My top destinations

by Julian

It is the end of the year and since we started out in 2012 we have covered 3000 miles in Carina. I have already reviewed when things go wrong, so for balance I thought I would highlight some of the best places we have been to. I have chosen one destination in each country we have visited, though there are many other fabulous places in all five countries.

Tresco – Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, England

TrescoCollageWe moored on either side of Tresco. In New Grimsby Sound on passage to Ireland and in Old Grimsby Sound on the way back. I’ve heard people be a bit sniffy about Tresco because the south end of the island is so well tended. But in fact this is one of the most stunning things about it. It is an island of two extremely different halves. Of course the views everywhere are incredible. When the sun is out the beaches have the feel of a south pacific island. The moorings are a bit pricey but it is possible to anchor. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there. See the blog posts: Hungry sailors in Tresco and Falmouth to the Isles of Scilly.

Muros – Ria de Muros, Galicia, Spain

MurosCollageThe town is absolutely lovely with its old narrow streets overlooking a nice bay. The marina is pricey, but probably the best I have ever stayed in, with the office, lounge and laundry all set in an old converted cottage. It has a great family feel about it. If you love fish Muros is certainly a top destination too and we were there for the fabulous Virgin del Carmen fiesta with its waterborne parade. Despite the comments in the pilot guide about anchoring difficulties plenty of yachts anchored in the bay with no major issues. However, our best time was away from the town, when we anchored off a beach around the corner. I could walk into Muros and we could swim or row to the beach to play for the afternoon. We even collected delicious mussels at low water, whilst some locals were picking the razor clams. See the blog posts: Ria de Muros – a little bit of heaven, Fiesta de Virgin del Carmen and Beach Interlude.

Culatra – Algarve, Portugal

CultraCollagePeople just anchor here and stay for the whole summer and I can see why. What a fantastic place. Away from the traffic children can run around in relative safety, they cannot go far because it is a small island. Many people just seem to hang around barbequing fish that have been collected by the fleet of small, often single person boats. There is also the community of catamarans in the lagoon, some of which are permanent inhabitants. Ferries to Olhao and Faro mean that you can get everything you might need, but it is fun to just stay on the island and meet the people, including sailors from all over Europe. See the blog posts: Have you heard the one about the Inuit family, Old cats and Arviat on the Algarve.

L’Aber Wrac’h – Brittany, France

LaberwracCollageI just love the many faces of L’Aber Wrac’h. You can moor upriver at Paluden, away from the bustling marina of La Palue, or hang out and meet the many interesting sailors (and rowers), from all over the world, passing through on their adventures. There are beautiful walks in the woods, the hills and along the beaches, with their cockle picking opportunities. Nice towns you can walk to (or catch the bus), and of course the chance to sample the delicious food of Brittany. But probably the most spectacular thing is the entrance itself with impressive granite rocks and a giant imposing lighthouse in the backdrop (Possibly the tallest in the world). It is a great staging post for an adventure. See the blog post: Brittany.

Derrynane – County Kerry, Ireland

filename-derrynane-harbourDerrynane has a tight entrance, only to be attempted in good weather, but once in you are safe at anchor, in a beautiful cove. If the weather turns bad you’ll have to stay there and wait it out though. The sort of place where you can swim from the boat to the beach, explore all around the fantastic dunes and rocks, finding a variety of interesting places to play and chill out. It has a great pub too. What more do you want? See the blog post: Dolphins divers and Derrynane.


Well that’s it for now, except to say that I would feel bad without at least a mention of some other places which could have made this list.

Falmouth, Fowey, Penzance, The Yealm and Mevagissey – England.

Horseshoe Harbour – Sherkin Island, Glandore, Crookhaven and Lawrence Cove – Bere Island – Ireland.

Camaret sur Mer – France.

Porto – Portugal.

Ria de Viveiro, La Coruña, Rianxo, Bayona (all of Galicia really) – Spain.


Hungry Sailors in Tresco

My mother chastised me yesterday for leaving cliff hangers at the end of my blog posts, but then never getting back to them. It’s a time thing – or a lack of time thing. She was referring in particular to our brush with culinary celebrity in the Isles of Scilly, so it’s time I told that story.

View across Old Grimsby Sound

The weather was wonderful when we arrived back at the Isles of Scilly. We were less tired following this passage than we had been on the journey to Ireland. But because of the weather we decided to stay on the islands for a few days, to play on the beach and explore Tresco Island again.

Lily and Katie at King Charles Castle

There was a food festival on the Sunday, showcasing local beef, seafood, cheeses and drinks. There was a bread making workshop, wine tasting and cocktail making. We partook in very little of this, and what we did we looked on from the sidelines. But it was enjoyable, and there was a great sense of fun about the day, especially once the wine and cocktails got flowing.

When we climbed to King Charles Castle, Julian and I both oohed and ahhed over a very pretty wooden cutter moored in New Grimsby Sound. By the time we had walked back across the island, the cutter had moved to Old Grimsby Sound and was one of only two boats there – the other one being Carina.

At the cricket field, the Tresco and Bryher eleven took on the Truro doctors, from Cornwall. We went along to watch and quickly discovered we were in the midst of the filming of the ITV television programme, The Hungry Sailors. Not owning a television, we were unfamiliar with the programme, but very familiar with its charismatic and distinctive looking co-host, Dick Strawbridge, he of the walrus mustache, a former winner of Masterchef and host of various environmental and foodie programmes (we have yet to shed our 21st Century middle class obsession with extravagant one-up-manship cooking and celebrity chefs).

The man with the walrus mustache

Dick and his son, James, sail around the south coast of the UK in their wooden cutter, seeking out local foods and local food heroes, and then, of course, doing a little cooking themselves.

Wait! A wooden cutter? Could it possibly be the one moored next to us? Of course!

So, for this show that we accidentally walked in on, Dick and James made rival sandwiches for the cricket teams, and the teams then had to judge which sandwich was the tastiest. We got talking to Dick and the film crew about sailing and food and children, and Lily and Katie joined the cricketers in tucking into the sandwiches. Julian suggested a punchline for the end of the show, and I’m sure Dick wondered why Julian hasn’t yet quit sailing and take to the comedy circuit!

I’ll certainly be watching the programme when it’s aired next March, although I’m sure they’ll edit out Lily crying – partly because she wanted a sandwich but mostly because Katie bit her!! And I just have to see if Julian’s punchline was put to use.