Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.
Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Dartmouth..........the good bits.............

It was once a mighty old oak. Its greenery was home to a menagerie of wildlife, thousands of insects and bugs; a few birds, maybe a squirrel or two.  But now it was toppled. A gale a few years ago whistling through its boughs proved too much and the tree's ancient roots were torn from the earth. And so it lies, its once proud branches light greyish brown, devoid of greenery and skeletal like; its upper limbs bleached by decades of sun and rain.

Lower branches have been blackened with successive rising tides and become a trap for all the river flotsam. Twigs, reeds, driftwood and plastic. Only one branch now lifts proudly skywards and it once again serves duty. An observatory, for the elegant heron.

Several herons in fact. Plus two egrets who clearly have not attained status in the wading bird world. For they were consigned to the mud, standing there forlornly prodding at the mud with their bills and surrounded by ducks. Above the majority of grey herons stood motionless, long graceful necks erect, surveying their estuarine kingdom. But teaching has taught me, that in any class, there is always one. On a lower bough, clearly of lower status, one heron was playing with sticks. Eccentric behaviour, the heron would shake the stick vigorously from side to side and then drop it, only to quickly retrieve said stick, stalk back up the trunk and do it all again. The heron clan studiously ignored this errant behaviour. He/she was clearly letting the side down.

Meanwhile, something unusual. The soundscape!  One of clucking pheasants in the fields behind, the melodic munch of cows in pastures on the hill, the wind whistling through tree tops at the water's edge; the gurgle or river waters flowing beneath Arwen's anchored hull. What was missing? The sound of humans!  And so the sun shone. There was warmth on my back. The river was flat. I watched wildlife through binoculars stretched out across her aft cockpit thwarts. Life was serene.

Little did I know what was to beset me later..........but for 25 minutes.........there was peace, calm and serenity on my part of the river Dart!

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