A friend of pleaseremove's had promised a boat trip, so today we headed over to Plymouth for it! The plan was to motor out and moor up upriver somewhere for a picnic lunch, but we scratched that plan as we realised we'd have had to set off much earlier for any chance of a mooring. So instead we motored out to our usual favourite spot at Cawsand Bay... only to realise when we arrived that the wind was in entirely the wrong direction for this to be a decent anchorage. On to plan C, and across the sound to Jennycliff - not our usual anchorage, but a good spot when the wind is wrong for Cawsands.
As we were trundling across the sound, we heard the odd snippet of conversation over the VHF radio. One in particular stood out and went something like this...
Police cruiser, this is warship Queen Elizabeth, over.
Warship Queen Elizabeth, this is police cruiser, go ahead.
Police cruiser, warship Queen Elizabeth, can we confirm what time you were expecting us to anchor today?
None less than HMS Queen Elizabeth happened to be in the area making a flying visit to Plymouth, and by chance we happened to be monitoring VHF channel 16 at the right time to catch the conversation. We couldn't see the ship (though from the conversation we knew she was somewhere off Plymouth Breakwater), so we continued on to Jennycliff for a picnic lunch.
After the picnic pleaseremove and Chris dug out the dinghy to have a play with. Once they got bored of rowing they stuck the outboard on the back of it - the dinghy goes quite nicely with that powering it along!
Back in the boat, we powered up the antique radar (a Furuno 1721) to see if we could make it behave (answer: yes, but without the manual we've got no idea what all the controls do). There's also an autopilot that pleaseremove has challenged me to do battle with one day - the current score is one-all between him and the autopilot, which on his first attempt had decided "hard'a'port!" was the only valid option.
As the day wore on, in the distance we spotted a distinctive shape appear...
Well now we know where she is! So we raised anchor and set off to peer at what our taxpayer pounds have accomplished. We actually got fairly close - there was a police launch circling to keep tourists at bay, but they didn't seem to mind us as long as we didn't get between them and the Queen Elizabeth.
Time to head back to Plymouth - Chris decided to open up the engines for the return trip and his boat managed a good 23mph or thereabouts. Once back in Plymouth we went for a tour up the Tamar past the Torpoint ferry, before returning to the marina. All in all a great day out on the ocean blue!