Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Salting Wrecks

A peaceful end.
These wrecks sit quietly in a small area of saltings. This kind of image is one of the attractions of the East Coast. Similar scenes can be found all along our shores. Like a fine wine matures with age, the more weathered and decayed the wrecks become, the more charming they appear. We grow up seeing wrecks like these on our beaches, in our rivers and creeks. We climb on them as kids, some of us even as adults. The obsessive 'clamp and tow' culture found with other modes of transport seems to thankfully pass by our creeks. The East Coast, I fear, would not be the same without scenes like this. Studying the sections of rotting framed planks, or the peeling paintwork, one wonders of the vessels once busy life; full of the excitement and springiness of youth, serving a once caring skipper, who would have lovingly sanded and freshly painted to the gunwale, and when coming up river, saluted proudly whoever passed to port.

A ramshackle mess? Or a picture of wild rugged beauty?

Monday, 17 January 2011

Weymarks Beach and Sales Point Lighters

Weymarks beach. From Weymarks to Sales Point is a great place to anchor if there is any south in the wind. Not only that it is also a good place to dry if you need to scrub off mid season. At high tide the beach is mainly cockle shell white with a scattering of wild green saline plants which gives it a Bahamas in Essex feel. As long as you remain looking east any how... What this image shows quite nicely is the hazards that are dotted along this particular stretch. Stumps litter the beach close in so it is risky landing here but not impossible. The beach shelves quite steeply so I'm able to float over most of this near to high water and still get ashore. In the distance, on the far right of the picture you may just make out the outfall pipe. This is marked on charts with a spar. After this pipe to the Sales Point lighters it is void of stakes so safe to pretty much land anywhere. The image also shows a few rocks that you may come across if drying out a bit further off, which I know one or two larger cruisers like to do. At low water you also have good protection from that beast of a southeaster that can come rushing up from the Dover Straights via the Kentish shores, spilling that fresh pot of tea and cakes.

Stakes at Sales Point lighters wavebreak. This image shows quite clearly the dangers even for a shoal draft boat of cutting inside the lighters. In a choppy sea these stakes do not take prisoners. The wave break was placed to help fend off the eroding effects of the sea. The height of the barges are about two meters so there is plenty of depth to get close to them when in the river near high water. This lighter is the first in line heading east, they all cover at springs. What the image also shows is how clear the access is to the shore along the left side of the stakes.