While I was at Canvey Island last Friday, I walked along the footpath at Smallgains Creek that runs beside the Marina. This place is a photographer’s dream, because the visual images are so rich with texture and colour, and for the marine photographer it is astonishing. Rarely can there be such a dump-yard of dying and dead boats*, and in between and around, there are hives of activity with people working on ‘projects’ – I call them projects, as some are nothing more than fantasies. Don’t get me wrong, because there are other very sound and excellent craft at the Marina, the sort that can be admired and valued by their owners.
I have no doubt that people who keep boats there, and those who live aboard them, love the atmosphere, with its apparent lack of regulation and freedom to create ones own lifestyle, though I suspect there are rigid rules and regulations; for example, where to dispose of trash and where to assemble in case of emergency, such as if a fire were to occur. I spoke to the harbourmaster who described his domain as a ‘do-it-yourself’ place, and as an afterthought he told me that to the best of his knowledge no murders had been committed there so far. I feel he must be a very resourceful person who can manage ‘his’ community with tact and sensitivity and at the same time he must be very good at arranging practical aspects of running a harbour. Boats have to be launched and retrieved; when being laid-up ashore, they must be set up safely; piled walkways have to be maintained; mooring and storage fees have to be collected; toilets must be cleaned and a close watch must be kept on all happenings– especially as the site is not secure.
*Smallgains Marina Graveyard (Click 7 photos from the right to see dead and dying boats)
Halcon Marine – Smallgains Marina
Boat Launch - Smallgains Marina
Sail the Net.com – Halcon Marina
Visit My Harbour.com – Canvey Area
Boating Water Sports - Smallgains Marina
Prince Edward’s Visit to Smallgains Marina in 2008