We were given a trip on the paddle steamer Waverley for a Christmas gift, and took it on 24th - Friday when it was blowing strong and cold from the North, so it was difficult to keep warm. Boarded at Dover and sailed (or steamed, or paddled) round to the Thames and up to Tower Pier, with Tower Bridge being opened for us to pass through, whereupon we all gave three hearty cheers. En route there were few birds to see until we were well into the estuary, with loadsa Common and Sandwich Terns, and 3 Arctic and 2 Great Skuas.
We joined at the Cruise Terminal, where Dover Marine Station used to be
Waverley was tied up alongside, moving gently in the slight swell coming in the Western entrance
As we sailed, the launch followed us to take off the Pilot after we were clear of the harbour
South Foreland Lighthouse (otherwise known as Jennie's Lighthouse) from the sea
Ostend Spirit, formerley Stena Challenger (I think, I do recall the bridge wings have glass floors, a bit disconcerting when I was aboard when my pal was Mate on her) at Ramsgate about to sail
North Foreland before the weather tuned cloudy and cold
The engine room was a superb sight, with a mascot on the middle (presumably medium pressure) eccentric crank
Movement, power and the smell of hot oil, super
Somewhere off Margate
We passed quite close to the Maunsell Forts - spooky
More forts alongside the windfarm
Cold now, everyone else inside in the warm except for the smokers!
A break in the clouds over Minster in Sheppey
Round in the estuary a Tug put on this fire hose display, presumably for the Waverley
Q E 2 bridge, an unusaul change to go underneath!!
One of the Thames Barriers closed, a dredger was working just upstream
The O2, I still prefer Millennium Dome, with the city towers behind
It was becoming quite dark as we stooged about in the Pool of London waiting for the bridge to open at 7pm
Which it did, super
Safely through, we tied up at Tower Pier after 3 rousing cheers
Assisted most suitably by this vintage Thames Tug, the Revenge, powered by a diesel electric arrangement, I believe using a marine version of the English Electric supercharged diesel engine used in BR diesel engines, sounded lovely