Sunday, 20 July 2014

Harvest Cruise - Weymarks Creek

Our Harvest Creek Cruise in the Blackwater was cut short this year by electric thunder storms. The cruise began with a fantastic sail in pleasant sunshine on Thursday afternoon, when a strong easterly had us beating on the inside of the moorings at Stone to find smooth water and after a dash northward, taking in Thirslet, Old Mill and Mell Creeks, her nose rolled south to swing round the Tide Pole at the mouth of Bradwell Creek. The ebb was flowing in full force and the notorious Blackwater chop had risen to its more perilous state as it carved a way seaward. If you haven’t slalom-sailed the series of white crested moguls that present themselves in mid-river, off Bradwell, in a small boat; in inshore sailing terms - you haven’t even lived yet!   I coaxed Shoal Waters away from her adrenaline rush and persuaded her to sail in smoother water, further south, and soon found a place to anchor for the night. The ships barometer needle fell like a piece of heavy metal shortly after drying out on the beach at Weymarks Creek.

Weymarks can be found due south of the Nass Beacon and is a small opening in the top of the beach that enters a small area of saltings. The whole place is awash with cockle shells, sea blight and singing birds and comes alive with sandhoppers at dusk.

The area around Weymarks is such a wonderful place to explore and I had an idyllic walk along the shore here as the sun diminished on the far side of the river. I had hoped to detour up to Harwich for a tide, at high water the following morning, but after hearing the morning weather forecast instead remained close inshore and played around in the river, surviving two thunder storms that swept a way downriver. The calm before the storm and the sudden change in wind direction from a Force 3 to 4 easterly to a Force 4 to 5 westerly with lashings of rain and lightning was enough to arrange an Elson collection from a pair of sea boots! This was top creek action of the most dramatic ‘perfect storm’ order being played out in my home creeks.   
The second storm had us stranded off Gore Saltings, where I turned to run back downriver to avoid it but was engulfed by the blackest weather front that took all our wind. Sorcery magic was playing havoc in my own river and I had to chuck the hook in and let down sail in a frantic few moments of scrambling on deck. I didn’t have time to lash the tiller and sat crouched in the cabin praying for lightning not to strike us as we were battered once more by a Force 5 to 6 westerly. And then, as suddenly as it all started, it had gone leaving us to finish with more of a beautiful harvest sail - the type that I'm used to in the River Blackwater.

Beautiful evening at Weymarks Creek

The view from inside Weymarks.Water is retained in the creek
One of many saltpools at Weymarks
The new day and 1st storm engulfs as it heads east, over Mersea Island
Sailing over the ebb after 1st storm
2nd storm rages a couple of hours later - 0730-ish

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