Having towed away from Pin Mill blocks on Friday behind Gus Curtis’ workboat Blue Mermaid lay again at the Clamp House anchorage to let the bad weather go through. It blew a gale for a short while overnight with heavy rain. Mirosa lay above us, away on their hols. On Friday a smartly-dressed gentleman with matching luggage waited patiently at the end of King’s growing (and so welcome) pontoon as the tide left. With just enough water Mirosa’s bargeboat and trusty Seagull outboard approached. As she grounded ten yards short of the passenger he was spared the walk round to the Grindle by Peter Dodds ready for anything in chestwaders vaulting into the morass to execute a speedy and successful departure. Such customer care is rare and caused some merriment in our young crew who had been forced to walk half a mile to the muddy beach at low water the previous day when they were several chocolate bars at Hollingsworth’s late on tide at the bottom of the hard. (more…)
This is rare opportunity to obtain professional tuition aboard a Thames sailing barge and improve your heritage sailing skills. Bursaries available on application.
Post via Twitter from James Bullar MBE, Head of Nautical Studies at London Nautical School currently aboard Blue Mermaid:
Thank you Chris Livett for financially supporting this Thames Barge trip. Students are working hard on their passage planning for the night navigation exercise. This is a superb way for 16-18 year olds to experience working the tides, including at night. See all James’s Tweets here.
They also learnt about eating oysters whilst visiting West Mersea. Photos
The dive on the original Blue Mermaid was planned for Saturday 13th July and was undertaken by a team from GP Divers with support from the Maritime Volunteer Service. The dive was brought forward one day due to expected easterlies and the team joined at Brightlingsea early on Friday the 12th instead.
During a quick fetch with a northwesterly 3 to 4 to the Spitway coordinates from the most recent surveys of the wreck were entered in the GPS in preparation. The last hour of the ebb and the wind direction made an approach fairly straightforward and after a tack to drop the topsail the right side a marker buoy was dropped on the expected position and the barge then anchored nearby and to weather.
The divers descended but the ebb was still running and the depth was greater at 9m than expected. Also the visibility was a few inches even on neap tides and the first dive was stopped to be attempted again at slack water. Then an achor was laid in the surmised direction of the site and the divers moved to it and then searched again. However, the poor visibility and increasing tide meant it was not possible to positively identify the wreck. Diver Nathan said he could have been right on it and not have known.
The team returned aboard and held a ceremony of remembrance for the crew of the Blue Mermaid, placing a wreath upon the waters. The new Blue Mermaid then returned to Brightlingsea.
The view of the team was that to ensure success it would be necessary to employ sophisticated sonar imaging and a larger dive boat and this will be considered for a future attempt. More photos.