Sailing The Isles Of Scilly – A Cornish Paradise

Log – 4th June to 14th June 2017

If you read our last log, you’ll know we had some bad luck and had to deal with a steep sailing learning curve in the Isles of Scilly. However, we had some great times in the archipelago too. This log is all about the good times we had in the three weeks we spent in the area. For a guide to the local anchorages, keep your eyes peeled for one of our next blogs, where we’ll cover most of the islands’ anchorages and talk about more technical stuff.

The Isles of Scilly are an archipelago located just 45km South-West of Lands End. It’s not a huge area and over the time we spent there, we explored most of the bigger islands.

Pelistry Beach

First we stayed at St Mary’s harbour, on a visitor mooring. It was a great spot for the amenities – we could have showers for £1 and free drinking water, we could shop at Coop, use the good 3G, go to the Post Office and have the occasional drink out. During our three weeks in the Scillies we went back to the harbour a few times to restock and have a hot water shower (such luxury!).

We also spent some time in St Helen’s Pool, just off Tresco. This is a nice spot in the middle of lots of rocks – the ideal environment for seals. Over the few days we spent there we played hide and seek with three or four seals on the dinghy, got some work done and explored the tropical-looking beaches of Tresco. It’s a shame the weather wasn’t great – we had to imagine what those places looked like in the sun.


St Helen's Pool

Another excellent spot was The Cove, in St Agnes. This little bay was separated from another by a beautiful sandbar, which got covered at high tide every day. The water here was green and light blue. We thought we got lost and ended up in the Med for a minute.

The Cove, St Agnes

The Cove, St Agnes

A quick attempt at a dip reassured us we were still in the UK. The water was freezing, so we only ventured in with our wetsuits and hoods. We loved watching the sandbar get covered and uncovered throughout the day.

One evening Ryan caught a ginormous pollock, applauded by the crew of a beautiful gaff rigged sailing ship anchored nearby. Having freshly and sustainably caught fish in front of a beautiful sunset was pretty magical.

One night the bay was quite rolly and we felt rather queasy, so we decided to camp on the sandbar. It was the most beautiful camping spot we’ve ever pitched on. We had dinner on the beach and then a quick drink at the pub on the other side of the island.

The Cove, St Agnes

Although we were hit by a big storm in Watermill Cove, in the northern side of St Mary’s, this spot is absolutely lovely on a nice sunny day. Before the storm, we had a lovely time there.

Watermill Cove

We anchored in the bay on a nice, breezy sunny day. Once we were confident our anchor had bitten in, we rowed to shore to go and explore the Neolithic Innisdgen Burial Chambers, which were a short nice walk on a coastal path away. We enjoyed feeling like tourists for the very first time.

Burial chambers St Mary's

The next day, we rowed to the nearby Pelistry Bay to enjoy a game of bat and ball and some spectacular crystal-clear waters. It truly felt like paradise. The place reminded us of some beaches in Elba, Italy.

Pelistry Beach

The Isles of Scilly can be stunning in the sun and a little scary in a storm, but they surely are a special place.

Update: we’ve now put together a video that shows the beauty of the islands, as well as telling the story behind the incident in Watermill Cove.

  • Jayne Meyrick

    Ryan and Elena, I swam around the Scilly Isles a few summers ago and absolutely loved it! I remember getting out of the water and running over the sandbar that you camped on so I can picture it perfectly – wonderful! I’m due to have baby number 2 in October so big adventures are off the cards for me for a while but I am really enjoying hearing all about yours!

    1. Sailing Kittiwake

      Hi Jayne! I thought of you when I saw all the open water swimmers in the Scillies, remember it being your thing. Its a cool spot, especially St Agnes.

      Congratulations on the baby(ies)! Before you know it they’ll be big enough to enjoy camping adventures.

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