Friday, 30 May 2014

North Walsham and Dilham Canal

 More from the 'quiet waters' of the Norfolk Broads. Here we are cruising 'African Queen' style, and at a ramblers pace under bridgesail, on a disused and heavily camoflaged canal found at the very top of the River Ant.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Barlinghall Creek

 As an extension to Sea-Country I will be listing many notable creeks on the Creeksailor pages under the label 'Sea-Country.'

The view while making the climb up this creek from its mouth at the Violet in Potton Creek is perhaps one of Essex's best kept secrets.  I for one am yet to find a view in marshland Essex that is more pleasing. The picturesque church tower, with steeple, peeping above the swaying trees is quite enough to forge the resolve of any skipper having to beat into a headwind around the creek's curving course. But add to this a number of small fishing vessels that dangle drying nets and dredges from rigging that casts sleepy shadows over long, sunny, summer days.
Barlinghall Creek.
   On entering Barling, one has committed to a world that few know. To delve deeper into its depths I hold a steady course - slow and sure. The waters before me are calm, flat, often mirror-like. Not here will your beam-ends be slung over. But beware if the sea fog hangs low and eerie as you are done for unless an anchor is set. Smothered by the reaching arms of the creek boundary the small boat must make frequent interweaving of sleeping, still vessels clung steadfast to moorings, and yet at the same time, staying free of dark ooze is a must to reach the Quay, which is an old concrete barge. Possibly one of the Mulberry harbour barges intended for the D Day landings.
  Here, absorbed by echoes of wildfowl clip clopping over cloying mud, in an enchanted place, one realises this peaceful creek is the essence of a rural working port with its heartbeat in rhythm to that of the oyster and tide.

Barge at Barling Hall.  Ferro concrete barges were part of the Mulberry harbour used in the D Day landings. Many are scattered around Essex.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Norfolk Broads - Quiet Waters

Its been a number of years, in fact far too many, since Shoal Waters sailed the wonderfully smooth and quiet waters of the Norfolk Broads. It has been my pleasure to bring her back here to a place she knows well. Hope you enjoy this small film.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

On Safari: Norfolk Broads

 No matter how far you journey, how wild the place, and how remote it may seem, someone is filming you with a go pro camera.
 I've been exploring in all the forgotten corners of the Norfolk Broads recently, and just came across this channel with lovely films of the Norfolk Broads. Some of the places I have visited and filmed myself.  Take a peek at this lovely clip for the surprise near the end, and then visit lord paul's youtube channel for more of his Norfolk videos, some of them are aerial shots of the Broads.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Olympic Park

In April 2012, and as part of my Essex Loop trip, Shoal Waters sailed the Lee Navigation to the Olympic Stadium. She is the only boat I know of to have sailed at the newly built stadium, and in a small way did her bit for the Olympics and the magnificent human spirit that the event imbues. The stadium was nearing completion and there were many waterways closed, or with limited access, at the time.
The Olympic Park, with its Bow Back Rivers, is however now open to the boating public.
  For a map of the park click here or for more information take a look at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park website here
Google map of the site,-0.0152349,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x48761d6f98886b01:0x1f7ae7e0f9a14963?hl=en

Monday, 5 May 2014

3 Steps To Barge Parking

The stunning 'Thalatta', 150 tons cargo capacity and originally built at Harwich in 1906, has recently undergone a million pound refurb which took the best part of five years. As Thames barges go she is in pristine condition and was coming in for a pre-season spot of routine maintenance. Having the job of parking her in confined waters could be knee trembling to say the least. I think its fair to say most sailors, even us micro-cruisers, would be able to helm 80 or 90 foot of Thames sailing history in open water, but once in close quarters, be it a creek or narrow channel like this one at Fullbridge, River Chelmer, the mustard is cut by very few, rare men indeed.
  The concentration needed for this little maneuver was sharpened to a razor's edge by having a moored barge just to the right and one on my side of the quay, just a few feet away from where I was stood taking these shots. As well as the confined waters there was a third element, a fair tide, running at a knot and half  - possibly more  - under her way as well. Timing was a major factor in the movements as the barge Gladys had, moments earlier, came out of the dock and was on her way downriver.
  Having the experience of crewing on board these barges in various scenarios I know first-hand how easy it is to all go horribly wrong, which makes it all the more pleasing when you see it done so seemingly effortlessly. If, like me, you find it hard to focus concentration to the point of a dart in flight toward the bulls-eye, here's how to do it with 90 foot of Thames barge scratch-free in 3 easy steps.
Dry dock flooded and ready for Thalatta to arrive.

The bow swung over. At this point the tide could take the stern.

Full rudder and a  few thrusts of her engine.
She's in!
Wack the kettle on then?
Links to Thalatta