Friday, 29 July 2011


During our recent stay in Wells we had a few hours to kill before we could enter the harbor. So we spent the afternoon anchored in Blakeney bay. To waste away an hour or so we dipped the rod into the water to see what we could catch. Well nothing was the answer but we had a go. Discussions with the skipper of the sea fishing trip boat soon put us right though and he gave us plenty of top tips. Unfortunately we didn’t get to put the theory into practice as the weather turned and we couldn’t go out.

The trip boat consistently took clients out and brought back bags full of fantastic fresh mackerel. His excess catch was sold to the local sea food stall which is where we purchased our samples from for the princely sum of £2 for two huge examples. Fresh grilled mackerel is really quite hard to beat, served with some freshly picked Samphire.

Mackerel isn't a delicately flavored fish and its richness doesn't always lend itself well to a simple 'lemon and herbs' pairing. But given the right treatment it is a fantastically moist, flavorsome fish that makes an inexpensive and very healthy meal. Due to mackerel's richness, cream or butter-based sauces are best avoided. A spicy treatment works well, as does matching with something sharp or citrus.

Mackerel has been a consistently popular fish throughout history. The Romans used mackerel to make garum, a fermented fish sauce similar to those essential to Thai and Vietnamese cooking today. Records show that mackerel has been widely eaten in the UK for hundreds of years. According to his diary, Samuel Pepys breakfasted on mackerel on 30th May 1660. Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management (1861) features the recipe Fennel Sauce for Mackerel.

Health experts recommend eating at least one serving of oily fish, such as mackerel, each week. Mackerel is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamin B12. A real health food and given how tasty it is, a fish that should really be eaten more often. A lot of people may be put off by the boney nature of the fish, but persevere and you are richly rewarded.

This fish is sure to become one of our favorites and it would be great to be able to BBQ our own freshly caught fish, but that dream may have To wait another year now as the next time we will be able to head to sea at the end of August will be out of season for these wonderful fish. It won’t stop us fishing though; we will have to try our hand at catching some cod or whiting instead and if all else fails a trip to The Ship Inn at Fossdyke Yacht Harbour on the River Welland will see us suitably fed and watered.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Dinghy Diary

We didn’t get too much chance to use the dinghies during our recent break on the Broads. The weather was either too bad, or the chance just never arose. We put in some serious cruising hours on most days of the holiday.

On the few occasions we did use them they really came into their own. We had a great trip through Lowestoft docks, looking at the big ships from a whole new angle, they really are huge close up and from a lower perspective.

We also used the dinghies to get from the anchored boats to the beach. This was again on one of the days with much better weather. Getting from the boat onto the dinghy and vice versa is quite tricky when both the boat and dinghy are bobbing around at different rates. The trip was worth it though as we were rewarded with miles of golden beach and the chance to get up close to the seal population of Blakeney.

We did find another use for the dinghy. A lot of the moorings on the Broads are stern in. Naughty-Cal struggles to do this as her stern gear overhangs the rear of the boat by quite some margin. The solution was simple. Lower the dinghy on the davits and step across onto the bank. Simple.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

At Anchor

It was with great delight that we finally managed to spend some time properly at anchor during our recent holiday. We have anchored before on the Trent and in Brayford Pool but neither of these places comes even close to comparing with the experience of spending the afternoon at anchor just off Blakeney beach.

The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining, the skies were blue and the sea was turquoise blue reflecting the fantastic blue of the sky. The sea was calm with just a few long and spaced out small waves to gently rock the boat, reminding us that yes, we are still at sea. Bordering the deserted bay were miles of golden and unspoilt beach, stretching for miles, skirting along the perimeter of the bay. Not a sole to be seen bar us and our companion boat, the makings of a fantastic afternoon.

As we were lowering the dinghies to go for an explore on the beach a group of inquisitive seals came across to the boats to say hello and to have a peek at what we were up too. With the dinghies down and engines running we set off for the beach. Now landing a dinghy onto a beach isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. The small breakers at the beach edge make for a decidedly wet ride. The beach was as glorious as it looked from the boats. Not a spot of litter to be seen anywhere.

After an hour or so it was time to head back to the boats. With the tide now running in quickly it was certainly time to get back and check that the anchors were holding fast against the change in tide. If the ride to the beach was wet, then the ride back was soaking, but good fun. Riding the breakers was great fun but the journey back was made all the better by the seals swimming around the dinghies, escorting us back to the mother ships.

Back on board and safe in the knowledge that the anchors have held against the changing tides we settled back for an hour of fishing. Well I say fishing, we didn’t catch a thing, but we had good fun in the process. With the fishing not happening we back the gear away and settle down with a few ice cold beers, watching the seals watching us and the sea birds catching their next meals, life couldn’t get much better.

The afternoon spent at anchor of Blakeney has made us more determined to anchor again. It isn’t to everybody’s taste but for us the quiet and peaceful surroundings, the gentle rocking of the boat and the knowledge that you are there along and capable of sustaining yourself on your boat is truly hard to beat. Bring on the August bank holiday and our next chance to spend time at anchor properly on the sea.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


After a couple of weeks of hectic boating we decided it was high time for a relaxing weekend afloat. One where we could chill out and spend time quietly.

So on Friday evening with no plan in mind we had a gentle jaunt to Lincoln before spinning around and heading back towards the marina. On arrival at the marina we decided to continue and head towards Saxilby. It was at this point that Naughty-Cal had other ideas and decided to start acting the goat. A slipping alternator belt proved to be quite annoying but we pressed on at the only revs we could find that didn’t slip the belt too much, about 800rpm, and crawled our way to Saxilby. Luckily there was plenty of room to moor.

Saturday dawns and we have a lie in for once, not something we enjoy very often i must admit. Whilst the OH busys himself with the engine I have a stroll into the village to pick up some supplies of fresh meat and vegetables. After a nice full English breakfast we set off for Torksey. It is only about a third of a mile later that we encounter the next problem. A strange noise from the engine bay, again. Luckily we are able to moor temporarily on the long term moorings just through the village to investigate the noise. A cup of tea and a natter with the locals later and the problem is sourced and fixed. Water dripping from the raw water impellor housing onto the new alternator belt. A quick fix later and we are away again, this time with no problems. Finally we make it to Torksey and moor on the cruiser pontoons . Here we enjoy a relaxing afternoon before striking up the BBQ.

Sunday is a brighter day, plenty more sunshine and much warmer than the previous day. We head down to the waterpoint, refill the tank (something we forgot to do before we left the marina, oops) and then head back to Saxilby for breakfast. We try to get a little cruising in before breakfast so that we have some hot water to wash the pots. Torksey to Saxilby is just about the right distance to cover to ensure the water is piping hot. After breakfast, which was more like brunch in the end, we head off back to the marina for a quick pit stop, before heading to the Pyewipe for a few drinks. Soon the moorings busy up and boats come and go. Finally we settle back onto our home berth and watch the sun go down whilst eating dinner and having a few drinks.

Another weekend gone.

Monday, 25 July 2011

More Modifications

After the trip to the Broads we now have another list of further modifications we would like to make to Naughty-Cal. We should point out however that the boat performed faultlessly for the whole fortnight, despite being put into some situations beyond here design capabilities.

The first modification is to the navigation gear. We have a Raymarine Tridata ST60 which shows the speed over water, water depth, water temperature, trip data etc. And we also have a Raymarine chart plotter which amongst other things shows us the speed over ground. The difference between the SOW and SOG is the tide strength. The trouble we have is that the chart plotter screen is quite small and the SOG is displayed in the top corner of the screen in quite small text. It is obviously preferable to see where you are going rather than how fast you are going. So we intend to add a second ST60 screen to show the SOG data. This will include some minor wiring and drilling holes in the dashboard but there is a neat area on the dash where we can place the new unit.

Next up we intend to fit a chain counter to the anchor winch so that we know how much chain has been deployed. We have marked the chain at 10ft intervals but it is difficult to see them when sending out the chain due to the deck design of the boat. A chain counter fitted to the dashboard will instantly tell us how much chain we have sent out and how much is left to pull back in. We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon at anchor so fully intend to do it again sometime soon, most probably during the August bank holiday weekend.

Finally the OH has decided that he quite likes sea fishing, so we are going to add a couple of stainless steel rod holders to the rear of the boat. These hold the rods so that the angler needn’t be holding them for the whole time he is fishing. It also allows the angler to have multiple rods set at once.

It does seem strange that the more we use Naughty-Cal the more items we find that we need to add to her. It is evident that her previous owners used her for little more than a river cruiser, for which she was perfectly specced, however now we are using her more as a sea boat, her designers intention, more items are being added as we progress to journeys further afield. The planning will soon start for next year’s big trips, but for now we have the bank holiday to look forward to afloat plus trips to Portsmouth and Southampton in the near future.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Norfolk Broads - Part 5

The now familiar to us port of Wells next the Sea provided another more relaxing few days of our return home. The weather was not always on our side and we had a couple of rough nights but it still didnt put us off this magical little town.

Due to the bad weather there wasnt much time for using the boats or the dinghies so instead we set off on a bus ride to Blakeney, a little further down the coast.

The then walked the ten miles or so back from Blakeney to Wells along the coastal path. A great way to see some of the Norfolk coast on a really quite easy and relatively level walk.

All too soon it is time to leave Wells and as usually happens for us it is an early morning start. Here we are leaving just as the sun appears from behind the horizon. Not our usual smooth ride this time. The sea state was quite lumpy.

Finally back on the River Witham and heading for home.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Norfolk Broads - Part 4

Our trip of the Broads almost over we settle in for the afternoon at the Berney Arms for a few quick drinks.

Drinks over we head off into the sunset for Goodchilds marina. Our last stop on the Broads and our last refuelling spot before heading back out to sea. We overnight on the fuel berth, refuel early the next morning.

Due to an early start from Goodchilds we reach Wells far too early to enter. So in the glorious sunshine we anchor in Blakeney bay and watch the seals play amongst our boats.

The beach is so enticing we drop the dinghies down and have to go and explore. Whilst landed on the beach the seals come in closer for a good look at us. On the way back to the motherships the seals swim around the dinghies.

All too soon it is time to up anchor and enter Wells harbour. A perfect end to the perfect day.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Norfolk Broads - Part 3

Moored at How Hill awaiting the low tide so that Devocean can navigate the low bridge at Ludham. This is a peaceful spot with plenty to see and do and loads of pleasant and easy walks.

Back into hire boat country we head through the busy village of Horning, a popular spot with the hirers as you can see.

But we are soon back into unspoilt tranquil countryside with large swathes of the river banks covered with trees and bright green foliage

Our chosen spot to moor tonight is Salhouse Broad. This the view from the cockpit overlooking the quite Broad.

All too soon we are off on our travels again. This time heading back to the Southern Broads for a Sealine Forum meet up at the Surlingham Ferry.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Norfolk Broads - Part 2

On the Broads at last. We enter via Oulton Broad and continue into miles of unspoilt reed lined rivers. Typical Broadland scenery

It isnt lon before we encounter the first of many old wooden sailing vessels along the way. These boats are still avaliable for hire.

One problem we found along the way is that the hire boats were able to sustain a much slower controlled speed than we could. Here we have a typical scene where we have caught up a slower hire boat on the River Ant with little chance to overtake.

The upper reaches of this particular river close in to create narrow tree lined dykes branching off and leading to many great tucked away moorings.

Our destination for today. Neatishead Staithe. A delightful tucked away mooring close to the hub of the village and providing excellent recycling facilities, a rarity waterside and a much needed water supply tap.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Norfolk Broads - Part 1

Antons Gowt - The first stop of the holiday and a gentle half hour cruise from Boston to meet the tide at 6am the next morning.

An early morning on the tidal River Witham. The sea is in sight and the holiday will start in earnest. Great weather and a clam sea.

Moored in Lowestoft after a good four hour cruise. Naughty-Cal needed refuelling but even that couldnt dampen the spirits and the great weather.

Exploring Lowestoft docks by dinghy we encountered some big ships

Navigating Lowestoft docks on the way to Oulton Broad and our entry onto the Norfolk Broads.

We Are Back

Well we are back safe and sound. Naughty-Cal is tucked up safe and sound on her home mooring and we are now back at work. The photos are just being sorted out as we speak.