The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2022.04.14 - Easter Visit

This visit to Naiad is a little different. Tomorrow is Good Friday and the forecast for the day, indeed the Easter Weekend, is very good. As a result the parking at the Public Hard is going to be in high demand and I'll need to arrive early to be sure of getting a space. Unfortunately, low water is at 06:20 and that in turn means that I'll not be able to get Sprite in the water between 04:40 and 08:00, so I either arrive before 04:40 or after 08:00. After 8am and parking will be an issue. Before 04:40 and it will be dark and that'll be an issue.

So, I decided to travel down this evening (Thursday) arriving before dark but after low water and spend the night on the boat. This meant a lot of packing since I have not yet taken bedding, towels, spare clothes and the like to Naiad so that all had to be listed, found and packed.

The list is essential so that I don't forget anything.

I set off at 4pm and drove at 50/60 mph down to West Mersea. There was a couple of delays on the way totalling about 30 minutes, but nothing that was irritating. I arrived at around 18:15 and found spaces to park without issue. Then it was unload the dinghy, pack it full of gear and take it down to the water's edge. Strictly, the water was too low to be able to get the dinghy launched but I managed to find some relatively firm mud on which to haul the trailer and dinghy and left Sprite on the mud just above the waterline. By the time I had returned the trailer to the van and re-parked the minibus in my preferred spot, the water had risen and Sprite was almost afloat.

Making sure to gets much mud off my wellies as I stepped into Sprite, I soon had her in deeper water and was pulling for Naiad.

The first task was to reseal the ash tray and heater with the full width tape rather than the half-width tape I tried last visit. Then the heater went on and I checked the foredeck. No fouling from the gulls, so that's a success. 

I unpacked everything and made up the bed. A warm sleeping bag formed the bottom layer, then a cotton sheet sleeping bag, then a duvet for the top layer. That should be warm enough.

Then it was the for a cup of tea and a read as the sun set before turning in.

I slept well.

This is the view from the cockpit as the sun rose the following morning.

Naiad lay on the side of the mud bank at an angle. Nothing too bad but care had to be take with the cooking.

Today's breakfast. Bacon, mushroom, tomato and broccoli fry up! This is one of my favourite breakfasts (144 calories), tasty and filling. It was even more satisfying since I had made it onboard. I plan to cook good meals on my non-day trips to Naiad. There's no point in roughing it when you don't need to.

The task for the day was to rig more netting over the boat aft of the mast and over the boom. This was tricky and time-consuming as the fixing and cutting need to be done from the dinghy but arranging the net in the correct position had to be done from onboard Naiad. I manage to to get all the starboard side done and half the port side but needed to spread the remaining pieces of net out on a large flat surface as the last part of the port side needs a piece 1.8m or 6ft square so I'll need to take the pieces home. I'll spread them out on the hardstanding to see if I have a piece left big enough to get that out in one piece or if I have to join two or more smaller pieces together to get a piece big enough.

Still, I was happy at the result and left Naiad at 11:45 after deciding not to stay, just for the sake of it.

Naiad as I left.

A closer view of the netting.

The next task, apart from fitting the remaining piece of netting, is to thread the iridescent tape through the net at the edges and the top so I know where these are and to take the net down. This will be done by unclipping the net two or three clips at a time and rolling the net up starting at the back of the net.

The net is in three sections. From the transom to the peak halyard. From the other side the peak halyard to the mast and the foredeck. The idea is that each section will be carefully rolled up, tied and stowed. The tape should make putting the netting back easier.

We shall see.

Even if it is a little tricky it will be worth it if it keeps the gulls off the deck!!