A Tale of Two Numpties: The Eddystone Conquered at Last.

 

Unbelievably good weather forecast for the first time in many months: sunshine and virtually no wind. Time to have yet another crack at the Eddystone.

Austen and I set off from Cawsand at sunrise and on rounding Penlee point could quite clearly see the lighthouse ten miles away on the horizon like a little stick. A sound like British Airways’ entire fleet of Jumbo Jets on full thrust intensified behind us as the Destroyer HMS Liverpool powered out of Plymouth Sound directly towards us. Luckily our humble presence was noticed and it slowed right down so we weren’t subjected to it’s Hawaian style wash.

State of the art killing machine (behind)
State of the art killing machine (behind)

OK we probably messed up a multi thousand pound pre-planned sea trial.It then powered off making the most appalling racket… what sort of ear muffs do the crew wear to stop their brains short -circuiting with the screaming noise?We could still hear it quite clearly long after it had gone over the horizon.

And I thought the Navy were going stealth.

We settled down for the long haul to the horizon… I trolled a couple of lures the entire way and not only did I fail to catch anything they probably slowed me down a lot. Paddling for three and a half hours to a pin on the horizon which never really gets much bigger is quite a mental hurdle to…er…hurdle.

En route to Eddystone
En route to Eddystone

But I buck the trend and enjoy every second of it. Anything could happen at any moment. I don’t seem to have cottoned on to the fact that it hardly ever does.

We stopped for a coffee break and as we approached the lighthouse passed several fishing boats who seemed a little surprised and bemused to see us.

Nice shiny fishing smack
Nice shiny fishing smack

My over- exuberance at achieving my months’  long ambition nearly led to me being the first  eddystone shipwreck for some time ; I paddled between the main light and the stump of the old one just as a sizeable swell came sloshing over the surrounding rocks.

Never mind,  I caught a six inch Pollack so the expedition was now officially a fishing trip!

Don't drop my camera in the sea, Austen
Don't drop my camera in the sea, Austen

We were keen to get out and stretch our legs after four hours paddling but although there were steps onto the foot of  both structures the swell precluded any chance of landing. So we concentrated on fishing- I paddled round and round the rocks trolling while Austen did a spot of bottom fishing. I lost three lures which I found enormously irritating . Austen caught a load of little Pollack and a scad. I reckoned that the place was overfished as there were half a dozen fishing boats around…well that was my excuse and I was sticking to it.PA131262

Time to head for home and the sea was like a silk blanket. Paddling in these conditions requires virtually no effort at all.It was so still we could hear the distant ‘traffic’ noise from Plymouth.

Ten miles offshore and it couldn't be flatter.
Ten miles offshore and it couldn't be flatter.

Half way back Austens line buzzed out when something grabbed his mini Rapala lure. I had been aware of a group of jabbering gulls shadowing us and chortled when I saw one hooked up. I am the UKs number one bird enthusiast but I do find catching gulls excessively entertaining. They really do get in a strop when you grab hold of them and try to unhook them. They are very quick with their beak and when they catch hold of your finger they don’t let go. It is very painful but it always brings me out in a fit of giggles.I think its because they know that I know they’re a bit embarassed for being duped into trying to eat a wooden lure shaped like a fish.And even other fish couldn’t be bothered to make the effort to try to eat that lure today.

Feathered fiend
Feathered fiend

Amazingly Austen caught another Herring gull shortly after the first and fortunately this one was as easy to unhook as the first, but equally as stroppy.Bad timing though- the performance was witnessed by a charter fishing boat which was passing very close.

Wearing normal tousers beneath a dry suit which was only covering my legs allows for reasonably straightforward comfort breaks. However Austen was in a different situation in his chest high neoprene leggings which would be more suited to a potting shed. I was aghast to here that his bladder had so far held firm for the entire trip which was now approaching nine hours without getting out.

No wonder he seemed to accelerate as we approached the little beach below Rame head. By the time I arrived Austen had washed most of it away.

So our big offshore fishing expedition had been unbelievably useless. Even more ironic then when Austen hooked a beauty bass on a trolled lure in the more familiar location of a few metres from the shore.

Pleased with your bass or just relieved to empty your bladder?
Pleased with your bass or just relieved to empty your bladder?

We hauled ashore in Cawsand at about 6 and a total distance of over 27 miles.Pretty pooped but managed to top up the tan…not bad for mid October.PA131276