Saturday, September 09, 2006

Keeling Me Softly

( The editor apologises for the poor quality of the photos in the following post. Please click on them to open them in a larger window to appreciate the true horror of how bad they really are)

I was up early. Prehistorically so, at least to my mind. The sun hadn't had time to burn off the primeval mist that clung like cotton wool to the valley, choking the trees, only the very tallest being able to gasp for the fresh drier air above it.

My date, Comrade had arrived before me and was already making ready for the day ahead. The rising tide had meant an early start to ensure it got out of the lockgates before the water engulfed the mechanisms. It was almost lapping the very top of the inlet. I'd never seen it this full. ( note the concrete mooring platform to the front of the keel)

We clambered, with some difficult and no doubt amusing results - thankfully I had the camera - over the concrete wall of the sluice gate and jumped down to meet David & Carolyn. By the time Dad and the others arrived, I had spotted the kissing gate further along which allowed them all much easier access. The girls were worried we might need to go to the shop to buy more water
( I'd only packed 4 litres) whilst the boys wondered whether we were planning to sail to Holland rather than just up to Immingham and back, given the number and size of the bags we expected them to carry up the ladder, over the ropes, and onto the craft.
The crew hastily mended a rip in the sail sustained at the Sea Shanty Festival the previous weekend and then we were ready to catch the highest tide in 20 years. The area to the right ( starboard) side of the above picture shows the same jetty as the one in the first picture, just 40 minutes later. Needless to say, we'd ditched any ideas of going to fetch more provisions when we had realised we'd have to swim to the boat if we dallied a moment longer. We were treated to a fly-past from a squadron of hundreds of noisy Canada Geese as we set off.

We motored down to the bridge, into the wind and then hoisted the mainsail. Engines cut, peace broken only by the cries of the many birds swooping across the swollen waters and much merry-making from the passengers. Gill and Frances took the helm, relinquishing it to the boys for the return leg of the journey, steady, straight with a strong backwind and full sail.

By this time the estuary had emptied considerably. That's why I wasn't that concerned when I noticed a large sand bar to starboard. The depth gauge was only showing 7ft too, but I assumed that was alright because we sat at 3.5ft in the water. David did seem to be steering towards the large white ferries in the distance when I thought Colin, the skipper had pinpointed the two red cargo ships further east. I certainly wasn't expecting the sudden burst of activity from the crew who made some hard and fast tacks, paying careful attention to Health & Safety with a hastily positioned rope. I think a few hours stuck on a sandbank in the middle of one of Europe's busy shipping channels might have been rather fun. Yet another opportunity to meet a sailor or those lovely boys at Humber Rescue.

Dad indulged in his favourite hobby.
So did Jack.
Some of the Geese had decided to await our return as we saw from the tracks they had left across the exposed bed of the creek. The same creek from which we had departed. The yellow flag in the background is the same one as on the picture above. The picture taken into the late afternoon sun shows the same mooring on the mid-tide. It was a great day.


Blogger Mise said...

As you can see, I'm up pre-historically early myself... great description of the day ..sounds like you had fun ..I'd love that myself. :-D

3:13 am  
Anonymous pet said...

you enjoyed yourself then.

I take it there'll be a lot more such trips in an attempt to meet one of those "lovely boys at Humber Rescue"?

6:23 am  
Anonymous Pete said...

can't even spell my name right. I do hope blogger resolves the comment thing

6:25 am  
Anonymous Cream said...

I was up early too. Had a coffee overlooking the marina and the boats bobbing up and down...
Dreamed of past sea journeys and then read your post...
Nearly died when the Blondie suddenly started!
Sounds like you had a great day and the photos are good!!
Next time make it a little further North for a coffee!

11:01 am  
Blogger Kate said...

It sounds like a lot of fun! And the pics are good don't be so modest.

Oh, Pete asked me to tell you that you can edit html on Blogger beta now. He's still having trouble with comments so can't tell you himself.

11:13 am  
Anonymous Pete said...

guffaw sorry Kate wrong pie!!

and CP the title pun is criminal - bless

4:11 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Mise - I don't know why I don't get up early more often. I always love it and it makes me feel virtuous for the rest of the day.

Pet ( I think I prefer that to Pete today) - it's their last sailing in 2 weeks until next year. I've done both Amy and Comrade now and whilst it's a lovely way to spend a day, I suspect I'd soon run out of willing passengers. Maybe in another few years.

Cream - sorry I made you jump. You are such a perfect host. You think of everything, even mooring for visitors arriving by barge. I'll be up there soon. I promised myself I'd do Northumberland this year and it's rapidly running out.

Thanks, Kate. I recommend it as a day out with a difference if you and Mr Blogs fancied it next year.

Pete - I wondered what she was talking about - thanks for clearing that up. I couldn't find the Roberta Flack code and I'm not trendy enough to have the Fugees otherwise I'd have ditched the Blonde.

5:18 pm  
Blogger Within Without said...

Glad you had a good time, Cherry. Great title, btw...

1:10 am  

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