Day 26, 23rd May, 51.5 nm from Lowestoft to Blakeney
We were meant to leave yesterday morning, but during the previous night there was a storm , which kept us both awake and at one point up on the deck checking the ropes and fenders. We awoke, and although the eye of the storm had obviously passed over, we were still being forecast a 6 / 7 until lunchtime when it was predicted to drop to a five six. But we did get dressed and had agreed that if the sea wasn’t too ‘lumpy’ when we went out to the sea wall, we would just go for it, and use the wind to our advantage, but neither of us fancied a ten hour journey in heavy seas, not when we don’t have to.
Needless to say we came back to the boat and planned a day out in Lowestoft, if I was honest, I was pretty tired and really wasn’t that interested in the highlights of Lowestoft. But I am so glad we made the effort because we had a smashing day, there are lots of attractions worth a visit, and lots of footpaths to explore.
We headed off in the direction of Asda, walking along busy roads until we got to Beccles Road, turned right and arrived at the lock for Oulton Broad. Here the landscape changed, to waterways and thatches.We crossed over the bridge, crossed the road and found a footpath that wound its way in amongst the old boat buildings and boat yards right along the river; It was a real treat, and well sign posted once you were on the path. We eventually ended up at Ness Point, our most easterly point of the journey. We then crossed the road and visited the maritime museum, where we met Stanley and Duncan, two curators with a lot of local knowledge. We left the boat at 9am and arrived back at 4pm, most of this time was spent walking, with only one stop at a tea shop for tea and cake.
The night was better, so once again we planned an early start and were actually motoring out of Lowestoft at 5.50am. The sea was still slightly more than moderate; the slight breeze was coming from the south, which had there been more, would have been ideal.
We put out the sails to help us along, but after an hour put them away again. Then miraculously at 11.30 the wind picked up a bit and we sailed quietly for an hour before we lost it, and resorted to motor sailing. When we were in the preparation stage of this trip, we spoke to number of fellow sailors who told us stories of too much wind and always on the nose, really? We have had difficulty finding any wind this trip, I think soon we shall have to change the blog title to ’motoring round Britain’.
Right along the coast either side of Cromer the geology of the land changes and we have some hills again. We can also make out clearly the erosion to this side of the coast. You can see swathes of bar earth cliff, where there have been landslides. Just a little fact I picked up in Lowestoft, did you know that when there are storms out at the Shetland Islands, it reduces the tidal flow along the east coast, which in turn lowers atmospheric pressure, creating higher tides. Obviously I am available as a guest speak, with all these wonderfully interesting facts, I shall be able to compete with your worst bore!
During our long passages we take turns on watch, hour and hour about, today on my off watch periods I have been quilting, and Sean has been reading this month’s PBO, (I don’t mind it second hand!). Luckily for us this month there is a passage plan in and around the Orkney Islands, I think the article will induce a few conversations later today.
As the afternoon has worn on, it is interesting to note the change in sea state from waves this morning to no white water in the earlier part of the afternoon but long rollers, rising us in the water and dropping us again. Then look what we got as I entered Blakeney, a huge surge in the wind, meant it was wind against tide going over the sand bar to enter the channel…… Oh goodness! ( or words to that effect ), was this a bit hairy for ten minutes.
We then came round behind the sand dunes into Blakney Pit, all our charts and soft wear on board show a drying height of 3.5m, we are at the height of the tide and its only measuring that now…..so we could be in a for a bumpy few hours. We have managed to anchor where we thought the Pit was, its not easy to know exactly where to lay your chain, because the width of the channel changes.
I can say I wouldn’t recommend going into Blakeney, we are bilge keeled and landed without any really perceivable bumps as we dried out. Once the tide had gone fully out it was easy to see the passage, which was a very narrow strip of water, very close to the green buoyed marked channel, although when the tide was fully out the green buoy was high and dry on the sand.
It’s an early start tomorrow for Grimsby, 5am, let’s hope it’s not tide against wind again.
Wildlife spotted: over thirty seals on the sandbanks entering Blakeney, Terns and Black backed Gulls.
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