⚓ Stuart Line Cruises Monthly Newsletter ⚓ August 2020 ⚓

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Welcome to Stuart Line Cruises’ August Newsletter

For those of you who are new to this monthly sign-up, welcome! And for those who have been loyal readers for some time, welcome back to your favourite read of the month! 

Awesome August! 

Well, I think this is the first time I have ever posted my newsletter a day into the following month…indeed, August has been awesome and incredibly busy. So firstly, please forgive my lack of punctuality!

August. The month of summer holidays in full swing, ‘staycation’ like we’ve never seen before, absolutely sensational marine wildlife sightings, glorious sunsets and unforgettable memories made. Well, I don’t know about you but this ‘new normal’ doesn’t seem all that bad to me, after all.

So, I hope that you will enjoy reading about what we have been up to over the past month and what we look forward to as September is upon us.

Fish & Fizz Evening Cruise 

Our Fish and Fizz Evening Cruise is one of our Special Events, held twice a year and is always an incredibly popular choice amongst local folk and holiday-makers alike. The event was originally due to take place back in June but this was of course cancelled due to the pandemic and lock-down restrictions and so we rescheduled to 29th August. This year, due to the necessity for social distancing combined with high demand, we decided to use both boats.

The evening was a sell-out and we couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions. The northerly breeze made for a slight chill in the air but the sea was flat calm and Pride of Exmouth was able to set sail along East Devon’s magnificent Jurassic Coast.

The Krispies delivery vans arrived right on cue at 18:40, ready to distribute the goods as passengers started to board at 18:45. Each passenger was handed a glass of fizz as they boarded (orange juice for the young’ens) and seating was allocated as per our current normal, to ensure appropriate social distancing.

Captain Jake spent the evening with his binoculars at the ready; earlier that day we had been lucky enough to spot a Pilot Whale during our Jurassic Coast Cruise – I know, we couldn’t quite believe it either – and he was hoping for another sighting in the evening. We had no such luck and in fairness I think it would have been too good to be true to see it twice in one day but we did see a lovely display of coastal birds and we got nice and close to the thriving Kittiwake colony at Straight Point, which is always a real highlight.

The golden glow at sunset was truly spectacular, with the light reflecting beautifully on the deep red Triassic rock as we turned to head back to the River Exe and at this point we started to play some relaxing background music. The atmosphere on board felt incredibly happy and relaxed and I really felt that people were having a great time – myself included!

Once we were back in the River Exe we were really starting to lose the light. Everyone on the upper open-top deck was offered a cosy blanket and the colourful fairy lights were switched on. The moon shone bright and the reflections on the calm and still water were so pretty. It was lovely to pass our other vessel, Tudor Rose, as she too meandered along the estuary and all of our passengers waved merrily to all of hers.

It really was a lovely evening and we felt so lucky to be on the water with two boats full of passengers who were all having a lovely time – there was a real sense that everyone was just so pleased to be out for the evening and having a jolly nice time.

We still have a little space remaining for this Friday’s Fish and Fizz Evening Cruise (around 10 spaces I believe), so if you think this sounds like your cup of tea, then be sure to book before the tickets sell out!

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Marine Wildlife Sightings

Over the course of the past month, we have experienced more marine wildlife sightings than ever before during our cruises. Now, I am no marine biologist but I am sure there must be some sort of scientific explanation as to why we have spotted unprecedented numbers of dolphins so close to the shore in the waters of Lyme Bay. Does anyone know why this might be?

On Saturday, our Skipper, Crew and passengers were absolutely amazed to spot what we believe to have been a Pilot Whale just off of the East Devon coast, near Straight Point (pictured top left by one of our passengers – 13-year-old Jon). The large mammal was, at first, mistaken for a Common Dolphin, with a similarly shaped fin protruding from the surface of the water. As time went on and the mammal moved closer towards our vessel, it became apparent that it was certainly too big to be any breed of Dolphin and then it started blowing out water into the air, making a significant splash. The mammal appeared to be alone (they are generally known to stay in pods) and moved very slowly in the water, seemingly unperturbed by our presence and making an incredible spectacle for us all.

Later that evening, I came across a BBC news item, reporting that a large pod of Pilot Whales had been spotted off of the Cornish coast that same day by a fishing trawler – perhaps this one had become separated from the pod?

I would love to know more about why these creatures are here and would certainly love to be able to see one with my own eyes!

Cruise Ship Sightings

A somewhat comical reminder that we are indeed a small fish in a rather big pond!

This photograph was taken by someone on the shore at Babbacombe, as we sailed along the South Devon coastline en route to Torbay for our weekly day trip to Torquay and Brixham. There have been two enormous P&O Cruise Ships at anchor off of the South Devon Coast for a few weeks now – the Ventura and the Azura.

The Vetura and Azura are sister ships, both launched to break the mould for P&O Cruises’ ships – to be bigger, better and more family-friendly.

Ventura

Capacity: 3080 passengers
Crew: 1220
Sails from: Southampton
Sails to: Mediterranean, British Isles & Western Europe, Caribbean, Western Mediterranean, Baltic Sea – oh, and Devon!

Azura

Capacity: 3100 passengers
Crew: 1250
Sails from: Southampton, Barbados, Malta
Sail to: Caribbean, Europe, Western Mediterranean, Eastern Mediterranean – oh, and Devon!

As we sailed past, our Skipper could see the Captain of the Azura on the bridge. He waved up at the tiny spec of a person who seemed so far away and didn’t expect him to not only wave back but to also blast the horn, much to the amazement and excitement of Pride of Exmouth’s passengers! It was incredibly loud – exhilarating in fact and demonstrated a great sense of friendly humour from their watchman!

On the one hand, it is of course sad to see these ships redundantly waiting in the bay with nowhere to go – a sure sign of the challenging times which many travel companies currently face but on the other hand, it has been truly wonderful to see them and our passengers have absolutely loved being able to see something so awesome that many people may never have seen so close up before.

As with all things in life, opinions vary and some people love them whilst others do not but one thing is for sure and that is that they are a sight to behold and certainly not something you get to see every day! In my humble opinion, seeing these magnificent ships represents one of the many positive and fascinating things which has come about since the outbreak of the global pandemic and I am grateful for the opportunity to see them so close!

Well, folks, that’s about all for today but as always, we would like to thank you so very much for your invaluable support – every comment, email, review and phone call offering words of encouragement and support at this strange time mean the world and help us to stay positive and continue to do what we love.

I hope that you are continuing to enjoy our monthly updates and here’s to what the fun which the next month may bring!