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Archive for August, 2012

Why are the boys not making much progress I can hear some if you ask. Ok, so the low pressure system sitting over the Irish Sea is spinning anti clockwise (as they do) and sending a strong southerly wind straight at us. It is meant to be moving eastwards but only slowly. This is making an attempt to cross the estuary over to Margate challenging if not a little foolhardy.

So this morning, after a pleasant enough night by the side of a beach hut, we popped down to the Thames MRCC (Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre) for some advice. There we met Amy, Piers and Matt. What a really helpful and friendly team. We soon forgot what we came in for and were getting a guided tour of their control room and the systems they use. Geoff “I used to be a firefighter” Cater was straight in there asking all the knowledgeable questions while I enjoyed a welcome cuppa.

Piers, who is also a local sailor, helped us plot an alternative route through some of the sand banks, avoiding Shoebury Ness military range, and one that should help us exploit the tides as well.

It will take us a couple of days to get to Margate but at least we’ll be moving again and we’ll see some parts of the estuary not many see, including the resting place of Charles Darwin’s ship HMS Beagle and some old smugglers haunts. The stuff of Charles Dickens.

Will let you know how we get on!

In the meantime, still more eating to be done to keep up spirits and energy levels 🙂

Thanks to the Thames MRCC for all their help!!

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On tonight’s menu….

For starters, Staffordshire Chicken and Sage Soup. Mains Staffordshire Chicken Casserole. Followed by Rice Pudding!! Yummy!

Oh and a random beard shot. I think a hedgehog has attached itself to my face!

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The only way is Essex

The last couple of nights have been firsts for us on this expedition in terms of sleeping locations. The night before last we paddled till 9.30 pm under the light of the full moon until we reached the shingle beach of Orford Ness. Nowhere to pitch a tent so we got the bivi bags out and climbed into our sleeping bags. After a couple of slugs of the Lagavulin we slept surprisingly well!

Up early the next morning we pushed on to Felixtowe. The strong headwinds that have dogged us for a week now prevented us from getting across the shipping lanes that lead to the container port and so we spent the afternoon being amazed by the size of some of the ships coming in and just how fast they seem to travel.

That night we managed to hide the kayaks and ourselves behind a hedge near the pier. No one seemed to be able to see us but we could hear the amusement arcade till late and a few holiday revellers in the early hours. Not the best night’s sleep but then we have gotten used to snatching a nap whenever possible during the day to make up for it.

We got away this morning, dodged a couple of massive container ships heading back to China (we assumed) and made it as far as Walton on the Naze in Essex. Wind is still blowing F5 gusting F6 southerly. It seems this summer’s weather is not prepared to let us finish this expedition just yet.

Our next stop is Margate in Kent. Around a 30 mile crossing from here. Ideally we’d like a northerly to help but a light easterly or westerly would do. Unfortunately it looks like the low pressure sitting over southern Britain is moving east only slowly so we have a call to make over the next 24 hours – head out into a headwind for a 10 hour slog or wait till it dies down or changes direction or both. Right now though it’s time for another cuppa and a toasted tea cake.

Once this crossing is out of the way, it is only 20 more miles to Dover and we’ll then be on the home straight. A long one admittedly.

The wildlife sightings now are still frequent but just different. Less seals and birdlife but plenty of human behaviour to observe along the beaches and amusement arcades.

It has been great catching up on the stories about the GB medal rush at the Olympics. We are trying to stay in touch with all the excitement so our time off the water is usually filled with reading newspapers, eating, surfing the BBC Olympic web site and eating again. Did I mention that we eat a lot? In fact I think we have both put on weight since we started. Is that possible?

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