14thSeptember.  We locked out of the barrage at 7am – an hour before high water.  The lock was busy: two commercial fishing trip boats, another yacht and a little motor boat called Happy Days with (we thought) father and son on board off for a day’s fishing – hopefully a happy day for them.  To avoid the last of the adverse tide we kept close in round Lavernock point: there was sufficient depth and we had tide with us for half an hour or so.  

We passed Barry close to and then headed out towards the middle of the channel to catch the stronger tide, on an almost direct course for Lundy. The sun was warm and the sky was blue as we ploughed through the thick soupy brown water of the Bristol Channel. We settled into a 2-hour watch pattern for each person and we soon put out our big sail and made the most of the gentle wind.  We had good tide with us until about 2pm, and surprisingly little adverse tide after that.  Both the Welsh and Devon coastlines were visible and we could see Ilfracombe, then the prominent dishes of the signals station at Bude to our left and Swansea and the Gower peninsula in the distance to our right. As we progressed westwards Lundy island came into view, with its distinctive Old Lighthouse and church tower on the horizon.  

Lundy with MS Oldenburg

The wind dropped as we got near the island and we motored for the last hour or so, reaching the anchorage just as the Oldenburg (the Lundy ferry) left the jetty with its full load of passengers. Approaching the island, the number of sea birds increased, and as we dropped anchor into the azure Atlantic water a curious seal popped up to view us. This idyllic scene was only broken by the incongruous sight of a jet-ski towing a hydrofoil waterskier around Landing Bay!

Lundy anchorage

It was 5pm – time and light enough to get ashore and explore. The crew pumped up the dinghy in record time and we were soon winding our way up the track from the jetty. On our way we bumped into a man photographing the seals: it turned out he was there to survey them and he pointed out a very young pup lazing on the shore having just been fed, with its mother patrolling the water close by. It is pupping season and once the pups have been weaned, they are left to their own devices and the mother will mate again with the ‘beachmaster’ (bull seal), producing another offspring 11 and a half months later.  

All four of us had visited the island in the past, so it was good to rediscover it and see the newly restored church (now able to double as a visitor centre) climb the lighthouse to see the view and enjoy a meal in the Marisco tavern.  We got back to the boat as night fell. Before we turned in, the moon rose: a full harvest moon, casting a glowing orange light which gradually turned more yellow as the moon climbed higher.  The stars were out and in the glass turret of the lighthouse above us we could see dancing patterns made by the light.  

The anchorage at Lundy is known to be prone to swell, but we had a reasonably peaceful night as we had shelter from the westerly wind and the worst of the Atlantic swell.

  • Distance: 69nm Cardiff to Lundy. Sailed 7h motored 2h15m
  • Wind: W3-4


On our passage ‘Around These Islands’ Anne is writing about each trip, and Jonathan is writing some more ‘technical’ blogs, from our perspective as ordinary cruising sailors. We are sharing what we’ve learned, and welcome your thoughts too. Please remember that this blog – and your comments – are public.

There’s also a special focus on 12 key ports on our planned route, with articles from These Islands and a series of podcasts from Chrome Media called ‘Around These Islands in 12 Ports’.


You can like, share and follow us on social media for latest images and impressions: