3 September 2018 (Monday) - Sea Forts

The banana bread lay heavy in my stomach last night and I didn’t sleep well. I finally nodded off just before the alarm went off at 3.30am. I got up, settled my errant stomach with some toast and coffee and set off to Sittingbourne for Karl.
More coffee, a quick tiddle, and then off to Queenborough for the main business of the day.

In the middle of the Thames estuary are old sea forts left over from the war. There is a geocache tied to the landing gantry of one of them, and there is a virtual geocache associated with another a few miles away. Earlier in the year I had an invitation to go out to the forts with an organised group but (in all honesty) I didn’t want to go along just to make up the numbers, so I turned down the offer. (In retrospect that was a wise decision as the boat broke down on that occasion).
Instead I contacted the boat people directly and organised a trip of my own. A dozen of us met up at the landing stage in Queenborough and we boarded the X-Pilot just as the sun was rising.

Our first target was the Red Sands Fort. We set sail at six o’clock and arrived after an hour and a half; those sea forts are amazing when seen close-up. After a little to-ing and fro-ing our boat was moored to the landing platform, and by popular acclamation I was the first person to board the fort. Five more friends (and the tour guide) joined me and we spent a few minutes having a look-see (and doing the secret geo-ritual) before hopping off the platform and letting everyone else have a go.
In total we were at the Red Sands Fort for about half an hour; it was amazing how much the tide fell in that short time.
We then sailed on to the forts at the Shivering Sands where we didn’t board the forts; all that was required for geo-purposes was a selfie. But again it was great to be there and see the things. They look impressive when seen on the horizon from the coast. Up close they were amazing. And as we sailed away we saw a seal in our wake.

We sailed back to harbour past the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery; a wrecked American Liberty ship the masts of which are still clearly visible. It was built during World War II and was used to carry cargo during the war. The ship was wrecked off the coast of Sheerness in 1944, whilst carrying about one thousand five hundred tons of explosives which are still on board and dangerous.

I took quite a few photos as we sailed. Once ashore I took another photo of the late brekkie that we had, and then we said our goodbyes and went our various ways. Pausing only briefly to drop Karl off in Sittingbourne I came home and took the dogs out. As we walked we tried to fight with a car transporter and a dustbin lorry, and we had a good swim in the river too.

We came home, and we all dozed in front of the telly for five minutes before the dogs charged up the garden barking at shadows. After the twentieth time I closed the back door to stop them bothering the neighbourhood and went back to sleep.

"er indoors TM" came home, made a rather good bit of dinner and went bowling. The intention was to watch some telly, but having set the alarm for before four o’clock this morning had taken its toll. I really should have an early night.

Oh  - and in closing today marked the seventh anniversary of Fudge joining the family. Seven years ago (to the day) I wrote “…to his credit Fudge is a quiet dog…
How things have changed…

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