Monday, June 11, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012 – Isles of Scilly, UK – Cloudy – mid 50s

St. Peter Port to Isles of Scilly, UK: 154 Nautical Miles

The Isles of Scilly is an archipelago of 150 islets of the cost of Cornwall, England.  There are five inhabited islands with a total population of around 2100 people.  Today, we will be going to St. Mary’s, the largest of the islands (1.75 X 2.5 miles) and it’s main town of Hugh Town.

 St Marys Isles of Scilly (Small)

St. Mary' – Isles of Scilly – from Journey

The port has no pier (and is probably shallow) so we are tendering today.  We will not be using the ships lifeboats but instead will be ferried by local boats.  These boats are open type so it may be a bit chilly on the way.  Luckily, it is a short ride.  Not many people appear to be going ashore today (there are no excursions on this tiny island), so we are able to get a spot on a tender very quickly.

Tender to St Mary (Small)

I don’t remember any passenger with a tail (above).  The ride (less than 10 minutes) was chilly and bumpy.  The tender pier was also a bit iffy due to its steep staircase leading up to pier level.

Chilly tender ride (Small)

Tender ride to Hugh Town, St. Mary

The town reminded me of Portwenn, the fictional town of “Doc Martin” on PBS.  It has the beach and harbor and hills and it’s also in Cornwall.   The harbor is full of boats and the beach near town looks pretty nice in spite of the chilly weather.

Town Beach St Mary (Small)

Local boats in Hugh Town Harbor

Journey at Anchor Isles of Scilly (Small)

The Journey from Hugh Town

 E and Town Beach (Small)

Ellen, the Journey, at the sea wall in Hugh Town

We found the Visitors Information Office and received some advice on where to go on the island.  Our plan was to walk to the only Golf Course on the island – we got a map and directions and we were on our way.  At the start of our walk, we got a good look at the town beach.  The sand looked OK and in warmer weather, the beach is probably very nice.  Not today.

Town Beach (Small)

The beach at Hugh Town

After about a half hour of walking, it started to look like we had taken the wrong road.  We finally stopped some people in a golf cart and they confirmed that we had not turned off some distance back.  From where we were, it would be a long way to the course.  We decided to turn back.  Although we never found our destination, the journey itself was very interesting.  This island used to be (and in a small way, still is) known for its flower farms.  There were many examples of smaller fields of flowers and even a farm still selling flowers and bulbs on the honor system.

On our huge walk (Small) Flower fields (Small)

Flower fields on our walk (two pictures above)

On our way back, we found the road we should have taken.  It was not clearly marked so we wouldn’t have taken it anyway.  We got some additional pictures of the beach area as we made it back to town.  As is always the case, the walk back was much shorter than the outbound one.

The road not taken (Small)

The road hugging the shore

A local resident – a bird – struggled with a piece of bread donated by someone returned again and again to try to deal with his meal.  I managed to get a picture of him in action below.

Local bird (Small)

The vegetation along the beach and waterfront consisted mostly of ice plant and similar hardy groundcover.  One house had particularly striking foliage which just had to be photographed (below).

100E0592 (Small)

We stopped in a charming local coffee shop and for the cost of a cup of Cappuccino (2 pounds), we were able to get WiFi and the use of the facilities.  The cappuccino turned out to be generous and excellent and the WiFi worked very well.  We ran into some crew members from the Journey, who took the opportunity to get lunch (a break from the same food all the time).  Postcards were mailed from the local Post Office and we made our way to the tender pier.

One of the other sites on the island is Star Fort on the hill behind Hugh Town.  We opted not to go there (very hilly) but I did get a great picture of the fort from the tender as we returned to the ship.

Star Fort (Small)

Star Fort from the tender

We watched the early sail away from the Isles of Scilly from the Looking Glass Lounge (you can see from the photo below that I found a way to take out the blue hue present when shooting through a window)

Sail Away Scilly (Small)

We had dinner in the Windows Cafe – Stir Fry and such – and then listened to the end of Melvyn’s talk on Dublin. 

Showtime tonight is a new show - “Cafe Del Amor”. 

Showtime - Cafe Del Amor 5--31 (Small)

It is a story in song and had good dancing.  The stage was full of performers – five singers and four dancers. 

Pedometer: 8410 steps; 3.99 miles; 412 calories

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