Waverley travelled overnight on Thursday 21st September from Portsmouth along the south coast and round to Whitstable to start her Thames programme of cruises on Friday 22nd. The weather showed an improvement as she arrived on the Thames estuary with wall to wall sunshine as she departed Whitstable just after 2:30pm and headed for Southend for her first call of the year at the historic pier. It was noted that Waverley was not the only famous visitor to Southend as Jamie Oliver was on the pier filming his latest TV series.
By 3:45pm Waverley was in clear sight as a good crowd gathered on Southend Pier awaiting her arrival for a cruise upriver to London with coach return.
After departing from Southend Waverley made her way up river to call at Gravesend to pick up a few more passengers to bring her to almost her full compliment. With an ebb tide running strong against her the engine speed was increased to ensure she reached Tower Bridge in time for the booked bridge lift at 7:30pm.
On Saturday 23rd September Waverley departed Tower Pier just after 10am with over 700 on board for the popular sailing all the way down the Thames to Whitsable. She was turned by tug just before London Bridge before making her way under Tower Bridge and downriver.
At Gravesend and Southend a good exchange of passengers took place before the steamer headed for Whitstable. The weather improved as Waverley made her way down river and by Southend there was once again plenty of sunshine. She was about 15 minutes late on arrival at Whitsable but as Captain Cochrane explained he could not alter the return departure time owning to the strong tide and the need to reach Tower Bridge at the booked bridge lift time.
Once again on Sunday 24th September Waverley carried a full compliment of passengers in excellent conditions. She was filmed passing under Tower Bridge and the video can be viewed online. The video was also posted to the PSPS Facebook page (www.facebook.com/paddlesteamers) and has set a new record for the PSPS Facebook sight as it has reached over 140,000.
Waverley is operating on the Thames until Sunday 8th October with full details and online booking available from Waverley Excursions. She will then return to Glasgow to operate one final weekend of sailings to complete the 2017 season.