Autumn cruise post 1.
A muddy walk in Rainbow creek.
Note to readers : this is the first post in my new series of ’shorts’ , not about a different subject rather just in a slightly different format ; my own description being ‘short and sweet’ and based on the idea of what we are doing and where we are. This series will me mostly about the simple things that happen during an autumn cruise in the uk, rather than long-form essays. This has come about after a lot more thinking about the value of a written blog in today’s low attention span ‘youtube’ world and following a couple of conversations with my NZ friends , one contributor/commentator to this blog and another sailing blogger.
So…..A muddy walk in Rainbow Creek.
WABI’’’ real time. It’s early morning in late September, still very grey and overcast with continuous light rain. WABI’’’ is dancing around a bit, pitching and bouncing in a wind against tide as the big near-spring tide starts to run out of Ruan creek. Yes…we’re still at anchor in Ruan creek but much further up creek that my usual spot and in the best shelter that i can find. Good shelter….but not perfect and not complete as the wind is whipping around the small headland to my south now that there’s more south in the wind than forecast.
Last night was a wild one even in a sheltered creek : just around dark and a couple of hours into the ebb it really started to blow hard here ; not steadily but in short, sharp gusts. The forecast suggested wind up to 45mph and i think we had gusts up to that even though most of the wind was being deflected over the boat by the trees and just hitting the 2 bare masts. It was also uncomfortably wind against tide just as it is now ; in between gusts i could feel the strong swirl of tide under WABI’s bow as she tried to swing back into the tide….then a few seconds later a hammer-blow gust would hit the rigs, she would heel over with some force and the stern would blow down against the tide.
This is a new aspect of the boat that i haven’t experienced before : my problems with WABI’’’ at anchor in wind against tide, or just lots of wind, having always been bow related Usually what happens is that the wind drives the bow offwind because of windage forward although iv’e reduced that tendency a lot with the sprits. I think last night’s problem might have been a peculiarity of wind direction and strength and hitting the stowed mizzen on it’s sprit at the back of the boat before anything else.
Ruan Creek…..on a nice day.
Later on today, at low water, i’m going to take another walk along the creek bed just as i did yesterday except that this time i’m going to walk the anchor into new position in the bed of the creek when WABI’’’ is well aground ; i’m even tempted to do a ‘Bahamian’ moor with 2 anchors because we’re almost at springs and i don’t want to end up neaped on the mud here.
So….yesterday i went for a muddy walk in the creek bed once the boat had settled on the bottom. Just before we settled i could tell that the bottom texture was a little bit ‘gritty’….that from the sound and feel of the bilge runners scraping and sliding across the bottom as she swung across the tide for the last time. Once she was down i poked around the boat from the cockpit with my boat hook and found that the bottom was like firm, wet and slightly gritty un-set concrete….great for walking on but it would be an awful one to go aground on in a fin keeled yacht if it got at all bouncy. For my first foray i used my mud-wellies and just walked up and down the short ridge of mud that we’d settled on, then late,r as the tide dropped even further i changed into an old pair of trainers and using my boat hook as a prod and walking staff walked up the creek itself and then up the squishy mud-bank on one side of the creek and so ashore.
It was a lot of fun, almost child-like, to go splashing and squelching up the muddy creek : although i could reasonably explain that it allowed me the opportunity to explore and sketch the meandering channel further upstream than iv’e been able to navigate so far it was mainly just the chance to get off the boat, stretch my legs and go for an unusual walk where, i guess, very few people ever have.