24th Match 2020
Dartmouth, UK 50 21.44 N 3 34.37 W – Malpas, Falmouth, UK 50 14.00 N 5 01.11 W
Fishermen cast their nets into the ocean hoping to snare unsuspecting fish. Sometimes they know those fish are there and they encircle the fish finally drawing the nets closed. The fish’s fate is sealed and it’s only a matter of time before they feel trapped, start thrashing about and resolve themselves to the fate that the fisherman was hoping for. Capture, control and containment. With Covid-19 encircling the World it seemed inevitable that soon the net would be closing and we had to make sure that if we were captured, contained and controlled, we’d be safe, able to eat and survive the coming weeks. We hatched a plan.
The plan started with the sun rising over the rocks outside Dartmouth harbour with towering waves and their white crests making the scene all the more dramatic. They say “Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight; Red sky in the morning; fisherman’s warning.” The sky was blood red and we were heading out to sea.
Ruffian scooted along rolling and crashing through the waves while Fiona busied herself without a care in the world. Her cast iron stomach hadn’t seen the rough sea warning, meanwhile all Iain’s could do was think about it over and over. Hopefully his breakfast would remain where it had been put in the minutes before and by concentrating on steering Ruffian his complexion would remain fair and not green.
As the tide turned the waves disappeared and were replaced by pods and pods of dolphins. For poor Fiona however they proved elusive. As she looked left, they went right, as she looked right they went left. Finally, as they leapt through the bow wave, played chicken with the keel and darted out of the sun she saw them all their glory. For hours they stayed with us, clearly they’d missed riding the bow wave of cruising boats and we were one of the first they’d seen this year.
The natural wonders of the world we also accompanied by architectural wonders. The Eddystone lighthouse, only 1 mile away, watched over us keeping us safe. To have a skyscraper so far offshore in the wind, rain and seas gave an enormous sense of safety. That safety blanket was further enhanced as we entered Falmouth harbour with a building on the right that Iain remembered from his childhood. Every Saturday morning Iain had watched the Falmouth entrance as the credits to Fraggle Rock rolled and the lighthouse took a starring role. *
Getting as far into Falmouth harbour as depth would allow, we were surrounded by high sided river banks, and water so flat plasterers would be jealous, in this setting the anchor hit the safe soft mud and Ruffian rested after another big day on the water. It was then time to tune into the radio to hear Boris Johnson deliver what the world had been expecting. We were now in ‘shutdown’, only essential travel was allowed, only key workers working, the new buzzwords were social-distancing and self-isolation.
In this new age of ‘shutdown’ and having to adjust to our new reality, we felt we needed to be educated and so we watched the movie ‘Contagion’. Weeks ago this would have seemed like a far fetched disaster movie, today it seems more like a docu-drama with the most insightful storyline and real life consequences.
The plan of coming way up the river Fal to Truro would enable us to provision and entertain ourselves, all whilst being safe whatever the weather brings. Provisioning here is unusual to say the least. It’s possible to take the dinghy all the way into the centre of town, past tower blocks and offices and under main roads. This was made all the more unusual by the complete lack of people, cars and noise. The country really was in shutdown. The film ‘Contagion’ now didn’t feel like a docu-drama it felt like a fly on the wall documentary.
We’d had a plan; to plan for the worst. The worst had happened; and the plan had been expertly executed. Although Boris had cast his net and many fishies were panicking, we were happy that although we been captured by the situation, we were in control of our destiny and our containment was somewhere safe in the short and long term.
*Maybe the theme tune to Fraggle Rock will appear on Iain’s penny whistle in the weeks to come, much to the discontentment of Fiona.
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