Friday 28th September 2001 dawned rather misty, but by nine o’clock the sun had come through brightly.
Here Colbelfret’s Victorine heads for the Continent while Waverley awaits her departure from Tilbury. After picking up a full load of catering stores, the steamer set sail at 09.15 across the glassy, shimmering water towards Southend.
At Southend more passengers boarded for the furthest flung town of Essex, which is Harwich. Also boarding were a party of VIPs from the Heritage Lottery Fund, in connection with the Completion Phase of Waverley’s Heritage Rebuild.
Although there was several miles’ visibility, land was totally hidden as we steamed on to Clacton. As usual, speed was reduced through the Swin Channel, marked by its distinctive red and white buoys, equipped with mournful bells. An excellent pick up was made at Clacton as the sun beat down.
Entering Harwich Haven, the pilot came on board.
Waverley paddled slowly in, keeping close to the north bank where numerous cargo vessels were moored. Then across to the southern shore for the approach to Halfpenny Pier, which was made very gently and precisely.
The lines are now ashore and the paddler is gently positioned for the gangway to go out on to the Pier.
In the background, Mann Line’s Estrada has just arrived at the Navy Yard berth.
The first passengers go ashore, preceded by Captain Gellatly.
There are no bollards on the Pier, so the harbour authorities had improvised special moorings for the bow and stern lines.
Note the clip (in the blue circle) linking Waverley’s bow line to the mooring line attached to the pier.
Another good number joined the ship from Harwich for the paddler’s first voyage from the port, a round trip to Clacton.
Halfpenny Pier viewed after departure.
But first up the River Stour to Parkstone Quay where DFDS’s Admiral of Scandinavia was alongside.
Mann Line’s Estrada berthed at The Navy Yard, just east of Halfpenny Pier.
In the foreground the Harwich – Felixstowe – Shotley ferry passes by.
For Waverley’s second call, Captain Graeme Gellatly took the steamer into the Pier astern, berthing starboard side to.
To compare with Waverley’s classic lines, the height of cross-channel modernity, Stena Line’s HSS Stena Discovery, passed by inwards from the Hook of Holland.
A last glimpse of Waverley alongside at Harwich taken from our coach back to Tilbury. On the north bank the container cranes of Felixstowe stand out in the gathering dusk.
This article was first published on Martin Longhurst’s Waverley – The Unofficial Site.