I found three spare days to spend on The Exe last week.
The navigation from the entrance to The Teign to the entrance to The Exe is only six miles; it is the pilotage on The Exe that makes it an “adventure”. The estuary is wide, the main channel is narrow and tortuous – and the mud sticky. The distance from the entrance to Topsham is just over seven miles. Perhaps twin keels and shallow draft vessels take it in their stride but Blue Mistress’ long keel doesn’t allow for careless mistakes.
This was my first visit. All ports and harbours have their local conditions – experience makes them perfectly manageable, inexperience requires extra care.
I spent the night on board and left Teignmouth at 0700. Dawlish stood out in the early morning sun.
At The Exe entrance buoy, I took off the sails and motored. The tide was with me.
The channel here runs for a mile between Exmouth beach and the sandbanks off Dawlish Warren.
The edge of the channel is obvious at this stage of the tide.
Looking back towards Dawlish, there is an inshore passage; suitable for this trimaran perhaps, but I would hesitate to use it.
At the entrance to Exmouth Dock the channel turns sharp to port, creating gentle eddies today but exciting, swirling currents on a falling spring tide.
I picked up a comfortable visitors’ mooring in The Bight well before high water . . .
. . . and enjoyed a peaceful afternoon watching the traffic on the water and working on the boat.
(to be continued)
Images by Bill Whateley