Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Web Site Changes/Additions - Members Photo Gallery

Today, I've added some things to the web site:

An icon "Where is Balmoral?" that when clicked on, opens a link to 'live' AIS showing Balmorals current/last known position. 

In the 'Links' section I've added a link to a Flickr page I've set up for the Bristol Channel Branch Members (faces) Gallery.  There are only two pictures in there so far - don't be shy, email a photo of yourself  to bchannelmg @  together with your name, where you live (as vague as you like, town or county) and the name of the pier you most often use. (if you copy and paste the email address, remove the spaces either side of the @ symbol)

Not got a decent picture? or don't know how to email one? don't worry...... I'll be prowling the decks of Balmoral, armed with a loaded camera ready to shoot victims subjects to add to the gallery - look out for me!

Peter Havard

Monday, 25 July 2011

Balmoral Annual Trip To Padstow 12th July 2011

I arrived at Penarth pier at 0745 for the 0800 departure, Balmoral was already alongside and most passengers on board. The skies were slightly overcast and there was a cool easterly breeze blowing. Departing on schedule, and with the following breeze and flat sea it was a pleasant trip to our first stop - Ilfracombe.  We made good time, arriving a little early.

At 'Combe about 50 left us for their 10 hours ashore and a slightly larger number boarded for Padstow.  With the same light wind, hazy sunshine and flat sea, we sailed close inshore to Morte Point, then on towards Baggy Point before turning to cross Bideford Bay and pass close inshore to Hartland Point.  We then took the direct - offshore - route towards Padstow.

Again, we had made good time and arrived early off the Camel Estuary. The pilot was ready waiting for us, so no time lost in getting alongside.  The channel to the harbour passes very close to the shore (a lot closer that it appears in the photos, below) it must be quite a sight for the holidaymakers seeing Balmoral so close to the beach.  The water here is very clear, so clear that we could see the bottom - a bit disconcerting for those of us who sail the muddy waters of the upper channel!

Once tied up, we had one and a quarter hours ashore - time enough for a cream tea or fish & chips at one of Rick Steins many establishments or a walk around the harbour and an ice cream.
Approaching Padstow, the channel hugs the shore

Shall I have - a pasty? a cream tea? or fish & chips? or all three???
Alongside, on the sand wharf.
Then it was back on board to retrace our steps.  Sailing down the Camel, we encountered a racing fleet of about 30 gaff rigged "Cornish Shrimpers(?)" they made a fine sight with their tan coloured sails - though some had to be reminded that we were 'constrained by our draught' and steam does not always have to give way to sail.

After dropping the pilot we passed inside of Newland Island and then kept close inshore all the way to Hartland.  Passengers who had bought (proceeds towards the appeal) a copy of the souvenir map produced by branch member Clive Headon, were able to follow our progress and identify the places passed.

Taking the scenic route delayed our arrival back at 'Combe only slightly and we left for Swansea just 15 minutes late.  There was another slight delay when off the Mumbles, we had to board a pilot to take us into the river berth.  All passengers were off the ship shortly after 2300 and on one of the 3 coaches bound for Penarth.  Myself?, I was staying aboard, for tomorrow I was taking over as be continued.

Peter Havard

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Waverley and Balmoral on Facebook

Waverley and Balmoral now have an official page on Facebook CLICK HERE to view - if you're not a member of Facebook (that includes me!) you'll have to join to view the page and read the messages.

The new page includes a link to our new 'Just Giving' page as well.  For non Facebook users we've added a link to that page in our 'Links' section - further down this page.

Would Facebook users please 'like' the page and encourage their friends to do the same.  Users can, if they wish, set up their own 'Just Giving' page to help the appeal along.

Peter Havard

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Balmoral Dry Docking Update

I was working aboard Balmoral yesterday (Saturday).  Arriving at 0900 the dry dock was being flooded to float the ship, the deck crew were painting the deck houses, funnel, ventilators etc.  The catering crew were busy cleaning and painting, trying to get things ship shape – both crowds working until after 1900 before calling it a day.

Down below in the forward (Britannia) lounge things are progressing well – the floor covering is laid, most of the panelling is up and the seating frames are ready to be fixed.  But there is still a lot to be completed before the ship is ready for service.  Personally, I can’t see her being on the channel for Wednesday. I think there is a minimum of 3 or 4 days work still to do, then the crew have to spend most of a day doing their drills (fire and emergency)  Thursday is an ‘off service day’ anyway, so maybe we’ll see her ‘out’ on Friday 8th – fingers crossed! 

Below are some recent photos – before and after painting -  also, there are contrasting pictures of the forward lounge taken 11 days apart.
Peter Havard

Primed ready for painting
no patches this year
Forward lounge 11th June
and on 28th June

Friday, 1 July 2011

Balmoral Bristol Channel Start Delayed

Due to a delay in Balmoral going to Sharpness for drydocking (caused by a problem with the dock gate not being able to be closed).  Plus unforseen extra work having to be carried out, Balmorals Bristol Channel season start has been put back to Wednesday 6th July.

The scheduled trips for the first 7 days are:
Wednesday 6th         Weston - 10.30,  Penarth -11.30  to Ilfracombe and return.
Friday 8th                  Swansea - 10.00  to Ilfracombe (and Exmoor coast cruise - 14.30) and return.
Saturday 9th              Penarth - 11.00,  Clevedon - 12.00,  Portishead - 12.30  cruise River Severn
                                 Portishead - 14.00,  Clevedon - 14.30,  Penarth - 15.30  cruise Holms Islands
                                 Clevedon - 17.30/19.30  Fireworks Showboat  Penarth - 22.30,  Clevedon 23.30
Sunday 10th              Penarth - 11.00,  Clevedon - 12.15,  Bristol - 13.30 Cruise 3 Rivers, 5 Bridges and return.
Monday 11th             Clevedon - 11.15,  Penarth - 12.30,  Minehead - 14.15  Cruise Porlock Bay and return.
Tuesday 12th             Penarth - 08.00,  Ilfracombe - 10.45,  Padstow - 14.15 - 15.15 and return.