As with any of our coastal or tidal trips there has been a certain amount of planning to do for our trip to Wells next the Sea at the end of the month.
As well as getting the boat ready we have had to check tide times, book in at Wells next the Sea Harbour and also book our passage through the Grand Sluice Lock in Boston.
In common with most of the ports and harbours on this stretch of the coast access is limited by the tides. Entry into Wells is from around two and a half hours before high water to two and a half after high water, outside of these times there is insufficient water to enter the channel. The photo above shows the extent to which the entrance channel dries out.
Similarly passage through the Grand Sluice is limited to the two hours before high water and then again about two hours after high water when the water level in the tidal river matches that of the non-tidal Witham. To further confuse matters further at high water the level in the tidal river is always higher than that in the non-tidal river and at high water there is insufficient air draft beneath the bridges to facilitate navigation.
As I’m sure you have probably figured out by now, the trip from Boston to Wells and back again is a bit of a balancing act if you want to do it in one tidal window. To do the trip in two tides you make better use of the tides, to do the trip as we do in one tide you are effectively fighting nature. We have to leave on the first level, which means we are heading downstream on an incoming tide and then again at the other end we are heading upstream on an out-going tide. Thankfully this doesn’t really bother Naughty-Cal as she can just plough on through, however lesser powered vessels could well struggle against the tide.
So with just nine days to go before we set off on our first real break of 2015 we are booked in at the Grand Sluice for an 8.30-8.45am pen out on Sunday 24th during the first level tide period. This should see us arrive at Wells next the Sea between 11.00am and 11.30am shortly before high water.
Now we have the planning completed we just need the weather to improve. Try as I might I can’t plan for that!