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Posted By Discussion Topic: A week aboard the Pearl Horizon

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Grendel
Sep-05-2010 @ 9:03 AM                           Permalink
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Well when I unpack everything and get my approximately fifteen pages of notes etc typed up I will post the tale & photos of our holiday here.
Grendel

arthur99
Sep-05-2010 @ 10:27 AM                           Permalink
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Very much looking forward to hearing about your week on the river Grendel.  

Only 4 weeks to go until my own trip.


All the best

Arthur

Grendel
Sep-05-2010 @ 12:24 AM                           Permalink
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Saturday 28th August
We were a little later than planned leaving home and apart from a bit of a queue on the A12 outside Ipswich  we had a good run up, we were told we could pick up the boat from 3pm, and actually arrived at just 3.15 pm. We were greeted at the gate as we drove in by one of the engineers, he showed us to our boat and allowed us to pull up in the car right behind it, so unloading was easier. By 4.00 pm we had unloaded the car and reported in at reception where we picked up our paperwork, and lifejackets.
Then we got the same engineer who tookus for our test drive and showed us round the boat – he made a comment about the fresh water system that it seemed as if the water tank had been run dry as it was a bit fitful at first. Anyway we got our test drive, were shown how to pull in and moor the boat, and then the engineer signed the paperwork and left us to our own devices. We had a quick kit check to make sure we had all of the bits we needed. Laurie decided she would take the first turn at driving, so at 5.00 pm we left Acle Bridge heading upriver heading for South Walsham Broad for our first night. As we pulled off the staithe we followed the instructions we had been given, it wasn’t that easy though we managed passably well until we just about clipped a couple of boats that had stern moored at the refuelling point by the Horizon yard- the impact was staved off by one of the yard engineers who came forward and managed to put a fender in just the right place. The engineer who had done our test run had already mentioned that they shouldn’t have stern moored at that point anyway. Casting off achieved we started off on our zig zag course up the river – thinking is it ever possible to drive these things in a straight line – well it seems as though the people behind us were having the same problem, we were less than half a mile up river just around the bend when looking back we saw them get side on to the river and at full speed plough into the wooden timbers at the side of the river, I saw their bow come at least 18” vertically as they rode up the wood – it wasn’t too bad- they got off by reversing a bit. Then shortly after came steaming past us zig zagging his way up the river. We did have a few practice attempts at brushing the dirt off the side of the boat clean using the reeds at the side of the river.
We carried on upriver and eventually at 6pm found the turn to South Walsham (spotted the broads photographer boat and wondered if it might be Paul (ncsl)). Anyway we made it to South Walsham and wondered where to park, eventually deciding to drop the mud weight we moored down the part where it narrowed and then went to the part of the broad that said no anchoring- we moored up in a little bay just short of this point at 7.22pm.
Cooked some tea and then watched a dvd and went to bed – Oh the bed, it was short- very short about 5’9” as my wife reckons (now I am 6’4” tall with size 14 feet) the bottom end of the bed was under the side of the boat and only about 10” tall, even Laurie found the bed a bit on the small side and couldn’t sleep that well, so early in the morning she went to watch TV so I could then sleep corner to corner- it was still too small. We also noticed the floor next to the bed was damp- well wet really we didn’t spot this until we were ready for bed, when we stood on it barefoot.

Grendel

Grendel
Sep-05-2010 @ 12:26 AM                           Permalink
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Sunday 29th August
Well what to do about this wet floor, we had breakfast and waited until the yard was manned at 9 am to phone and see what to do about it. Since we were only a short distance away we agreed that it would be easier to bring the boat back to the yard to be checked over. So a few minutes later we were on our way back to Acle Bridge. As we left Fleet Dyke we were waved at from the photographers boat we waved back, but were busy negotiating the corner. Just before this I had a close encounter with a very nice wooden hulled boat, which I came close to hitting when 4 boats tried to overtake me at the same time. I only managed to avoid going into the back corner by whacking our boat into full astern, we stopped with about 18 “ to spare (whew).
Back at the boatyard we became the centre of attention with two engineers coming over to look, they moved the mattress and diagnosed the fault as a leaking fresh water pump, they took up the carpet and hung it to dry, lifted the mattress and bedding and I heard them splashing around under the bed – This explained why the water was coughing and spluttering out of the taps. A new pump was fitted, and they attached a suction hose and pumped all the fresh water out of the bottom of the boat, apparently it had been deep enough to reach the floor level and make the carpet wet. Thank goodness we had decided not to ignore it- anyway carpet back in (still damp) and we were advised to run the heaters to dry out the damp that was left, which we did. We then had to refill the water tank after this as they had lost more water changing the pump. It took nearly half an hour to refill the tank it was that empty. Back on the river again and we decided to head for Potter Heigham, the weather was getting a bit rough and heading up river we managed to get stuck on the bank because the wind had gusted and blown us off course, the joke was on us as we had just gone past a boat that had overtaken us and then managed to get stuck exactly the same way. We headed up toward Potter Heigham. At 1.35pm we decided that when we spotted a free mooring with spaces that the weather was getting so bad we would moor up for the day. So we moored up and put the kettle on and  settled down for the rest of the day. Sometime after that we spotted Broad Ambition coming down river, we waved, but it was tipping it down so I didn’t stick my head out, I did rush to the back of the boat and get some pictures.
The weather was just getting worse and worse so we decided to stop there the night and settled down to a quiet afternoon watching boats go by, it was quite interesting seeing them come out of the lee of the boatshed and catch the wind and suddenly find themselves on the wrong side of the river – I think that just reinforced our decision to stay put. We heard the news on the radio saying there were trees down and power cuts and that a mini tornado had taken the end wall off some building (about this time I got an all available engineers text message on my work mobile- they put these out to all staff when there are serious power outages).
We decided since we were moored using the rond anchors and since the wind was just pushing us against the mooring we would be in a safe place for the night. At 6pm we saw the best rainbow I have seen for ages, earlier we had watched a yacht come in to moor just using his jib he came up, turned at the mooring and pulled into the wind just the right amount to be reversed onto his mooring, a neat bit of sailing I have to say, better than the young lad and his girlfriend who had used a lot of the staithe to stop and then spent 10 minutes struggling with the sail- mind you in those winds it was understandable.
With the wind getting up it was fun watching the rubber dinghy on the roof of the boat ahead levitating above the roof off the boat as the wind blew.
We decided that it was easier to steer the boat if you could see backwards, so we thought wing mirrors or a rear view mirror would help with the steering as we found it easier to keep on a straight course if we watched what the back of the boat was doing.
With all the wind we also figured double glazing would have helped some too.
We solved the sleeping arrangements for the rest of our time aboard, by moving the mattress into the lounge area and making up the bed there, though the mattress was short at least I could stretch out straight. There was still space to put the two armchairs and the dining table and chairs so it wasn’t too inconvenient, just more difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
Grendel

daviddownunder
Sep-06-2010 @ 5:45 AM                           Permalink
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Well Grendel your holiday got off to an interesting start.

We too had a water pump go, we did not notice it during the day when there was noise around, but when we got to bed and all was quite we had, drip, drip drip, all night long, back to the yard to fix

Thanks for the tale so far look forward to more

Regards
Dave Downunder

Grendel
Sep-06-2010 @ 6:11 PM                           Permalink
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Monday 30th August
Bank Holiday Monday, at 9 am we left Potter Heigham, Laurie was still tired so wanted to sleep in so I unmoored single handed and managed to get us off the staithe despite the wind, then headed us down stream. By 10 am we were at the mouth of the Ant and turned upstream, shortly afterwards we passed Broad Ambition for the second time, she was heading downstream. I waved again, but I don’t think they noticed me- So once again I got some pictures.
Up river and at 11.40 we spotted an ice cream boat on Salhouse Island- we just got moored up and I took the ropes for another cruiser mooring up also to get ice creams when the ice cream boat up and left before we could get to it. Moored up there for a cup of coffee and to pick some blackberries to make a blackberry and apple pudding for tea. Whilw we were there nobody came to collect the mooring charge, so after we had had our coffees we changed drivers and continued up river with Laurie driving.
While we were passing Wroxham Broad Laurie managed to go under some overhanging branches, I was clearing the leaves and branches out from inside the boat, when I had a sudden thought- I checked the roof – sure enough the mop had gone, she still hasn’t got the hang of steering in a straight line.
We later managed to rectify the mop situation, on the way back through Horning we spotted one in the water and circled round and picked it up – strange I didn’t think ours had had a blue handle originally.
We finally made it to Wroxham but couldn’t find a mooring, Laurie did a U turn by the bridge (thank goodness the webcam was out) as she managed to just clip a moored hire boat with the stern swinging out as she turned, just a nudge, we weren’t really moving. Anyway we decided to head back down river, with a quick side trip into Wroxham broad en route, of course watching out for our mop en route.
Apart from recovering a mop at Horning we had a fairly uneventful trip back down to Acle Bridge especially since I took over driving and we stopped zig zagging across the river.
The moorings at Acle Bridge were fairly full and I spotted a space behind another yellow boat – it turned out that it was the Pearl Horizon 2 (we thought this quite amusing and were expecting a visit from its occupants when they came back from the pub).
We ordered Indian takeaway from Acle Spice for tea, we got them to deliver to the yard gate – when they arrived an hour later they had 4 orders for the boatyard. The Indian was a good takeaway.

Grendel

Grendel
Sep-06-2010 @ 6:12 PM                           Permalink
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Tuesday 31st August
8 am we departed Acle Bridge for Southern climes, this was the time recommended by the boatyard to cross Breydon, they said the best time was to leave Acle Bridge at the low tide time then you would go with the tide down the river to great Yarmouth and also catch the incoming tide up Breydon and up the rivers beyond.
9.50 we went through the bridges at Great Yarmouth and round the yellow post. Pushed by the incoming tide I managed to get the revs up to 2200 up Breydon water, whoo the thrill of speed. By 11.33 we had passed St Olaves and 10 minutes later went through the swing bridge. By 1.00pm we were at the Wherry Hotel and coming in for a mooring, just as we turned and were about to reverse another boat nipped behind us and pinched the spot we had been aiming for, just then the boat at the end unmoored and left, so we swung around for a second attempt and managed a perfect stern mooring – well done Laurie. The Southern rivers do seem to be quieter than the Northern ones.
We spent a relaxed afternoon watching the dinghy racing and photographing the swans. We decided to take up on the £5 voucher on an evening meal, we had been told that they were doing an offer on the carvery – two meals for £10, but in the end we got a starter and main meal – we had a shared platter for a starter, and to be honest the portions were so big the shared platter would have made a good starter for a family of 4, we then went on to main course, I had a steak and ale pie while Laurie had a double stacked vegeburger without the bun, once again the portions were huge, laurie couldn’t finish her chips whilst I had to give up on the pie crust and some veggies. We decided to skip dessert as we were now very stuffed.
The food was absolutely gorgeous, but the portions were just too big.
I spent a little time on the keyside taking pictures of the sunset and harbour lights then we watched another DVD and retired for the night, we did think that the moorings at the pub might be a bit noisy, but were pleasantly surprised that they were not.
While I was out taking pictures I saw at first hand what sort of problems the tide could cause boats moored at the wherry- when one hire boat got its transom rubbing strip caught on the keyside, it took full forward power and about 6 of them pushing to get themselves off the keyside. An event I myself was soon to find myself  experiencing.

grendel

Grendel
Sep-06-2010 @ 6:13 PM                           Permalink
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Wednesday 1st September
10 am after a leisurely breakfast we departed Oulton to sail up to Beccles, It was after an hour that I started to wonder where the turning was, just then we came round the corner and there was the swing bridge, we had missed the turning, a quick U turn and change of driver and we headed back up river, this time finding the turning with ease, I think it had been blocked from my sight by another cruiser overtaking me at that spot. Anyway off up river on the right river now. By 1.30pm we were at the bridges at beccles, there was 8 foot clearance so Laurie took us through and we headed up to Gedelstone Lock.
At 1.43 we passed Goodfortune coming downriver from Gedelstone, she called over and asked if I was Grendel, Laurie had unfortunately just dived to the back for a call of nature, so didn’t get to see them in Opel Emblem. About25 minutes later we passed Gedelstone dyke, and carried on down to the Lock, unfortunately we couldn’t see any spaces to moor here, and had decided to drop the mud weight, I was trying to turnthe boat, but Laurie said just drop it where we were, so I did, unfortunately this meant we had the mudweight down while we were facing downstream, so of course the boat drifted side on to the river – effectively blocking it, Laurie took over and after trying to reverse the back end round and dragging the mudweight and ramming the bank behind (nearly sending me flying backwards down the steps into the boat as I had been pulling up the mud anchor) we gave up and headed back to Beccles – Not a moment too soon as it turned out. Back at the turning for Gedelstone Dyke at 2.56pm we spotted a kingfisher sitting on a branch, it then flew off across the river before I could even think of getting the camera out. at the first bridge marker it was telling us there was 7’3”, by the time we got to the bridge the 3” marker was no longer visible, now our book told us we were 7 foot, whilst the rating plate on the wall said 6’7”, so we went for it, getting through with about 5” to spare. Back downriver, and now we are fighting the tide, going flat out to make 5 mph against it. We figured we weren’t speeding as other boats were still overtaking us, back to the turn for Oulton then things got easier as we headed back to the same spot outside the Wherry Hotel, it was the last spot before the lock so we got a good view straight down when things came through. Unfortunately as I swung about to moor up stern first I came to a stop just short of the wall and as Laurie was reading a book I rushed through to moor up just as we drifted too far from the wall to chance it, I yelled at Laurie to take over the driving, this took her a few seconds so she pulled forward and neatly reversed us in while I hitched up the moorings. Later on I had cause to remember the boat from the previous night, that had got hooked up on the keyside, as I was topping up the water from the free hose there (the tap is hidden inside a drainpipe that is vertically set in beside the water post to stop drunks playing) I spotted that we were starting to get snagged at the back too- just managing to push us off before we got well and truly stuck.
We Ordered a Chinese from the Magic Wok (just down the road opposite the Spar) for tea (this restaurant is owned by a friends brother in law and had come highly recommended) and to be quite honest the food was really good (and I am not just saying that - we have weeded our local takeaways down to just one really good Chinese, and this if anything was slightly better) As is thee tradition we ordered way too much so saved the rest for the next days meal.

Grendel

Grendel
Sep-06-2010 @ 6:14 PM                           Permalink
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Thursday 2nd September
We were going to have an early start and stop for breakfast later today, but when we looked out we could barely make out the yacht station moorings from the Wherry hotel, so we had breakfast first then left at 8.15am, breakfast was bacon and scrambled eggs, and I have to say the frying pan cleaned up nicely after the bacon so its not true that they are no good, they do clean up ok(especially when put to soak first while you wait for the water to warm up).
We were heading up toward Brundall today so had passed under the swing bridge and headed along the new cut, the fog was burning off nicely. Boy that new cut is narrow when you try to get 2 12’ wide cruisers passed each other at the hands of novice hirers. Out the other end and by 10.35 was passing under Reedham swing bridge and on up the river 13 minutes later we timed our trip past the chain ferry perfectly he was just loading the first car as we passed. We passed the turning for Loddon at 11 am, and just on midday arrived at the Beauchamp Arms in time to pull up for Lunch. We were just circling to moor when an old gent beckoned us in at the yacht club moorings and took our ropes as we tied up – he said it was ok as nothing was happening that day- so we took him at his word and moored up, then headed into the pub for a super meal of Lasagna and chips, they were doing up the frontage of the pub and didn’t seem very busy inside but the food was good. 1.20 and we headed backup river, arriving at Brundall about 2pm, we went through Brundall and turned around at the other side to head back, we were planning to go through Yarmouth the next morning so wanted to be somewhere back down river overnight. By 3pm we were back at the Beachamp Arms and 40 minutes later we had passed a couple of yachts tacking downstream we hung back a bit to go past when they were tacking across the river, unfortunately just as we started going past another cruiser went to the left bank of the river and decided to overtake us as well as the yachts. So we slipped past on the right as they turned across the river and the other cruiser went past as they turned at the other side, must have been a bit disconcerting for the yachts. I don’t think they were too bothered as they gave us a friendly wave and a smile as we passed. We had decided to try and find somewhere quiet to stop above Reedham and eventually  decided to halt at Hardley Cross, mooring on the chains there right next to the cross itself, there were other boats moored up here too so we figured it must be ok. The night sky in the evening was so impressive I got the camera out and took some long exposure shots, as well as getting the telescope out for some stunning views of Jupiter until the telescope dewed up. But the sight of the milky way above was tremendous.

Grendel

Grendel
Sep-06-2010 @ 6:15 PM                           Permalink
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Friday 3rd September
Well we left Hardley Cross just after 9am and headed for great Yarmouth, when we went through Reedham swing bridge it was open, though nothing seemed to be coming. We should have got to Breydon at 10am but Laurie was driving and rejoicing in running down with the tide so was probably going a little faster than 6mph from Reedham down for a spell, now we had hot water I got the washing up done. We were across Breydon and at the yellow marker post at 10.45, just before slack water so we hit the ebb coming down river and spent some time fighting up against the flow.  We arrived back at Acle Bridge at just gone 1pm and we decided not to push further up river and instead spend our remaining hours relaxing and starting to shift non overnight essentials to the car ready to go home. Then Laurie suggested we take a short drive to see the seaside at Caister. We had a few hours driving around and then back to the boat, spent some time packing stuff and putting it in the car. Spent some time getting sunset pictures and general relaxation ready for the pack up and tidy up in the morning.
Well now the tale is almost over, one night on board left then we hand the boat over and head for home.

Saturday 4th September
Well wake up, cereal for breakfast, put the bed back where it should be and tidy the boat and pack the rest of the stuff in the car, everything sorted by 8.45, time to get the diesel topped up – we had used 63 litres in total. We handed over the paperwork and got our fuel refund, then its time to leave, a quick car trip round the broads, covering most of the area it had taken us a week to cover in the boat, all in a couple of hours, crossed over on the Reedham chain ferry and then on to Beccles, then we were on the road home.

Grendel

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