Friday, 11 April 2008

all hail!

Its end of term holidays, so i've taken a few days off work with a view to getting away sailing for a few days.... so Tuesday evening saw me home from work, a bit tired after trying to cram 5 days work into 2 days, so it was agreed that we'd head down to the boat on Wednesday morning.... which we duly did.... arriving at Morgana by 14h00 by the time we'd procrastinated and generally wasted time.... its still early in the year, and it wasn't overly warm, so we decided to just spend the rest of the day fettling....We arose Thursday morning to clear blue skies and about 10 degrees, so sailing was definitely on the agenda.... we'd thought we'd start by heading towards our staple location... Stone Point in the Walton Backwaters... Low water was 09:15, so we hung around on our berth, and eventually slipped out at 10h00, and set off towards Harwich.... what a wonderful day.... although only 10 degrees, the clear skies and warming sun made it feel much warmer, and the 10kts of South Westerly helped a great deal... we quickly set the sails, and turned the engine off.... bliss..... after a long winter of no sailing, it was great to be back on the water... and to get such a great day to start really made all the difference.... we tacked off out to sea... we could have easily entered the Backwaters by now, but the sail was so pleasant, that we just sailed for a while.... Morgana's recent antifoul, and therefore clean and smooth hull was quite apparent, with her slipping along quite merrily at times reaching 6kts.... very nice indeed!Eventually we set course for Pye End, and made our way into the Twizzle.... while normally we'd anchor off Stone Point, it seemed rather churlish to not make use of the plethora of empty bouys, so we grabbed the nearest....Then the davits paid for themselves.... in 3 minutes, the tender was in the water (i'd inflated it, and put it in the davits earlier that day back in the marina), and after we'd garbbed a quick lunch, we motored ashore and went for a long walk..... what a terrific place the Backwaters are... we walked around the edge of the nature reserve and along one of the embankments that surround the numerous small pools of trapped seawater.... it was teeming with wildlife.... we saw too many Oystercatchers to count, and a wide variety of other wading birds, several shrews scurrying off into the long grass, and enormous quantities of wild duck.... man's footprint was only too evident as well... besides a significant number of empty shotgun cartridges (are you allowed to hunt Duck in a nature reserve?), the fact that the pools are filled by high tides and storms had also left a huge quantity of various types of plastic, from carrier bags to tarpaulins providing a semi permanent memorial to human presence spoiling an otherwise beautiful landscape..... what a sad race we are at times.Back on the boat we settled down for a quiet night.... we, as usual, played games with the kids until their bedtimes... and then relaxed with a good bottle of wine, before retiring at a time that would be considered abnormal back in the 'real' world... I didn't get to sleep easily... it was just too damn quiet!!! (just how good is that?)The following morning was a relaxed affair..... along with needing to wait until around midday to safely leave the Backwaters, we'd decided to head on over to the Deben, and anchor for the night at the Rocks, which with HW at 16h15, meant there was no rush... it was a 10nm run down, and the weather wasn't nearly so nice.... a much stiffer breeze made the sail a bit more challenging when mixed up with the fact that it was noticeably colder..... however, the run down was OK, and soon enough we made our way through the formidable bar that protects the entrance... with white water foaming either side of us, and a gentle 3kts of tide dragging us in (it was a neap - you want to try it on a Spring!), we shot into the river... its about 2.5nm to the anchorage, and we could see the sky ahead gradually turning black.... and sure enough as we started motoring up the river, the heavens opened.... not rain... no that would be far to easy to cope with...... this was enormous great big hail stones.... and to add to the fun, the wind shot up to 30kts.... not nice!Eventually we cleared the squall, and found the anchorage.... got the hook safely down, and seconds later the heavens opened again.... with the wind once again acompanying in a violent squall.... this lasted just 10 mins, and as the skies cleared, we could see the next squall bearing down on us.... the previous one had caused us to veer quite strongly at the anchor.... in itself nothing to worry about, but the temperature had dropped by about 5 degrees..... SWMBO and I looked at each other... I knew the look..... I glanced at my watch.... it was still 1 hr 15mins to HW.... enough time to get over the bar.... SWMBO muttered something about buying the food and beer at the Bristol arms.... its was enough.... the anchor was already on its way back up.... It didn't take long to get back out over the bar... a lot easier and less stressful this close to HW, and as we cleared the safe water mark, the sea state seemed to have changed dramatically in little time.... the sea had built considerably, and with the wind bang on the nose, we decided to motor back to Harwich.... it was a bit rock and roll.... nothing too serious, just not much fun.... it was bloody freezing which didn't help... we took a few green ones over the sides.... the kids love it!As we entered Harwich the heavens opened again (for about the 5th time on the way back), and we were glad to reach the more sheltered waters.... teh lock keeper had obviously seen us coming, for he was prompt in letting us in.... and we locked in OK... nothing too stylish, but no calamities either..... soon enough we were back on our berth....frozen solid.....It was a good call... the run back wasn't pleasant, but the squalls hadn't relented... it would have been a damp and uncomfortable night.....The Bristol arms was forsaken in return for sampling the new menu at the Shipwreck, which proved to be OK... and certainly great value for money... 39 quid for 4 meals, and a drink each!!!!!!No idea what the plan is for the next 2 days... the forecast is rubbish!

Miles logged 33nm
Miles this season 33nm
Miles since this blog started 2,970nm

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