This weekend we entertained our friends Corrine, Edo and their three children for a beach trip to the Walton Backwaters. Despite 9 people being a bit of a squeeze on board TD, everyone managed remarkably well and we had a lot of fun.
Friday was just us, Gesa fed the kids before we left and we put them to bed before settling down to our own dinner. Issie, however, had other ideas and joined us on deck to enjoy the evening.
Next morning, the rest of the crew arrived at half nine and we motored into the marina to pick them up, fill up with water and send me up the mast with the rivet gun to fix a broken fitting. This boat has huge water tanks - it took nearly half an hour to fill up and we weren't that low!
We set off in lovely sunshine to motor into a gentle breeze (it's always blowing form ahead, isn't it) with the hope of doing some sailing out in the estuary. However, out there the fog came down and we nervously felt our way past the big ship channel and into the Backwaters, hooting our foghorn and listening to the boom of the tug's foghorn sounding all too close. At times like this, it's great to have radar and I could see that tug safely over to the West.
Anchored in the creek, we had a lovely lunch while the fog cleared and everyone tootled off to the beach leaving me to do some jobs on board. After a good few hours of happy playtime, they called me out to get them, but had walked up the beach to a particularly muddy spot, where people began to sink up to their thighs. As Corrine observed, you'd pay the spa a fortune to get this treatment. Max was less amused, although only his ankles got covered.
As the youngest went to bed, I took the other kids off in the dinghy to look for the seals in the next creek, and sure enough we found them, enjoying the sunset on the mudflats. Trying not to disturb them too much we sat and watched as some swam around us. The kids loved it. (see some video here) They also really enjoyed the ride home, with flat water and the dinghy planing at 15 knots, Issie and Tessel giggled with the wind in their faces and the dinghy rocking over the ripples.
Next day dawned foggy again, and the kids were often more interested in their friend's GameBoy than the surroundings, but we got them off to the beach again and built a great sandcastle. I think I can start a photo collection - 'sandcastles of the world' as we tour various beaches on this trip.
After lunch, we upped anchor and headed home, finally getting to sail in a lovely south-east breeze, giving the kids a chance to steer and everyone to enjoy the trip. The sun even came out near the end and we sat at the marina bar enjoying a pint before heading home.
Lovely weekend. Here's to many more.