30-Apr-2005 -- One of the few remaining unvisisted confluence points in the UK, and again it's an offshore point. This will be my third offshore point and just for a change, I've not done any of the organising.
We havebeen planning on doing this point since the last week of February, when Phil and Dawn nipped down to Norfolk to go and check out the area and make some initial contacts for obtaining a boat.
Phil confirmed that their Australian friends would be coming along as well - no, they're not quite that dedicated, it's a 150 mile drive from london not a 12,000 mile flight.
I tried to make it a real international visit, and tried to get Rainer Mautz to come along, but unfortunately he had to go home to Germany this weekend. I then mentioned the visit to Werner Furlan who I did some visits with last year, but he had a conference in Basle to attend.
There have been previous attempts at collecting this point, so let's hope we are going to be third time lucky. To "warm-up" for this event I did a quick repeat visit to 52N 00 yesterday. A lovely warm late spring evening.
Bit different today though, as I write this initial part of the report, sat in the car park at Morston Quay, looking out through rain soaked windows into the persistent drizzle....which the forecast on the radio says "will soon clear away". We'll see....
Phil, Dawn, Kelly & Fred arrive just before our agreed metting time of 9am and introductions were soon made. Phil had arranged for the local newspaper to meet us to do a piece and I had spoken to the reporter for about 20 mnutes the previous evening.
A look at the detailed topo map for the area shows that the area around Morston is extremely flat, there are large expanses of marshes and mud flats. Indeed in a very high tide, the marshes completely disappear under water. The tide here is not that great, unlike the 20 feet range at 54N 3W, so there is only a narrow window of opportunity to get out of the channel from the quay.
We hopped into a flat bottomed punt and our skipper John took us out to his commercial craft (lobster fishing), where we took the photos and then the journalists departed to leave us to it.
We set off for the point, when I found that the GPS used on the boat is set to datum OSGB36 as opposed to the WGS84 that we use! John took us out to 53N and then allowed the boat to drift back to 1E. This shows the difference between the two datum reference schemes.
John then turned the boat around and took us back to the exact WGS84 spot. So you could say we visited it twice over! Again I was very impressed with the seamanship to keep the boat exactly on the spot long enough to gather the proof
I didn't bother with photo's to the North or East (look at the map) so the main photo is taken due South back towards Morston. Even though we were only just a mile off the coast, and the sea was calm the bad weather meant limited visibility. To the West we see the Norfolk coastline
As we returned to Morston Quay our skipper took us past the seal colony before stopping off on the way back to top off the tanks. The boat is unable to get to the quay, so about once a month the fuel bowser is towed into harbour and filled up.
Arriving back at harbour, John's colleagues
were waiting for the transport, reminding us that what we were doing for fun, they do for a living, whatever the weather.
Our skipper then asked us back to his house for a cup of tea, an invitation which we were happy to take up. It is a lovely house with a magnificent view, even better is that they are now doing Bed&Breakfast and it would make a fantastic base to explore the area from.
To celebrate we retired to the pub (pic 10) for a celebratory beer, before heading off to find some fish and chips. To be eaten sitting on the harbour edge while Phil indulged in some crab fishing.
All in all a fantastic day out, hopefully Phil and crew may be up for some others later in the year (I'm thinking 53N/4W).
...and so another dot on the map turns red