24. May, 2018

Shivering Sands Fort

As soon as Nathan said that there was a new cache on another of the Maunsell Forts, I knew I’d have to go for it.šŸ¤” I soon had a boat, a date and almost immediately, a motley crew to make the journey.

For most of the day before our trip, I was in contact with the boat people. A strong north easterly wind seemed to be the problem and it wasn’t until after 2000 that I could give my shipmates the news that we were going.

The last time I’d arranged a trip out on the Girl Mandy to Red Sands Fort, there was a fault on the gear box on the day of our trip so we had to postpone.šŸ¤¬ So I still had reservations even when I was parking up on Two Tree Island at 0945. I spoke to the skipper and he put my mind at rest saying that we wouldn’t have any problems although it might get a bit uncomfortable from time to time. Once everyone had arrived, some slightly delayed by a big accident on the A127, we were on the tender, on the Girl Mandy and chugging out of Leigh-on-Sea.

Once we’d cleared Southend Pier, we were out there with the big boys, carrying their freight out on the high tide. We were riding their bow waves so we did get bounced about a bit and quite a bit of slop was flying about.

Still, mugs of tea and coffee arrived at various time and the Forts were looming large. It took us about two and a half hours to get to Shivering Sands Fort and the skipper got to within a few yards of the remains of the damaged section that we were after. Many photos were taken as proof that we had arrived.

I then realised that the stress of yesterday had left me ill-prepared.šŸ˜” I didn’t have any paper or a childhood memento with me. Some paper was soon sorted and I was able to get my proof. After we had all had enough, I gave the skipper the nod to set off for Red Sands Fort. We spent some time here and I wanted a photo of the Radio 390 sign that I had missed last. Once we had all done what we needed to do here, we were off to the wreck of the WW2 Liberty ship, SS Richard Montgomery. Some of my shipmates were unaware that there was 1400 tonnes of TNT down below.šŸ˜¬ We didn’t spend much time here but if the explosives had gone off, we would probably been riding a 30’ tsunami wave back to Two Tree Island.šŸ˜¬

The fun had not ended because we had probably returned to port too early as we got stuck on a mud bank about 200 yards from the tender. The skipper was moving us around the boat to try to free us. Some of us thought that we’d run out of fuel because of all the revving to try to get us off. Finally the tide rose enough to free us and we all arrived on the causeway at 1720.

So, what a great day! A brilliant trip and many thanks to the CO for setting us the challenge and also Matt the skipper and his crew man who provided the refreshments.

Many thanks to my shipmates - Frantica, doggywalker, cazmockett, HelennTribe, Kris&Co, pippitt, pitbul69, Infinson and nathanjhunt - for making it such a great day.šŸ˜

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