Day 19, 14th May. Rather a leisurely start this morning, which started with coffee and books in bed. When I got up to make the coffee every one of the buoys along from us had been vacated, I did remember seeing a few similar pennants, so I can only presume they were an organized cruise.
I caught up on some Static Boat Holiday business whilst Sean did the passage plan for today. I created a shepherd’s pie from the gourmet cupboard, which comprised of tinned mince and onions, tinned carrots, peas and sweet corn, a tin of tomatoes, a large spoonful of lazy garlic and a sprinkle of mixed herbs, all mixed up and placed in a container, then I used a packet of instant mash for the topping, all created cold!! This wonderful creation was placed in the oven for later, then I made us some brown bread sandwiches full of salad and ham, for our snacks we had two pieces of fruit each.
Wildlife seen today, Oyster catchers at Queenborough, a colony of seals on Foulness Sands, and this evening whilst I write this sitting with a Gin and Tonic at anchor in the river Roach, Sean is busy pointing out the birds to me, we have seen Oyster catchers, Curlews, Shell Ducks, Sanderlings, Sky Larks, Terns and Mallards.
So let me describe our sail today, we left our buoy at 12.30 and headed with the tide against us for the first forty minutes, the idea being that the tide would change at Sheerness in our favour, which it did. Although there was a light wind, Sean pulled all the sails out and we killed the engine. Perfect sailing conditions; the wind was 3 to 4 knots, flat seas, sun shining and the tide with us.
Today wasn’t one of those days where we could switch off and relax, we had to be continually aware of the sand banks all around us; we took our hour and hour about watches. Neither of us relaxed as we were continually plotting on the chart and discussing various marks that weren’t shown on our charts. We were using the Imray chart C1, Thames Estuary to North Foreland and Orfordness, but it is years out of date! With the shifting sand banks though even last years would have been inaccurate.
We sailed up through The Warp, to the north of West Barrow, cutting through by Maplin Edge into East Swin, because it is springs we cut over the Whitaker Spit, long before the wind farm. It then felt as though we were heading back where we had come from but on the other side of the Foulness Sands. This was a passage of water that quite threw us, but we continued cautiously to find the passage is actually quite well marked leading into Inner Crouch. We are now at anchor between the islands of Walesea and Foulness, having arrived with an hour of tide against us at 7.30pm, having completed 34.5 nm.
I managed to contact Robert Kirkby, who was the first person to place his boat Sherpa with Static Boat Holidays, so we are due to meet for the first time tomorrow, he has suggested that we moor up at the Corinthian Yacht Club pontoon, and head off to the pub, as apparently there are a number we shouldn’t miss.
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