After the previous weekend’s aborted trip, we looked at the tide predictions and realised that there would be ‘spring’ tides the next weekend. These mean extra high and extra low tides so we should be able to get under the dreaded bridges with no problems. Low water was predicted to be around 5.15 pm which meant that we would leave Norwich around 1 pm and have a leisurely cruise down river and across Breydon Water, with the tide.
The day dawned bright, with no rain and after stocking up with provisions, we left the Norwich moorings, heading down river with the canoes around us.
The journey was lovely and uneventful; we spotted quite a few marsh harriers, avocets, oyster catchers and other wildlife on the journey and were reassured to see the water receding fast and the mud banks showing at the river edges.
As we came on to Breydon Water it was obvious that the tide was still running out fast and although we had been cruising very slowly, we were going to be a bit early. I worry about the bridge heights all the time as I know we have very little clearance!
Off to our left, we saw a hire cruiser who had obviously gone out of the marked channel and got stuck on the mud. I took a photo with the long lens and could see four disconsolate chaps sitting in the cabin, with a long line of beer cans and bottles on the table! They were in for a long wait!! We noticed that they didn’t have an anchor (mudweight) down and as high water would be around midnight, goodness knows where they’d float off too when they came off the mud!
As we gently cruised across Breydon, behind us there was a huge storm cloud gathering!
When we got to Breydon Bridge (the big one with no height problems) I called the Yacht Station and was told that there was 9ft 7ins height, with the tide still dropping, so I felt happier at this stage. When we actually got to the bridge, there was even more height and we went under with 18inches to spare! However, just as we came up to the first bridge, the squall arrived, with horizontal rain and blowing a gale. We were glad to get away from this scary part of the river where the tide runs very fast and hire boats have no idea what they are doing, being swept along by the outgoing tide!
We had thought about mooring at Stracey windmill but by the time we got there, the weather had cleared and we decided to make a run for home! A lovely sunset greeted us as we came up river and we eventually arrived back at our home moorings just before 9 pm – an 8 hour journey! It was a relief and we slept well that night.