trip logs

Drifting up the Deben River

Wed 23rd April 2014

After passing a peaceful night at Felixstowe Ferry, we received a visit from the harbour master, who asked us if it was our first time here and, learning it was, told us there was no charge for the mooring.

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The plan was to sail the whole navigable length of the Deben to Woodbridge. This is not a great distance, but we needed plenty of tide to be able to get into the marina. After we had breakfast the tide was still falling and the wind very light, so we decided to delay leaving. Our tender does not get much use, but we pressed it into service and rowed ashore. It was a glorious day and we had a lovely walk first along the bank of the salt marsh and then along the sea wall, watching the comings and goings. The mud moorings at Felixstowe Ferry seem to attract some “alternative” (=eccentric) people, but there was plenty of interest to see.

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With us safely back aboard Aurora and the tide finally starting to flood, we set off upstream. After an initial scrape on a sand bank, we found the deep(ish) water and drifted along on Yankee only, with the wind nearly dead behind us. It was so peaceful, with just the noise of the birds and the lapping water in the warm sunshine. The lovely Suffolk scenery slipped past us and we drifted through the marshes and past Ramsholt. Reaching a sheltered tree-lined stretch called “The Stones” we dropped anchor for a leisurely lunch. I took the opportunity to row ashore for a leg-stretch, before we moved on. There was much wildlife- nesting Herons, butterflies, waders, mussel beds.

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The afternoon continued through even lovelier scenery, the channel winding left and right, the wind behind us. As we passed Waldringfield we saw fellow Cape a Cutter 19 number 61, “Capers”. Then came Methergate and Martlesham Creek, entering the final stretch to Woodbridge, only accessible near high water. I had calculated that I would be able to get into Tide Mill Marina at 1630, but the tide gauge said otherwise and we picked up a mooring to wait another half an hour before crossing the cill into this very picturesque marina, which takes its name from a very famous flour mill on the waterside nearby which used the tidal flow to power its stones.

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After some victualling and a precautionary fuel top-off, it was off to the “Duke of York” for proper steak and kidney pudding with the family, to hear what the land-lubbers had been up to. A relatively short distance today, but a really golden day. 8nm, average speed 2.5kts, but no main sail and virtually no engine either.

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