Monday, August 18, 2014

London by Sea

London is a mere 2 hour drive from our home in Bury, but we haven’t spent much time exploring all it has to offer until earlier this summer. Of course we took the long way though, and made the trip by boat! Why spend 2 hours in a car when you can spend 4 days in a boat and get there in style? Arriving to London via the Thames was an amazing experience and a true adventure.  As an added bonus we had our sailing friends George and Susan from Atlanta joining us and  they brought beautiful weather with them. 

It was a wonderful 12 day trip complete with lots of sailing, lots of motoring, lots of sightseeing (more often than not at some type of nautical museum), many meals aboard, many meals out (more often than not at a fish and chips shop), and plenty of adventure. I’m afraid a re-cap would get too long, so I’ll just let the pictures do the talking. 

First night out on the river, so far so good!
We passed this boat on the way out to sea, I call it the Sponge Bob boat. 
George assessing the situation at the lock in Shotley marina, we became almost semi-pros by the end of the vacation!
Leaving Harwich amidst all the container ships, I was probably down below having a pint of Carlsberg to calm my nerves!
Keeping an eye out.
Eric took this picture of the wind farm through the binoculars.

Eric with pretzels.
The captain looks relaxed.
A few of the boats in our group anchored at Sharfleet creek on our 4th night out.
Eric had a chance to sail the mini Nani.
Then he went for a dingy ride and got kinda far away........until the engine quit. Luckily the tide brought him back nicely towards the boat.

Alex and George fixed the dingy engine. 
So we took it for  ride around the anchorage and got this shot of the beautiful sunset.
We motored up the Thames the next day.
The American flag attracted a bit of attention from the police. They were nice enough, and we went on our merry way!
The infamous Queen Elizabeth Bridge, we've sat in traffic going over this bridge several times and were happy to sail under it this time.
Cheers for making it past the bridge!
We sailed past miles of container loading docks, the Thames is very industrial until you are almost in the heart of London.
Going through the Thames Barrier.

George and Susan on the Cutty Sark 
Alex blending in with the locals at the Cutty Sark museum.
Another boat model? I lost track of how many models we saw............
We behaved like proper tourists and rode the cable cars.
View of Limehouse marina, our home for 3 nights.
We rode the double decker bus and saw all the sights in London, including this big guy.
Dingy ride around the marina. 
After leaving London, we went to Chatham marina on the Medway River. The boys went to another maritime museum, the girls went to lunch by the castle.
Alex bought a steam engine at an antique stall because  he didn't have enough toys to play with.
Early start on the way back to the Deben, sunrise on the Medway River.
We saw swans everywhere, these 2 beauties were having some fresh water at the last marina where we spent the night.
And a bit of bread from Eric!

Slow ride on the tide up the Deben towards home, thanks for coming George and Susan!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

We Sailed to Ipswich for Indian Take Away

This past weekend we finally got the boat out onto the ocean for the first time since Alex brought her over in July. It was a short trip to Ipswich and back with my Sister and Brother in Law and my two nieces and we had a great time. The girls had a real adventurous spirit and were not afraid at all of the moderate waves, river currents or large container ships that we passed by. I needed some liquid relaxation (aka a beer or 2 to calm my nerves) but they were just fine.
the crew

 It’s about a 9 mile drive from Woodbridge to Ipswich, but by sea it takes it bit longer! The first day out we spent a couple of hours sailing up and down the river and then headed back up to Ramsholt to pick up a mooring for the night. We had a nice walk in the afternoon and a few pints at the pub. It is so great to be able to walk to  a pub for a drink and when the walk is in the countryside, that is even better!
beautiful church at the top of the hill
Wellies are a must
Captain and crew

Eric overlooking the river
Alex and Eva
beautiful sunset on the river
The next day we sailed down the Deben and out of the river at Felixstowe Ferry, across the sea to Felixstowe Harbor (which we have been told is the busiest harbor in the UK, I believe it!) and up the Orwell river to Ipswich Haven Marina. 
we saw lots of these on the horizon
the freezing North Sea! 
we counted 3000 containers onboard
this thing is huge!
Since we didn’t arrive  at high tide we experienced our very first “lock in” to the marina.
enter at the green light!
 We had a curry for dinner from a fine Indian take away establishment and the next day did the same process in reverse. This time we picked up a mooring ball at Waldringfield and spent the night so we could enter the Tidemill the next day on the high tide. 

there is lots to see!
the girls wondered if it would fit under the bridge
beautiful Suffolk countryside
keep number four to starboard!
almost home
The weather was good for the most part but a tad chilly and not quite sunny enough. Oh yeah, we live in England now........

It was a nice trip. Even I didn’t get seasick, and that seems like progress!