Along the English Coast – Fowey – Tresco – Bantry

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  • Post last modified:10. July 2024


Off to Fowey

Fowey, the small historic fishing town on the west coast of England, is the home of author Daphne du Maurier (The Bird`s from Alfred Hitchcock is based on her short story). Like many other places in Cornwall, Fowey also served as the backdrop for a Rosamunde Pilcher film adaptation.

The SH Vega anchored in the small bay of Fowey along with small ships and impressive sailing yachts.

We arrived in the picturesque Cornish town of Fowey at 6am and started with an espresso on the balcony thanks to the in-suite coffee machine. Fowey harbor isn't deep enough for the Vega, but it's small enough that we anchored our expedition ship in the middle. The passengers were taken either to the pier in the center of the town or to the departure point of the excursion buses using tender boats from the local ferries.

Everything went very smoothly: the meeting point for the excursions was announced several times over the on-board loudspeakers by expedition leader Ralf and due to the small number of guests (72 out of 168) we were virtually taken personally to the start of the booked excursion

Scenic Cornish Drive & Polperro

We decided on a 4-hour excursion by bus: Scenic Cornish Drive & Polperro - this excursion was already included in the tour price.

We enjoyed the drive through the Cornish countryside with the typical granite houses which took us to Polperro, a small original historic fishing village. Jeannie, our tour guide, tells little stories and historical details (in English) about Cornwall, Daphne Du Maurier (who lived and wrote here) and the pirates who had their base in Polperro.

We parked about 1.5 km outside as Polperro is car-free. A local shuttle was available for fellow travelers who are not great on foot. However, places were limited and could not be booked in advance. A small fee was payable in local currency for this transfer.

In Polperro we strolled through the historic streets on our own. On the way we admired the small fishermen's cottages and the picturesque harbor of Polperro. Of course there were also shops and souvenir shops in Polperro.

Before we continued our journey we were able to try the traditional Cornish pasty. The Cornish pasty was not only very rich and very peppery, but was also included in the excursion package. On the return journey we once again enjoyed the view of the typical Cornish landscape and listened to more little stories from Jeannie, our tour guide.

Back on board SH Vega

Back on board we were welcomed with fresh tea and wet towels to refresh ourselves.

The regular tender boat took you to the small port town of Fowey. We recommend visiting one of the many typical cafés to enjoy the local scones with clotted cream and jam (apply the jam first, then the cream cheese, enjoy!).

– Day 3 – TRESCO – Isles of SCILLY, ENGLAND

Tresco is the second largest island in the Isles of Scilly (not Silly Islands!) and is located approximately 45 kilometers off the coast of Cornwall.

The Isles of Scilly has a mild climate and we were surprised by the white beaches and bright green sea. This is very reminiscent of the Caribbean on our last cruise with the MSC Seaside. Tresco is also called the Flower Island because, thanks to the Gulf Stream, cacti, date palms, aloes, lilies and other exotic plant species grow there. Caribbean auf unserer letzten Kreuzfahrt mit der MSC Seaside.
Tresco wird auch die Blumeninsel genannt, da dort dank des Golfstroms Kakteen, Dattelpalmen, Aloen, Lilien und andere exotische Pflanzenarten wachsen.

Tresco Abbey Garden

The included excursion went to Tresco Abbey Garden. Tresco Abbey Garden is considered one of the most biodiverse in the Northern Hemisphere and covers almost a third of the small island of Tresco. I.e. tender first.

Because of the many shoals in front of the islands, we anchored and were taken to the island of Tresco by the local ferry service in two groups of a maximum of 35 passengers each. Even the crossing was a little adventure with the waves and we had everything on offer weather-wise - rainbows, sunshine and drizzle.

There were small electric buses waiting at the pier to take us on the 40-minute walk to Tresco Abbey Gardens.

Phoebe, a horticulture student who works here six months a year, was waiting for us at the entrance to Tresco Abbey Gardens and showed us around the complex.

There used to be a Benedictine abbey here, then the Augustus Smith family - now the Dorrien-Smith family - leased the island to create Tresco Abbey Gardens. Now plants from all over the world bloom here, even from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. People are also proud of the wildlife in the park, golden pheasants, red squirrels and many species of birds, large and small.

There is also a collection of ship figures and flotsam and jetsam from wrecked ships to admire, the Valhalla figure head collection of ship-wrecked figureheads and decorative carvings.

We enjoyed a typical cream tea and scones with jam and clotted cream in the café of the Tresco Abbey Gardens in the bright sunshine before we left this paradise garden again.

The walk from the Tresco Abbey garden to the jetty took around 15 minutes, the duration depends on the tides, the sometimes quite uneven path can be between 1.5 km and 2 km long.

Back on board the SH VEGA there were fresh towels again and today hot chocolate.

– Day 4 – BANTRY – Welcome to Ireland

Swan Hellenic - SH Vega - Bantry - Time for all onboard
Swan Hellenic – SH Vega – Bantry – Time for all onboard

Today we were greeted by Bantry, a charming port town on Bantry Bay in the southwest of Ireland, surrounded by ancient history. Here you will find the megalithic Kealkill stone circle with its standing stones, the Kilnaruane Pillar Stone from the 6th century or the Carraiganass Castle from the 16th century and the grandiose Bantry House from the early 18th century. Seal Island is home to friendly seals.

Schull South of Ireland

Today we spent almost 4 hours on a relaxed bus trip through the western cities of Cork, the southernmost cities in Ireland. 

Through the typical Irish landscape we passed the megalithic stone circle of Kealkill with its standing stones. On the way to Schull, Mary, our tour guide, also pointed out the altar church on the side of the road, built with bare hands. The church was built during a famine (The Irish Potato Famine) to provide for the poorest in the population. Schull is a water sports hotspot. On Monday morning it was still a little sleepy. Although there is no cinema in Schull, there is a regular film festival in May, hence the decorated streets.

On the way back we were able to take a look at the famous Teardrop of Ireland lighthouse. This lighthouse was the last thing Irish emigrants saw of Ireland when they went overseas.

Back in Bantry

Back in Bantry we took the small shuttle bus from the harbor to the city of Bantry. The charming little harbor town is easy to explore on foot, and there was also enough time for an Irish cider and a beer in the bistro.

Bantry House, the White family manor house, was also very close to the jetty. Definitely worth a visit. If you like, you can explore the terraced garden at the back via 100 steps or take afternoon tea in the library.

After so much sightseeing, we took the regularly scheduled tender boat back on board and of course tea and towels were ready for us again.

– Day 5 – Bantry – Zodiac excursion

Cruising with an expedition ship means being flexible: yesterday afternoon the announcement came very suddenly from the bridge that we were staying overnight in Bantry. In the early evening there was a short briefing from the captain that the port in Dingle had withdrawn permission to enter there due to the poor weather forecast - so we stayed in Bantry overnight. However, the expedition team quickly organized alternatives.

We decided to take the Zodiac trip to Bantry Bay. All participants were briefed in advance: how do I dress (waterproof), how do I get in and out (sailors handgrip), how do I take a seat (sit down and slide along), how do I take beautiful photos (only stand up when asked and told).

With this information we enjoyed the trip through Bantry Bay, safely driven by Dali. We drove up to the mussel farms, explored the small harbor of Bantry and took a look at Bantry's cemetery from the water. The 1-hour excursion was over far too quickly. And with a secure grip and active support from the crew, we got back on board the SH Vega from the Zodiac.

Of course there was again hot and cool refreshment.

In the evening we were able to continue our journey – towards Galway. Galway.

SH Vega - Lector session
SH Vega – Lector session

Our travel reports: Cruise with the SH Vega

Werbung: Advertising. Participation in the cruise on the SH Vega was partially supported by Swan Hellenic and took place at the invitation of Swan Hellenic. This has no influence on the reporting and we have only described our own experiences and impressions.

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