Sunday 26th June, the day finally arrived when all of the plans came together. Weather not 100% suitable however we needed to start this journey! At 10.30 supported by Darren and Oli we left the berth for the last time (only the second time we had actually left it!). John the lock keeper of the day did try to confuse us with asking us to go ‘starboard to’ in lock while gesticulating with his left hand. Darren disembarked once we were in the lock and we left at 10.55.
With the wind direction and strength we knew we would be motoring and this would be a good test of the adequacy of the repair/redesign/rebuild. Passage down the Humber and into The Wash was pleasant, spotted our first seals – they still look like dogs with their soppy eyes. Halfway across The Wash with wind over tide, it lived up to its reputation, why isn’t it called The Washing Machine? Coming up to Sheringham Shoal (10 and a half hours in) my afflictions returned and I was reacquainted with my old pal, the collapsible bucket, and made a new friend that I gripped really tightly (one of the winches on the coach roof). After nearly dropping my bucket a couple of times (due to my eyes’ inability to stay open), Steve convinced me to go below – to sort myself out and then try to get some sleep. This I did and even somehow managed to tie my bucket at the end of the bed so it was accessible but also unlikely to fall over!
The next thing I was aware of (obviously apart from the motion of the boat which I was aware of even whilst sleeping) was Steve gently waking me to tell me we were half an hour (an actual, genuine half an hour) from Lowestoft. He was in good spirits although a bit wet and windswept having had three or four rain showers through the night and unable to get his oily legs on as our autopilot is not set up yet! (Sorry darling I don’t aim to get seasick).
Coming into Lowestoft I took the helm whilst Steve dealt with fenders and readied the lines. Plan was to go into the trawler dock and sit on the waiting pontoon until we could speak to Lowestoft Haven Marina about a berth. We made it into the dock and I managed to pick up a cleat at my first attempt (maybe my brain is getting better at recovering). Steve decided to grab a few minutes’ kip and probably managed two lots of twenty minutes, but he said he felt fine. Unfortunately when he spoke to the marina they didn’t have space for us in the main marina and could only offer a finger pontoon in the Hamilton Dock, which we couldn’t check out to see if it was suitable. They suggested we try the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club but unfortunately there was no reply. Steve’s contingency plan was to continue to Shotley Marina so he phoned them to see if they had a berth available and thankfully they did! Only thing was we had to get there – another 35nM! Steve checked tides and the best time to leave, to take advantage of favourable tides, was 11am.
We arrived in Shotley at 18.30. I focussed on the floating fenders with cleats on and looked back at Steve to see him securing the back end to an easily accessible bollard on the lock side – I decided I would do the same but, according to the lock keeper I would never make a cowboy, as it took a good half a dozen attempts to catch it! We were allocated a berth that was directly in front of the lock with just a small amount of manoeuvring. This time I caught the cleat and tied off first time – what a star I am!!!! It’s good when it works right especially with an audience! Then it was wine time!!
Looks like we are here until at least Saturday as life is too short to battle the elements, so take a look at Shotley Marina you might see us on their webcam!