The day started with a minor mystery; overnight the extra deck elastic I use to hold my maps in place went walkabout, not to be seen again. The last few days the radio has been waffling on about 'locked room mysteries' - well, I'd like to hear your answer to this one Jeffrey Deaver!
Next up was the miserable man in the post office/shop who wouldn't let me post my maps until 9:00, it was 8:40, the shop had been open since 7:00 and his (dowdy) wife was behind the P.O. counter. I'm sure the Post Office stream them into very helpful and very unhelpful positions when they first join up.
Anyway, conditions were very nice, the weather gods were obviously having a lie in. Didn't even need a cag!
On the chart this one looked a little daunting - a sandbank slalom (as Mission Control summed it up) with Thames VTS and cross tides thrown into the bargain. But actually, with the weather so good, it was a cracking opportunity to do a little open water nav practice, working from buoy to buoy. It was nice to get back to using a chart for a change too - whoo lots of nice new colours..
Out through the Gunfleet windfarm and over to the Barrow No4 buoy for a feed. As I approached the buoy I could see something large and fast (judging by the wave) in the distance and coming my way - no worries there was plenty of room. I'd just tucked into my ham and cheese sarnies (courtesy of the hotel, damned good ham) when I suddenly heard him and it didn't sound right. Foolishly I had taken my eye off the ball (or boat); I looked over my shoulder - shit this was going to be close - with my deck off and parallel to his wash too.
Next thing there was grated cheese and tin foil everywhere as I snapped my deck on and hurriedly turned 90 degrees to meet the wash. It was a large motor cruiser (Sunseeker sort of thing) going max (what do they do - 25-30kts?) and it went past no more than 4 boat lengths from me, my boat lengths that is. Tosser! (Actually absolute wanker, but I toned it down as my Mum reads this apparently) Continental tosser even, looking at the flag -
'Ah Pierre let us see how close we can get to the silly english man in his diddy boat, oui?'
'Oui, let us see if we can scare la(le?) merde out of 'im '.
The dude driving, the one stood on a box, looked remarkably like Sarkozy - 'spose he's got time on his hands at the mo. It's enough to make you write to Herman Van Rumpy-pumpy.
Anyway as you can imagine I did my bit to further Euro-British relations when he belatedly eased off the gas.
The next few hours were less eventful as I sneaked the sandbanks and chased the buoys. I finally arrived at the Tongue Sands tower, as you can see I took a damned good photo of my finger there. Somebody (with a lot of explosives to hand I guess) had obviously taken a dislike to the tower at some time in the past.
A bit of a ferry glide now as I headed for Margate. It took ages to arrive, from a distance it looked faintly Mediterranean in the sunshine, close up things looked a little different.
My first impressions were not too auspicious as I watched shirtless youths finish their fishing afternoon by returning their catch to the water, in a competition to see how far they could hurl the poor creatures. To be fair though one guy had talent, if he put his mind too it he could go far - bit like the fish really.
Anyway a nice gentle and dry landing and then off in search of the YHA. Poor Mary C, no penthouse tonight, she's out on the street - I'm not happy about it either but c'est la vie - as the tossers on the boat would say.
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