Tsamaya Leaving Chatham Marina
Thanks to Martin who caught us as we left
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Chatham Marina as we took the time to explore many areas of the UK by car, got lots of projects done on the boat, enjoyed spending time with our friends Sandi and Colin that we had made while in London, meeting up with cruising friends that we had made over the years and making new friends that are based here in Chatham.
We decided though that after being here for over a month it was time to break free and head to the Netherlands to start our cruising season for 2014. The weather looked like it would cooperate however we would have liked a little more wind. We could see that the winds were going to build out of the east soon and that would not make for a pleasant trip so decided that with having a good engine and plenty of diesel we could make the trip (and hopefully be able to sail some as well).
The night before we left we said good bye to the friends that we have enjoyed while in Chatham and early the next morning (4 AM) we slipped the lines and headed out the lock
The River Medway
early in the morning as we left Chatham heading out to sea
and into the River Medway. Fortunately for us our friend Martin got up, waved good bye and took a photo as we were departing. The full moon had been only a few days earlier so we were fortunate to have plenty of light for the peaceful journey down the river toward the sea. At first there wasn’t a breathe of wind so we depended on the motor to get us on our way up the coast of the UK. Fortunately during the 36 hour crossing we did get some wind off and on so the sails were used as well.
It was quite an uneventful trip (which is a good thing) but did make a few notes on the way of things to mention. There were times when we saw absolutely no one else on the water while other times we could see ships all lined up in a row traveling in their shipping lanes. We saw boats of all sizes from small fishing boats to large freighters and cruise liners. We were called on the radio by survey ships that were dragging mile long cables and warning us of that fact and the Dutch coast guard asking every
The Medway River
passes homes and mooring fields providing us a beautiful early morning view
boat listening to call in to check that their radio was working properly. We saw cruise ships that were lit up at night looking like the cities that they really are to large tankers that only had their legally necessary few navigational lights on. We saw large production platforms that were lit up so much that we could see them miles ahead to much smaller ones that “popped” out of the haze during the daylight (but fortunately were on our charts).
We each took a nap during the day (especially since we didn’t get much sleep the night before) and did 4 hour shifts through the night. We warmed up during the day some with the sunlight, but bundled up in gloves, smart wools under our foul weather gear , double layers of socks and winter hats through the night.
We stayed busy keeping track of the ship traffic at times while other times we felt like we were the only ones out there. Bob had a chance to see a harbor seal pop up to take a look to see who was going by and we went through what seemed like a field of jellyfish.
The Industrial Part of the Medway
is even nice to view at this time in the morning
listened to podcast that we had downloaded from NPR, did some reading and made meals. Bob found a few small projects to work on that he wanted to get done and we continued to research places we want to sail to.
We found a very nice place to stay in Den Helder – a well-protected marina that is close to town and that was easy to get to. It will be a good jumping off point for our travels up the coast of Holland as we move toward the Kiel Canal.
All in all, it was a great crossing and we are excited about the 2014 season that has begun. We know we owe you (and our journal) quite a few updates of things that we have done while in the UK so will continue to work on those, but did want to take the time while it was fresh in our minds to let you know about our crossing to the Netherlands.
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