Day 18, 13th May. How was it that on our way up the Thames we managed 42.4nm and coming down we only covered 40nm, we must have taken a more direct route and cut off a few bends!!
So lets start with our thoughts on South Dock Marina, the terms ‘ a small oasis or sanctuary’ spring to mind. We were based for the week in South Dock Marina as a place of safety whilst a storm passed by. Not once during the week did I even notice the the high winds, we were positioned at the far end of the marina underneath a large block of flats (incidently £500,000 for 2 beds..I mean a girl can dream), which sheltered us completely.
South Dock Marina is ideally situated within a ten minute walk of the Jubilee line, Canada Water, which gives such easy access to the East End of London, or in the other direction the O2 centre, Greenwich village and the Cutty Sark, but quite simply with a few tube changes you could get anywhere. By the tube station is a large Tesco and the Surrey Quays shopping center.
In the area are two pubs, in and by the Greenland Dock which was next to our marina, these provided us with an afternoons entertainment with some friends, one inclement afternoon.
Talking of friends, as we have both previously worked in London, we let our nearest and dearest know of our whereabouts, and filled our diary with social events, stopping in London in this instance was sociable, busy, and enormous fun.
This morning it was with trepidation that I approached the lock entrance, firstly dodging the Crested Grebe and her three young, plus the mallard with about a dozen chicks and a few moorhens thrown in just to complicate things.
I entered the lock easily, those who have read the previous blog will be aware that on entering from the Thames, I hit the wall! My blood pressure rose as the lock gates opened and the furling waters of the Thames revealed themselves to me. I shouted up to the lock keeper and asked if he had any advice, ‘go slowly’ was his cheerful reply. Well I tried that on entry and the wash threw me from one wall to the other side. On this occasion I reversed until I was central to the entrance and pushed the throttle down hard, and shot through without any problems, phew.
The journey down the Thames could not have been more different, for starters there was no wind and secondly we had the tide with us for practically the whole journey, which took six hours as opposed to the ten hours getting up! So neaps heading up, Springs coming down, at one point we were being propelled along at 9.6knts.
As on our previous journey up, coming down we saw seals, this time not only on the shoreline but very close to the boat bobbing about.
This evening we have picked up a buoy at Queenborough, last week we were the only boat here, this week with an anticipated high heading over South East England, there appear to be a few other sailors getting ready to enjoy it, we picked up the last available buoy.
Tomorrow we head off to Essex for a few weeks creek crawling, but tonight I sit here relaxing remembering the fun that was had in South Dock Marina with family and friends, thank you all for making such an effort.
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