Waverley remained alongside at Harwich Halfpenny Pier overnight on Friday 28 September 2001. Fortunately the forecast westerly winds did not materialise as they would have prevented this.
Promptly at 10.30, the paddler set sail for Clacton and Tilbury, via the Pool of London. Altogether about 350 passengers were aboard. There were showers for much of the day, but there was brilliant sunshine for the upriver section. again, passengers were coached home from Tilbury.
On Sunday, Waverley made her first call of the season at Tower Pier. She had spent the night at Tilbury and swept through Tower Bridge at 10.10.
Approaching Tower Pier the paddler passed in front of the Mayor of London’s new building under construction.
Following difficulties with headroom under the Pier’s canopy last year, a special boarding platform had been constructed by London River Services from scaffolding. Although this overcame the headroom problems, the long single file section did slow down the boarding process considerably.
While going downstream, a phone call to the Balmoral revealed that she had reached her winter berth at Princes Quay at 7am that morning. She had completed her final Aqua Boogie evening cruise at Penarth, still sporting a red, white and black funnel.
Most of the downstream voyage was accompanied by drizzle or heavier rain. At Tilbury, Frank Turner joined the ship to give his display, talks and commentaries about the Thames Forts, the ultimate destination for the cruise. A large number of passengers left the steamer at Southend as they were on a one-way trip with a coach company.
And so to the Forts. Such good time was made to Red Sands Fort that Frank Turner’s talk did not finish before we had steamer past! This was redressed by a very slow turn around Shivering Sands Fort, with ample time for a description, and speed reduced past Red Sands Fort on the return passage.
This article was first published on Martin Longhurst’s Waverley – The Unofficial Site.