Ships That Go Bump in the Night

When a heatwave is forecast for Pembrokeshire, Tom checks the tide times and we decide to head for the boat. I pack thermals, a winter hat and gloves and, at the last minute, throw in my bikini. We leave the berth at Neyland late afternoon, when the tide’s in our favour. There’s very little wind so we potter down the Haven with the engine running. Apart from a few commercial vessels, there’s almost no one else about and it’s a real privilege to have the waterway practically to ourselves. 

 We pick up a visitors’ mooring under the fort at Dale just after half past seven and sit in the cockpit enjoying the evening sunshine, sipping Prosecco - because, hey, we’re on holiday - and posting smug pictures to social media.

Mrs Smug-McSmugface
At 1a.m. we’re woken up by a tremendous bang. Strong winds have arrived out of nowhere and are blowing in completely the wrong direction for our mooring. Blue Nun keeps trying to sail off the mooring and is snapped back by the lines like a very angry dog on a very short leash. Tom and I are rolling around like two peas in a very rattly sieve as half a gale moans through the rigging. Pretty soon, I’m moaning too. It’s a long time since I’ve felt this seasick and I’m utterly felled; I can't stand, can’t think, can’t sleep, can’t do anything except lie there wishing the world would stay still. When dawn breaks, Tom casts off and we make a very lumpy crossing to a sliver of a bay on the other side of the Haven where we’ll be a little more sheltered. Apart from the huge swells rushing in from the open sea which roll us from side to side…

With the sun coming up, the cabin starts to get hot. I crawl on deck then have to crawl back down and find my bikini and factor 50 suntan cream (remember that skin cancer? Yep, once bitten…). At last, a day of fabulous weather on the boat and I’m too ill to enjoy it! Even when a message appears on my phone asking me if I can write an urgent homes interior feature I have to ask Tom to reply for me as staring at my screen makes me feel queasy.

Late afternoon, when the tide’s turned again, we decide to head back to our berth at Neyland. The strong wind is against us, so it’s a very choppy passage, but I cope! I come to life! I’m not sick! Hey, what the heck, we’ll spend the night on the boat in the marina! Tom cooks a lovely meal, I manage to eat some of it, and we turn in for an early night safe in the knowledge that we won’t be rocked around by massive waves… At 3 a.m. we’re woken by blinding flashes of lightning and a deafening barrage of thunder which continues for an hour. The next morning, we decide to go home for a rest.


Flowerpot said…
Oh I do sympathise Chris - i've only been seasick once but it was the most miserable experience imaginable. What a shame, but I'm sure next time you go out the weather will be a lot kinder. And you will actually enjoy it ! Xx
Clare Chase said…
Wow! I can see sailing involves taking the rough with the smooth, but the photos are very beautiful! x
Chris Stovell said…
It hasn't hit me like that for a long time, Sue. Fingers crossed that it won't happen next time! xx

When the going's good it makes up for the bad times, Clare, but, both, was that rough! xx

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