The first leg of the rally took Rioja and My Haven to Sharfleet Creek. I should point out that I have been reprimanded for abbreviating the name to Sht. Creek in the boat’s log book. Having found a suitable anchorage, we took the dinghy to Rioja where we had two Norwegians for dinner. After dinner we tried fishing but, not having any suitable bait, chorizo was put on the hook. We managed to catch seaweed with it, so I supposed we had limited success. Our anchorage had been less successful and a shallow water alarm had us moving the boat to deeper water after dinner.
Pulling up the anchor in the morning gave us a muddy start to the day. The northwesterlies allowed us to sail quite a bit of the way to St Kats on the flood, until we meandered all over the Eastenders opening credits. Originally Mark had only managed to book us one night in St Kats and the plan had been to move to South Dock on Monday. Lynda, however, used her feminine charm to persuade them to allow us to stay the whole week. We had to leave Friday as the Clipper Round the World race was to dock into St Kats on Saturday and they needed a better class of yotties in the marina. A hectic social schedule filled the week before we set off for our return, which we decided would be done over 3 days.
Upon a suggestion from Vic, we made the first leg to Holehaven creek on Canvey island. Vic had suggested tying up to the disused jetty but a quick examination of that scared the bejasuz out of us. There appear to be suitable anchorages in the creek but Mark contacted the local Coastwatch who directed him to a free mooring we could use. We rafted together and had a highly recommendable meal in the Lobster Smack pub. The following morning, Eamonn joined us for the next leg. I collected him and his bicycle in my dinghy and we set off for Harty Ferry. We had already crossed the Thames when Eamonn realised he had left his bag at the jetty. I had told Rioja that there were two tugs waiting outside the creek and, he had misinterpreted things because of my Irish accent. Worried they would mug him, he had not yet left so he searched the area with no success. Fortunately, it had been found by an honest person and he managed to contact us later on to arrange the return of the bag. Having time on our hands, we took the scenic route around the back via Queenborough and through Sheppey’s lifting bridge. Both boats are shallow draft and just about managed to scrape through the river with clenched cheeks at low water.
For the Harty Ferry Rally we were joined by Parana and Jackalope and this will be written up in a separate post.