Nautonnier : 'You sail towards your destination"
Schull, Ireland to Exmouth, England
  • Nautonnier
    "You sail towards your destination"
  • Nautonnier: An old French word for Navigator

    Departed: 14 February 2012
    Returned: 20 February 2012

    Our route was from Schull, West Cork, Ireland to River Exe, Devon, UK and back by land and ferry.

    We sailed following compass bearings usi ng charts when near land and occasionally a hand-held GPS to provide the coast guard with our location or confirm to ourselves we were on course. 

    The selected photographs chart our entire journey. Trees feature on the return leg as a symbol of both land and boat. Until I stepped outside on the first morning on ashore to be greeted by frost and a 300 year old tree, I hadn't thought how the contrasts would be measured.

    We returned by a combination of car, coach and ferry, with a feeling of being in transit rather than on a journey. 

  • Mount Gabriel & Schull Harbour, Ireland.
  • Pembroke Ferry Port.
  •  Extras
  • Guitarist and Skipper Simon Crockett invited me along to photograph and crew his 32 foot wooden Hillyard Sloop. When I said yes I didn't realise we would be doing this in the middle of February. This was to be my maiden voyage across the Celtic Sea. It's very different to catching a ferry.

    Unforeseeable and complete rudder failure, meant our first departure day resulted in a recovery by Schull Community Inshore Rescue (SCIR) west of West Calf, and a humble return to the pier at dawn. Without them events could have been newsworthy as the islands of Roaring Water bay stretched out their crooked claws. 

    If you've cycled through a city you'll understand a situation that could have been fatal but wasn't, you kind of put it behind you and move on. The rudder failure and two other situations could have meant a very different voyage, but for our calm preparation and the the SCIR being on call we continued. A couple of days later I wrote in my journal: 'At it's wildest, roughest, chew you up and spit you out toughest the sea nor the boat broke our internal calm'. (Reflecting on our first night when waves were alive on top of waves.)

    Our delay meant we left on Valentine's Day and we arrived back home on Shrove Tuesday.

    Yes we saw Dolphins. A Porpoise as we headed south of Cape Clear, and 36 hours later we were guided towards Land's End by dolphins and once more as we passed Plymouth, both times with phosphorescence highlighting our wake.  

  • Simon and the rigging.
  • Simon at the helm.
  • Schull Community Inshore Rescue.
  • Ireland's Teardrop - The Fastnet Lighthouse
  • Top Left: Cape Clear, Top Right: West Calf, Bottom: Copper Point, Long Island
  • Dolphins.
  • Last Word:

    I lived and worked at a studio for nine months in 2010, with frequent visits to Glandore, Union Hall and Prison Cove a mile or so away. It was an important time personally. I'd like to dedicate this series in memory of the crew of the trawler 'Tit Bonhome', and their families at Union Hall, Glandore Bay, West Cork. 

    The fishing trawler hit Adam's Island in rough seas at the mouth of the bay a month before we set sail and the last crew member was recovered on the 10th Feb, the day before we were first due to set sail. As the story of the tragedy unfolded and remained in the news, the strength and spirit of the community resonated. 

    Thanks to: Camilla Griehsel, Zoe Spencer, Peter & Veronica Crockett, Dave & Hazel McCabe, Dave Precious, and the crew of Schull Community Inshore Rescue for the send-offs and welcomes.