passage over to Ireland tonight will be OK, but after that he said he was monitoring the developing situation from the remnants of hurricane Katia as well as a rapidly developing low and would advise more tomorrow when he had updated weather. I have noticed that objects up on deck are being tied down all of a sudden, so I suspect we may be in for a bit of a rough ride ahead. Oops!

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