Today we are aboard the William Cantrell Ashley lifeboat. She is skippered by Ed Saunders. Our marina is Watchet Harbour (where we will be holding an event on the Celtic saints at the boat museum tomorrow night).
Our lifeboat was originally stationed at Clovelli from 1948-1968 and in that time saved 32 lives. She was an ‘all weather lifeboat’ (she’ll go out in all conditions). On one occasion she rescued a fishing boat that had taken on too large a catch of herring and was sinking. The sinking ship was called ‘The Minnie’ and she’d caught so many fish she was going under (i.e. her catch of 10.000 fish was too heavy for the boat). On this occasion the lifeboat took on both fish and crew and towed the Minnie back to shore. The fish scales around the boat were so dense that they were still being cleaned off the boat years later. The crew helped the fishermen to mend their nets. They were interested in helping fishermen to safeguard their livelihood as well as their lives. This story reminds me of one in the gospels when Jesus did a similar thing in saving a ship that was too loaded with fish.
On board the ‘William Cantrell Ashley’, Caz is sleeping in a bothy made from a rib and tarpaulins on the foredeck. Ed and I are sleeping in a pod created by putting a tarpaulin behind the cuddy.
Next door to us on the pontoon an elderly couple are feeding the tame local Celtic goose called Derek. She is an elderly bird who is pampered by local liveaboards.
It seems that Navigators of Faith is on a journey that is now involving many vehicles. Rival Star has been our main vehicle thus far. The last week however has seen my trusty motorbike taking Caz and I to Polzeath. Now we are on Ed Saunder’’s lifeboat.