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Isles of Scilly

Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

28th August, 2018

We approached the Isles of Scilly (not to be shortened to the ‘Scilly Isles,’ as I discovered after a glare of disapproval from a passing local the last time I visited) from the north just before breakfast on Tuesday.  

There was a gentle north Atlantic swell breaking on the outer rocks as we passed through the western entrance channel and then on between the islands of St Agnes & Samson. We then turned to head north-east and tuck ourselves up into the basin between St Mary’s island (the principal inhabited rock) and that of Tresco, where we dropped our anchor. Once all things were settled we commenced tendering into Hugh Town on St Mary’s, using local tenders. They were more like fishing boats and traditional rowing gigs - enhancing the authentic experience for our passengers, but mainly because local law states that we are not allowed to use our own tender boats there.

Organised tours today were boated off to neighbouring Tresco island, which boasts ‘exotic’ gardens to explore. It has been described as ‘Kew without the glass,’ containing more than 20,000 exotic plants from 80 countries. For those not so interested in flora but more in fauna, we offered wildlife cruises to see birds, seals and other sea creatures. Alternatively, those not interested in any living creatures here could enjoy guided tours around St Mary’s itself, or a visit to the Holy Vale Vineyard which was established in 2009 after much begging for land from local farmers, I gather.

Those who wanted to wander ashore independently could enjoy exploring the metropolis that is Hugh Town, before enjoying some fish & chips or an ice cream. There is a Co-Op in town, which has 3 whole aisles of goods to choose from. Alternatively, the locals could catch the ferry or a small light aircraft to the mainland to conduct their shopping there…however I got the feeling that they are more than happy living this peaceful, quiet lifestyle in happy isolation here.

Another happy day ashore drew to a close again and the last tender returned to the ship at G&T o’ clock, just before supper. We weighed the anchor (which means raising it from the seabed, not lying it on a set of scales!) and headed through the narrow gap of St Mary’s Sound, between the aforementioned island and the oddly named Gugh Island. Overnight we will follow courses to the east, following the British southwest coast towards Dartmouth where we are to arrive to coincide with the grand opening ceremony of their 174th Annual Regatta. We can’t wait!

Captain Kim Tanner

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