Thursday, 20 June 2013

Out to sea, kinda

Yes, still here.

About a month ago I made my first visit to the boat for 2013, apart from a short check-up visit in February. Back in Feb there was a lot of rain water in the boat and stuff was floating in the water inside the boat. Pretty dire situation. The house battery was dead so the bilge pump/float switch combo was obviously non-operational. On the positive side, the engine battery was fine and the engine started first time. This time I did not expect anything different. The boatyard told me that they had to break into the boat to pump out the water as the boat was sitting a bit low on the water.

Perfect weather
Following the unusually harsh British winter the weather was great on that day and there was a bit of wind, about force 3 I reckon. I was determined to head a bit further this time and taking advantage of the favourable tide, I slowly ventured east, to the mouth of River Crouch and beyond. The wind was easterly so we were motoring. When we went past the Crouch buoy, marking the entrance of the river, we opened sail and motorsailed. As we approached Ray Sand and then Buxey sand we were surprised to spot tens of seals lounging on the sand and enjoying the beautiful sunshine. I'd read about seals being found around there but did not expect to see so many of them.

My depth sounder was giving spurious readings so I had no idea that we were approaching shallow waters since my Navionics chart was indicating at least 2m of water below us. And so we were grounded somewhere round the Raysand buoy - unfortunately I was too busy trying to set the boat free to make a mark on the chart so that I know next time. But, fortunately, it was on a rising tide and with the help of the engine we managed to free ourselves in less than 10 minutes. I really need to look into my sounder issues; I believe it was some kind of interference as the engine was running at the time.

Seals lounging on Buxey Sand
We ventured a bit further to the Sunken Buxey but with the tide having turned, the wind picking up, the sun setting and the depth sounder lying we decided that it was prudent to sail west and into the mouth of the Crouch and our mooring at Burnham. On the way back we spotted what looked like a spaceship at a distance, to the SE and kept wondering what it was. To this day, I have yet to find out so I'll just call it an Unidentified Sailing Object - Strange stuff.

Unidentified sailing object

It was a pleasant and uneventful sail despite the soft grounding but next time I'd rather a bit more wind. When we got to the mooring I had a look at the float switch of the bilge pump and found that it was not switching off when it should and was draining the battery. Need to get a new one or find an alternative solution. 

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