Thursday, 1 August 2013

The Swale

Emma and Shivering Sands
We were right to stay in Brightlingsea yesterday. Today we woke to a warm sunny day with a force 3 SE wind.
We left the harbour at high tide - 8.20am- and had a sparkling sail across the estuary. We went quite close to two of the second world war anti-aircraft forts as the pictures show. 

John and Knock John






The story of the hurried design and construction of these forts under wartime conditions and their survival for over seventy years without any maintenance at all is quite remarkable and deserves to be better known. The forts are of two types, some like Knock John Tower were constructed in dry docks and then floated into position and sunk. Others like the Shivering Sands Forts were constructed in-situ on piled platforms. Both types were designed by the talented civil engineer Guy Maunsell. Some of the forts had a second life after the war as pirate radio stations and in one case as the independent kingdom of Sealand.

In the evening we sailed into the river Swale and picked up our mooring buoy which we had last let go at the beginning of our circumnavigation on 26 April.

Bonita and her crew have had many adventures in the 97 days since we left. The old lady has in general stood up to the pressures pretty well although at times the crew have shown signs of strain.  However this is not the end of this year's cruise: we have to press on to get the the Old Gaffers bumper festival in Cowes in two weeks time.
Back on our home mooring...