All at sea again!

What an amazing day we had yesterday! We managed (with the massive help of a pilot) to bring Ewn Ha Cul down the Bristol Channel from Sharpness and into Portishead Marina and then, on our own, into the Avon and up to Bristol Harbour. We were rewarded with this view last night as we made our way back to the boat having had a couple of celebratory drinks.

20140513_215634

It was a fairly civilised start yesterday as we didn’t have to be at the lock until 7am having booked this with Sharpness dock staff a couple of days previously. There are a couple of bridges to negotiate before you get to the lock. A narrowboat will fit comfortably under the first one but we were being joined by the Sea Cadet Training Ship Jack Petchey who was big enough to require this bridge to be opened.

Swing Bridge at Sharpness.

First swing bridge into Sharpness Dock

The crew of this bulk carrier were looking very bemused as we passed. I’m not sure they believed that anyone would be daft enough to take a narrowboat out onto the Bristol Channel!

ShipSharpnessDock

Our first view of the dock

The pilot joined us in the lock and he and Gordon got themselves aquainted.

GordonMeetsPilotRick

The Jack Petchey left the lock first with its crew of ‘baby’ sailors…

TS Jack Petchey leaving Sharpness Lock

TS Jack Petchey leaving Sharpness Lock

…but was soon far ahead of us. There would have been no chance of us using her as a navigation aid she was off like a rocket!

JackPetcheySteamsAway

The weather was incredibly calm and, for the most part dry if a touch chilly. Not a lot for me to do other than sit in the front and take snaps and make the odd cuppa.

Sharpness is soon far behind us.

Sharpness is soon far behind us.

Under the pilot's instructions Gord aims the boat for the two Severn Bridges

Under the pilot’s instructions Gord aims the boat for the two Severn Bridges

The parrot enjoying a bit of a change of scenery

The parrot enjoying a bit of a change of scenery

From this angle the New Severn Bridge looks alarmingly fragile!

From this angle the New Severn Bridge looks alarmingly fragile!

First bridge successfully negotiated. The tide eddies weren't too challenging under this one.

First bridge successfully negotiated. The tide eddies weren’t too challenging under this one

The old Severn Bridge seems much more solid

The old Severn Bridge seems much more solid

Old bridge with much stronger tide eddies. Gordon found this section quite challenging with the tide determined to take him one way while we wanted to go another.

The old Severn Crossing bridge has much stronger tide eddies. Gordon had to keep his wits about him and listen to the pilot’s advice

Gordon successfully navigates Ewn Ha Cul through the tide eddies under the old bridge

Made it through the tide eddies which took the boat crab-wise through the bridge

Had to take a selfie just to prove I was actually there!

Had to take a selfie just to prove I was actually there!

Passing by the docks at Avonmouth

Passing by the docks at Avonmouth

Approaching Portishead Marina Lock

Approaching Portishead Marina Lock

TowardsLock

The pilot’s knowledge of the local tides was absolutely essential when navigating into the lock.

 

The lock has a pontoon to moor to which makes life incredibly easy…..

Portishead Marina Lock has a pontoon to moor to which makes life incredibly easy.

 

…which is as well because the flow is incredibly strong. The boat was securely tied up and Gordon was able to go off and sort out our mooring while the lock filled.

The pontoon mooring in Portishead Lock means that even though the flow is incredibly strong you don't get bounced around the lock

At Portishead we said goodbye to the pilot and had to moor up in the marina for a few hours to await the high tide to take us into Bristol.

One of these boats is not like the others, One of these boats just doesn't belong, Can you tell which boat is not like the others By the time I finish my song?

“One of these boats is not like the others,
One of these boats just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which boat is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?”
(stolen from Sesame Street)

If you’re planning to make this trip you’ll need to contact Gloucester Pilots – all the details of their services are on their website.

I reckon that’s probably enough for now. I’ll leave the details of our trip out of Portishead and up the River Avon for the next post.

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses to All at sea again!

  1. Carol says:

    What a fantastic journey – so calm too – the water and yourselves!

  2. Pingback: Sharpness to Bristol and back

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