Two Thames Trips
Report by Martin Longhurst
On 27 and 28 June 2016, Jenny and I joined the Balmoral, commanded by Captain David Howie, for two trips from Gravesend Town Pier.
The first trip took us to Southend, Chatham and round the Isle of Sheppey.
On the first leg of the sailing we passed Thames Gateway container port.
We passed the Medway Queen at her berth at Gillingham Pier.
The Isle of Sheppey is joined to the mainland by two bridges at Kingsferry, towards the end of our circumnavigation.
The small bridge carries the railway and local traffic and is lifted to allow water traffic to pass.
The high level road bridge is a relatively recent addition.
The Tuesday trip took us round virtually the whole of Kent, passing Dover about three o’clock.
The harbour, ferries and white cliffs were seen to advantage.
Our destination was the small port of Rye on the River Rother. It is scarcely big enough to take the Balmoral and there is a very short tidal window.
The first stage was for the Rye Pilot to come aboard.
Entering the mouth of the River
Looking astern shows the narrowness of the channel
Our destination was Rye Wharf about one and a half miles from the town of Rye (one of the Cinque Ports) which can be seen on the hill in the background
The ship was turned before berthing at the Wharf – here she is at right angles
Disembarkation in progress
As soon as all work was completed at the berth, Balmoral departed for the Solent before the tide fell again.