Once Round the Bay…

…and back in time for tea – so goes the old saying about boat trips. Not that we went round the bay, but yesterday we did sail up the River Blackwater to Maldon and back. At least I suppose you could call it sailing; more of a drift really.

It was a lovely warm and sunny day and we barely had a breath of wind at first. We had to wait until lunchtime for a suitable tide to get us out of the marina and then simply drifted with the tide, although the sails were up. From time to time we did have to have a spot of engine in order to avoid other traffic as we had very little ability to control the boat – no thrust through the water so the tiller had minimal effect.

Radio Caroline

Radio Caroline

Actually the main vessel we needed to avoid was the Radio Caroline ship which is moored in the Blackwater and which we were drifting towards fairly rapidly! We noticed there was some sort of shenanigans going on, it was noisier than usual and there were people coming and going. We later discovered that it is 50 years since the advent of pirate radio and obviously some celebrations were going on. It is surprising that Radio Caroline is still going strong and still broadcasting (all-be-it only on-line now).

Despite being wonderfully peaceful we did eventually fire up the engine full-time as we were making such slow progress and Maldon is only accessible at high tide, even then there is a fairly tortuous narrow channel you have to stick to through the shallows, though it is well-marked with buoys. Stopping there is not an easy option if you wish to return the same day – we have it on authority that there is just enough time to moor up, have a swift half-pint in the pub and then set off again! We didn’t stop, just turned round and sailed back – this time with a little more wind to blow us along and the day rapidly cooling. Once comfortably back in the marina we celebrated with a warming  curry!

This was a lovely day, simply messing about in the boat. We have been down here since the middle of last week but have been busy with maintenance work, rubbing down the wooden parts and re-varnishing and scrubbing off some of the weed that insists on sticking to the bottom (which hampers progress through the water!) so this was the first day that we had been free to actually go and do what boats are meant to do.

In some ways the day was bitter-sweet as we wonder how many more such opportunities we will have now that we have decided to sell the boat. There are a variety of reasons for this decision, we are of course getting older and living so far away from where we keep it makes maintenance something of a chore plus the many other things we do with our lives meaning we get fewer opportunities to make use of it and so on. We shall be sad to see her go but we think it will be for the best.

However, apparently the bottom has fallen out of the boat market at the moment so we may well be playing with her for a few more years yet as we wait for the market to improve. Meanwhile, if any one is interested in finding out more about Red Dawn IV and would maybe like to consider buying her we have set up a website all about her at https://reddawniv.wordpress.com. Please feel free to share this link with anyone you think may be interested.

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Fibo-Ku

Sun
shines
brightly,
but clouds come
drifting slowly by,
shadows fall, stretching and shrinking
like unworldly living creatures flexing their muscles.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is my first attempt at writing a Fibo-Ku, a form based on the mathematical Fibonacci Sequence. Each line contains the number of syllables indicated by the sequence number – i.e. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13. You will find a more complete explanation, with better examples at ‘Bastet and Sekhmet’s Library’ blog here, which is where I first came across the form.

Drifting

Drifting down river
in the current. Fun in the
January sun.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is the last of the ‘stones’ that I wrote while we were in Spain. We spent a wonderful warm sunny morning on the river Ebre, our daughter’s partner in a kayak and the three of us, with Rufus, the dog, in a large inflatable canoe/raft. The river flows so fast it was only necessary to paddle occasionally, to steer or to cross the current, the rest of the time we just drifted. We were on the water for about 2 hours. The sun disappeared and it turned much cooler just as we arrived at our intended journey’s end. The part of the Ebre we paddled is a beautiful river, wide and meandering, an undisturbed and peaceful wilderness. We had it to ourselves, but there are jetties and access points at fairly regular intervals so perhaps it isn’t so quiet in the summer!

Site content copyright of Elizabeth Leaper (Libby).

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