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Archive for June 7th, 2013

Boat Blog: Gravesend Adventure – novis aquis!

Posted by indigodream on 7 June, 2013

Saturday 1st July – Barking Creek Mouth to Gravesend

Oh yeah :-D

Oh yeah πŸ˜€

It was exciting to suddenly be cruising new waters – the river felt wider, wilder and uncharted; who knew what strange beasts we would encounter….?

But that was just my fancy – the river isn’t much wider at Gravesend than at Barking; the conditions were flat calm (though the tide was running at speed); and the river is well charted.

SPCC had provided us with charts featuring the main landmarks/waypoints with the advice to “make a note of these points as you pass them and always know where you are so that if you get into trouble you can call help to the right place”. Hmmmm, wise advice indeed – a 360 degree lookout is essential, but the river is also full of interesting distractions – this is why it’s so nice to have a large crew. Richard also had an app on his phone which charted our position. What surprised us was the depth of the river towards Gravesend; even a historic narrowboat wouldn’t be challenged for draft – the river is around 11 metres deep at low tide!

As we travelled past Barking. the riverbank certainly becomes more industrial, but it also becomes less inhabited and the river is often flanked by dusky green marshes. The call went out “there’s a seal in the water” – but we didn’t see it, even with binoculars. We certainly didn’t any optical enhancement to spot the BIG ships as we approached Tilbury Docks later on!

Ha ha ha - now we've passed under all the navigable bridges on the Thames - at 60 metres, this one has the best headroom though :-)

Ha ha ha – now we’ve passed under all the navigable bridges on the Thames – at 60 metres, this one has the best headroom though πŸ™‚

I didn’t take any notes on the day so I’m finding it quite hard to write a narrative of the trip – there was just so much to see and there were an overwhelming number of new impressions to take in – everything seemed to be on such a large scale, even though the river isn’t much more than half a mile wide here! I do know that we arrived slightly ahead of schedule soon after 1pm. Although logic says that it’s only 20 odd miles, it seemed strange that what had felt so epic had taken less than 5 hours.

I may not have taken any notes, but we did take lots of photos – there’s an album of QEII bridge photos here….

The little notch in the riverbank is the entrance to Dartford Creek (whcih leads to Crayford Creek). We were due to cruise there when the tide turned later but sadly the wind came up so our powers of navigation weren't tested :-)

The little notch in the riverbank is the entrance to Dartford Creek (which leads to Crayford Creek). We were due to cruise there when the tide turned later but sadly the wind came up so our powers of navigation weren’t tested πŸ™‚

I also remember being amazed at how short the new Gravesend mooring pontoon was and how high it was (though we had been warned that it was 1.3m above the waterline – the top of the pontoon was level with the boat roof). We arrived just as the ferry left the pontoon – time for us to nip in quickly and offload the greyhounds. The hounds did not appreciate being lifted up to the pontoon but there was no time to be dainty – we HAD to be off the pontoon before the ferry headed back.

By prior arrangement, most of the convoy moored on the “shore side” of the pontoon; but we, along with nb Cherie, were scheduled to moor up to tug Major on a river buoy until the ferry stopped running at 7pm. However, for the sake of the hounds, we had permission from the marina manager to pop onto the pontoon for a “touch and go” to off/onload the hounds. This wasn’t the easiest manoeuvre with the wind picking up, wash from various craft (the local pilots boats were the worst), and the running tide. The ferry and local trip boat “Princess Pocahontas” were less than impressed by the influx of narrowboats, but this is being promoted as a visitor mooring so they’d better get used to welcoming visiting boats.

Note: If the latin in the title is wrong, blame Google Translate πŸ˜€

Bloggers Galore!

We were fortunate to have crew that are all talented bloggers – getting ready for the cruise took up a lot of my energy and I’m finding that my prose lacks its usual verve, however my fellow crew members were not so afflicted! For more entertaining posts and some fab photos visit the following:

From Neil & Kath of nb Herbie:

http://nbherbie.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/fear-and-trepidation-no-4.html

http://nbherbie.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/gravesend.html

http://nbherbie.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/fun-and-games-at-gravesend.html

http://nbherbie.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/why-you-need-lookout-on-tidal-thames.html

From Doug & James of nb Chance

http://narrowboatchance.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/the-full-monty.html

Photoblog:

Large ship? Nah....

Large ship? Nah….

Big barges? Hardly...

Big barges? Hardly…

I will concede that's a big chain though :-)

I will concede that’s a big chain though πŸ™‚

It was slightly incongruous to see this sailing club so close to the giant wharves hereabouts - look at the angle of those mooring buoys - the tide was running apace by now...

It was slightly incongruous to see this sailing club so close to the giant wharves hereabouts – look at the angle of those mooring buoys – the tide was running apace by now…

What a grand sight :-)

What a grand sight πŸ™‚

Giant ferry? Na...actually that Is quite large!

Giant ferry? Na…actually that IS quite large!

So this is where the Thames "oxygenating" barges live - we've met them in action further upriver on previous trips.

So this is where the Thames “oxygenating” barges live – we’ve met them in action further upriver on previous trips. Barking Reach power station mentions that if the cooling outfall warms the water to 21.5 degrees C then they use an alternative cooling method to avoid disrupting migrating salmon. I didn’t know that there were any salmon left here, but if they choose to visit they’ll be able to breathe πŸ™‚

This is Cory Environmental's "Riverside Resource Recovery" plant, producing energey from Londond's waste - rubbish is brought in by barge and ash is taken away by river too! http://www.coryenvironmental.co.uk/page/riversideresourcerecovery.htm

This is Cory Environmental’s “Riverside Resource Recovery” plant, producing energy from London’s waste – rubbish is brought in by barge and ash is taken away by river too! http://www.coryenvironmental.co.uk/page/riversideresourcerecovery.htm

Who would guess that this rather elegant building was part of the Crossness sewage treatment works - they're going to add a wind turbine later this year which will "generate up to half the energy needed to power the site when combined with the energy generated from processing sewage sludge" http://www.thameswater.co.uk/about-us/10097.htm

Who would guess that this rather elegant building was part of the Crossness sewage treatment works – they’re going to add a wind turbine later this year which will “generate up to half the energy needed to power the site when combined with the energy generated from processing sewage sludge” http://www.thameswater.co.uk/about-us/10097.htm

Near miss! I got close to this buoy as well - the consensus in the convoy is that all the mooring buoys are powerful magnets - how else could you explain why we were all so inextricably drawn to them :-D

Near miss! I got close to this buoy as well – the consensus in the convoy is that all the mooring buoys have powerful magnets – how else could you explain why we were all so inextricably drawn to them πŸ˜€

Some of the container ships are so large they look like part of the built environment of the wharf itself - until they suddenly peel away and head towards you on the river :-)

Some of the container ships are so large they look like part of the built environment of the wharf itself – until they suddenly peel away and head towards you on the river πŸ™‚

Close encounters.....

Close encounters…..

Ok, now THAT is a big ship!

Ok, now THAT is a big ship!

I loved these arches - I wonder how old they are?

I loved these arches – I wonder what they are and how old they are?

The convoy turning to stem the tide as we get the mooring order sorted...

The convoy turning to stem the tide as we get the mooring order sorted…

We were moored up but the rowers carried on - they've got a long way to go - http://www.gbrowchallenge.com/

We were moored up but the rowers carried on – they’ve got a long way to go – http://www.gbrowchallenge.com/

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