Sunday, 6 October 2013

An Old Haunt, revisited

A busy day at work on Saturday, not at all what I was expecting. Saturday is normally a quiet day but not this one.
I was duty man from 0700, and so had to organise the work schedule, and it soon became apparent that we were all going to be busy on the days high tide.
After a bit of phoning around, and a few late orders, (which usually happen just after you've got it all sorted, requiring a rethink and more phone calls) we had a plan, or at least plan A and set to work.
My first job was a small rapeseed oil tanker to Erith,

about an hours run up river, and 30 minutes back in a taxi.

Next job a forest products carrier into Tilbury Dock, a little bit larger, but a regular runner,

It always seems from the angle of these pictures that the ship will not fit into the lock, well the ship is 171m long and 25m wide, the lock is 303m long and 33m wide so that's not a problem. But look at the photo's and you'll see what I mean.

and in the end, as I said, it does fit.

Whilst on that one, I saw my next job, the beautiful Paddle Steamer Waverley, on its annual visit to the Thames.

For the last four years, the Master has been exempt from pilotage on the river, as he was examined for his own qualification. This year, there is a new Captain, and I got the chance to revisit a place on the River that I don't get to as much as I would like.

Dartford Bridge
We went through the Thames Barrier at 12 knots,  that's about 14MPH, but as the ship is only 17m wide it's no problem

and carried on up river, past Greenwich and the Cutty Sark, past Canary Wharf and eventually round Wapping Ness, to one of my favourite sights,

a quick call on the radio, and the bridge lifted, not all the way, but it makes steering a bit more interesting.

We waited off the Shard for a while, as they bridge shut to allow traffic to flow, before opening again.

we then swung close to London Bridge to go back out. We used a tug to help us on this bit as the river is a little narrow here.

All the way back to Gravesend, past the Cutty Sark again,

at which time a much appreciated meal of Steak and trimmings appeared, (followed by Peach Cheesecake, even more appreciated), finally a beautiful sunset off Grenhithe..

All in all a good days work.

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