We were going to go on home but Les spotted a large ocean going vessel of the dutch barge design with huge masts and furled sails moored up out in the Thames and I thought my barking feet could keep going long enough for us to walk down and take some pictures.
Fortunate indeed was our decision to linger because the boat was waiting for the lock at St. Katharine Dock to allow the large sailing vessel--Ardwenna of London and several smaller cruisers--to come in. Les was totally in his element, thrilled at the site of the large masted ship gently inching her way in first and tying up carefully, the small plastic cruisers gingerly coming to a stop in single file beside the large wooden hull.
Both lock keepers were women which impressed me no end. I am of the age that remembers still when women weren't allowed to take on anything that was traditionally undertaken by men. Les asked the lock keepers scores of questions to which they answered with a smile while raising the outer lock wall to the Thames.
The cost of mooring in this marina is not cheap. At £5.45 per meter per day it would cost us £95.00 a day to tie up here. NB Valerie is 17.5 meters long. One can also purchase a weekly, monthly or annual berth at £23.30, £70.00 and £560.00 per meter. We will let you do the math!
This is a non-residential marina which means one can come in and out of the marina with one's boat and one can visit it, but one cannot live aboard. There is also an additional charge for electricity. Water is available at every berth provided you bring your own hose. Mobile and fixed pump out for sewage is available upon request--and an additional charge. Surrounding the marina are VERY posh places to eat and shop, and facilities such as a washeteria (laundromat for Americans) and toilets. The boats and small ships moored in St. Katharine Dock Marina are worth many millions all together. This is yet one more way in which those with financial means and a yen for adventure can cross the Pond (the Atlantic) and visit Britain. As for me--there are no ships large enough for me to feel comfortable crossing an ocean. I will gladly stick to canals and rivers.
|It's hard to believe there might be any room in this lock for another boat...|
|...and yet the lock keeper managed to fit two cruisers in as well.|
|The small plastic cruisers make haste to join the large barge in the lock.|
I have to say I was tempted, as I watched Les scamper with excitement up and down the lock side with camera in hand, to yell out in a muffled voice, "It's so different from mooring up in America," just to see if he was gullible enough to repeat the performance! Les was having so much fun--and it was a treat to see him happily engaged after all we've been through and still have ahead of us--so I chose to sit quietly and behave instead of attempting to take the piss out of him yet again.
|The lock barrier on the Thames side begins to rise.|
|Finally the lock is full and even with the marina.|
|Boaters coming off the Thames wait while the lock keeper poles the rubbish to the front of the boats.|
|She pulls the orange boom across, catching the garbage which is pulled over to one side out of the way.|
After the rubbish was caught up and pulled aside, the large red lift bridge across the marina entrance went up and the small cruisers exited first.
|Ardwinna's tall sails and rigging inspire awe in a narrow boater!|
Eventually she came to rest moored up near another of her kind at the far West Northwest side of the marina.
|The blue bridge inside St. Katharine Docks Marina rising for the graceful masted ship.|
|Two similar boats wait for their sister ship. Xylonite left the marina once Ardwinna was moored up and the lock was allowed to fill for vessels going out on to the Thames.|
|This public art installation by Dale Devereaux Barker has greeted all who walk along St. Katharine Docks since 1998. DD Barker has an amazing portfolio of public exhibits and commissioned work.|
|Les in a hurry to enter St. Katharine Dock to see the sailing ships.|
By the time the blue lift bridge was back down again we were on our way by bus back home to NB Valerie. With this third London post we ended our FIRST day in London!
I also want to take a moment to give a warm shout out to Molly in America--a transplanted Staffordshire "gel" who recently made our daughter Shiery's acquaintance and now follows our blog. Welcome along on our journey Molly!