In contrast to a lot of our inland cruising there is a lot of planning goes into our trips on the coast.
Our seemingly simple hop across the Wash to Kings Lynn entails a fair amount of leg work before the cruise can even begin.
First up was checking that the tide times, tide heights and Grand Sluice opening hours were all favourable for us to even make the trip, and whilst they are this time they are far from ideal. We will leave Boston late on Saturday afternoon and won't arrive at Kings Lynn until between 6.00-7.00pm depending on what time we have enough water to leave Boston. With the small tides we will have it should be closer to 4pm than 5pm that we can leave. On the way back we will be leaving early on the Monday morning arriving back in Boston by 8.30am, so although we are paying for two nights on the pontoons we will really only have one full day in Kings Lynn.
With the tides checked it is time to book passage through the Grand Sluice at Boston. Despite the name this is a tiny little lock working funny tide hours depending on the height of the tides and the non tidal river. Its all a bit of a balancing act. Usually we head out on these trips two hours before high water, however this time the tides are so small we may be able to get out three hours before which will be nice as it will give us extra time in Kings Lynn.
Unlike inland cruising we have also had to book and pay for a berth on the pontoons in advance to reserve our spot. Its a long way to go to find out that they are full up when you arrive! The office staff are really very helpful and last time we were there they even popped down onto the pontoon to check that everything was ok with our visit. It really does make all the difference. The other bonus here is that the mooring fees are really very reasonable at £10.50 per night for a 23ft boat.
There is also the task of ensuring we have enough fuel for the trip. We have done this trip previously so know that if we fill the tank tomorrow at the marina that this will be enough to get us from Lincoln to Kings Lynn and back again on the same tank. There won't be loads left but enough, although we plan to refill the tank at Geordies on the way back up river, we always like to pop in and say hello on our way back up river. It also means we will get back home with almost a full tank of fuel which is always nice. I don't really like running the tank too low as it always feels more of an ordeal to then refuel it at a later date. Strange I know.
This weekend I am also going to check the latest buoy positions against the ones we have plottted in our chart plotter. It is 18 months since we last visited so no doubt some of them will have changed. From memory there are some really quite odd channel markers in the Lynn channel so better to have the right positions for them, don't want to land on a sand bank this early in the year!