Friday 18th April 2014
Having trained my father in law as a new crew for Aurora, and having no children wanting a “camp-over”, I decided to break out of the Orwell and head for the Deben, said to be one of Suffolk’s prettiest rivers. The tides were not good for an extended foray upriver, but it thought I could scout out the entrance and maybe go ashore near the mouth, at Felixstowe Ferry.
It being a rather last minute decision, timings were tight and after a swift victualling trip to Morrisons, we hurriedly departed Levington. I thought the wind would be very favourable for a trip North up the coast and we sailed near enough dead downwind to leave the Orwell estuary (after an unscheduled man overboard drill to recover Jeff’s hat).
However, what ensued was not much fun at all. The sea had an ugly short chop and it turned out to be a beat to reach Woodbridge Haven, the entrance to the Deben. After a frustrating time increasing and then reducing sail, I gave Henry Honda a shout and we motored the last mile to the estuary.
Having checked the pilotage for the Deben estuary, I was surprised by how narrow it was. I was also rather concerned by the single banks showing (with breakers spraying over the top) at the top of HW springs. The channel has clearly changed in the winter storms and I could only hope that the bouyage had been moved accordingly.
Conditions had got progressively more lively and the estuary looked more ominous than inviting, as we chugged into a stiff breeze through the many (mostly empty just now) moorings. After a brief sojourn upstream, we turned back and picked up a vacant mooring.
It was far too windy to contemplate rowing ashore, so dinner was prepared in the thermal cooker and I tried out the mark 1B camera sling for some more kite selfies of the boat. Gloomy light, so no especially pleasing images yet, but my technique is improving.
A quiet night, ready for a very early start to catch the tide and get back to Levington before the advancing low pressure system spoils the current run of lovely weather completely.
14.7nm, avg speed 3.7kts.