Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Tuesday 3rd April

0535 Shipping forecast – Thames: Variable 3, becoming west or south west 4, showers, moderate visibility, occasional fog patches.

In the event, the wind came from the south, and was about a three to four.

‘Bumper’ left her mooring at Rice and Coles at 0700 and proceeded seaward under engine against the incoming flood tide for two hours. By 0950 we were at the Foulness buoy which almost marks the north eastern corner of Maplin Sands. The wind was a pleasant force 2 from the south, which helped us motor sail at just over 3 knots.

Later, we passed over the shallow waters a cable to the west of the South West Sunk Beacon, and then headed east towards Fisherman’s Gat. This is a very well buoyed channel between the sands taking us to a point north of North Foreland, on the extreme north east tip of Kent.

Some way back, Gordon succumbed to seasickness, although it could in part have been brought on by a bug transferred to him by his sister, who had been sick the previous day.

Still several miles to the north of the Foreland lighthouse we took in sail and motored directly into the wind, although we had to offset our course because of the flood tide into the Thames estuary.

The Foreland gave us a little protection from the wind as we came within a mile of it. Progress down the eastern Kent shore was rapid, so that we arrived off Ramsgate Harbour at 1900 just as the tide started to ebb. Unfortunately we could not enter the harbour until an hour later, because one ferry and a freighter left and a dredger and a pilot boat entered. Meanwhile Port Control kept us on station by number 4 fairway buoy.

Trying to see the green starboard hand buoy for the approach to the Yacht Harbour was difficult because of the setting sun. Port Control had given us permission to enter the Yacht Harbour; therefore I was surprised to be confronted with an enormous dredger working in the entrance. Having motored between it and the starboard hand sea wall I found it difficult to come alongside a pontoon because of the wind, but eventually managed it with a near miss.

Dinner was cooked late, but was very welcome.

Wednesday 4th May.

We decided today would be a non-sailing day. After breakfast and showering we explored the streets of Ramsgate and shopped at Waitrose. The afternoon was a time for Gordon to do his school studies while I read and prepared the page for the blog. This evening we are plan to have a meal ashore.

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