On Monday I twitched a tallship.
The missus was about and we fancied doing something exotic with the day. By the time we were actually up and about Clacton was off the cards, but Southend was looking promising. Checked the internet to see if it'd got any more crap since I was last there, and saw that the tallship Artemis was docked up at the end of the pier. Sold.
I've always sailed, and when I was seventeen I spent 3 weeks on this thing. Tallships are one of the many things I'm unreasonably geeky about.
Of course, to reach the end of the pier, you must first walk down the pier. Let me introduce you non-locals to THE LONGEST PLEASURE PIER IN THE WORLD, all glorious 1.33 miles of it. Remember folks, only in Essex. As a photographer it's against the law to visit without taking an arty farty perspective shot of the pier, probably with some poncy sepia filter applied. I am nothing if not a law abiding citizen.
This was Lulu's first trip to Southend, so we did the traditional walk down and train back. On the way down we had the pleasure of watching the RNLI hovercraft out on the flats trying to drag some kids off of one of the stranded boats. Very friendly chaps - we even got a wave.
This was a meer sideshow however - the real meat of this trip lay at the other end.
A very nice ship, if not quite as authentic as the Soren Larson. For a start it had an engine (cheats) and a proper bar, but it was very nicely kitted out belowdecks, and the rigging on these things is always a marvel.
Having wandered round the tallship we took a quick look in the RNLI shop where I got to espouse a little bit of interesting local history, AKA the tale of the Richard Montgomery, a World War II warship wrecked about 2 miles off the coast of Southend. If this stockpile ever goes up, Sheerness is in a lot of trouble.
Keeping this vaguely on topic, the train back to the seafront produced 3 Turnstone picking about on the flats near the Pier. The area around the beach was far too heavily disturbed to see anything else (this was a sunny bank holiday monday in Essex's PREMIER seaside resort), but there were also gulls aplenty. I picked up Black Headeds, numerous Herring (you wouldn't believe these things were red listed if you lived by Southend seafront) and a few Lessers, with a couple of suspected Greaters way out away from the crowds. No Meds, but the endless people on every exposed inch of sand made it unlikely at best.
Away for more Wedding action (other peoples') over the weekend so there'll be limited opportunities for birding, but I'll see what I can come up with.