Friday, May 1st
After checking winds, tide, and weather we decided to leave this morning for the start of our summer cruise. Although, calling this summer is a bit of a misnomer considering it’s technically spring and yesterday we were wearing down vests and hats.
As Max unplugged our shore power I quickly hied it to town to grab some bananas along with some other provisioning top-offs (more lettuce, etc.) while we were waiting for the free-flow at the lock (two hours before high tide the lock is kept open; this means we don’t have to deal with the lock doors opening, boats entering & tying up to pontoon, doors closing, flooding of lock, doors opening, boats untying and exiting).
We announced wanting to leave, and the kind lock-keeper came back with a hearty good morning and said to wait for two yachts coming in (red light on the lock) and then leave on the green.
As we were going past s/v BELIEVE (Rick & Julie were making their own preparations for departure. Unfortunately, they’re taking a right turn out the Orwell to head towards Dover while we’re turning left.
We got waved by Julie…
and then Peter.
No surprise to see Peter. He’s always ready to give you a hand, and, sure enough, he was helping BELIEVE off the dock. He and Anne made Ipswich much more of a home for us. Consequently, we’ll miss them and our get-togethers, both impromptu and scheduled.
Looking aft we said good-bye to Ipswich Haven Marina
as we headed towards the lock.
We breezed through it and waved good-bye to the keeper whose voice we got to know well after hearing him announce entering and exiting boats over the past eight months. Then waved to two orange-suited workers, and whoosh, we were on our way down the Orwell.
Taking turns at the helm as Max checked the engine for any oil or transmission fluid leaks, we quietly motored past the alternating green and red channel markers dotting the river’s surface. (I had to remind myself before we left that in Europe the red and green buoys have opposite meanings from in the U.S.: it’s not ‘red right return’ meaning red buoys should be on your right as you enter a port, on your left as you exit. Why, I don’t know except probably the same reasoning for why they drive on the left, we on the right. I think it’s something to do with Romans and horses’ butts…)
The day was bright with puffy clouds and a stringent breeze. We both gasped when we spotted the intense limey-yellow of blooming rape seed fields as we followed the green-red buoys down the river. The scenery was a perfect harkening of spring and a reminder of our trip to Harwich last Sunday with Anne and Peter.
About six miles down and close to the mouth of the Stour (where we were last Sunday) we picked up a mooring and are now settling in to wait for good winds to leave the Orwell (Sunday? Monday?) and turn left for our hop-scotching along the UK coast.
BELIEVE anchored just north of us and are prepping for their 3 a.m. departure tomorrow to catch the best currents to Dover.
We’ll be toasting them later that morning in our v-berth as we sip brewed java from our pals at CoffeeLink, Glenn and Juan (Pictured below).
A bit later we exchanged waves with Jo and Terry, some boating neighbors on our recent pontoon, who passed on their way to a sailing destination.
As we scanned the banks we recognized landmarks from last September, such as the stand of trees on the north river bank.
I remember snapping pics of them when we first moored on Orwell heading to our winter port September 18th last year.
Being free from dependence of land feels heavenly as we’re gently rocked by the wind and current with bold sunshine highlighting the shores and water. Now, brewing some green ginger tea, diesel heater is lit, and I’m getting ready to join Max in reading.
Life is brilliant!