The existing moorings which lie hidden in the deeper reaches of the Thames need their annual inspection, to see if they are still fit for purpose.
Through the centuries, moorings have ben laid suitable for the wide variety of shipping. 2015 was a most unusual year for visiting craft in and around Greenwich Reach. Visiting cruise ships of considerable size and draught – in fact perhaps the largest being the Viking Star on her maiden voyage – came alongside the floating PLA terminal just off Deptford Creek. 47,800 GT – 228 metres length, a beam of 29 metres, she squeezed through the Thames Flood Barrier; capable of carrying 930 passengers with a crew of 602, it makes the mind boggle.
‘Welcome’ was also cleverly adapted to become Thames Tall Ship Island for a memorable week when visitors could visit ‘Dar Miodziezy’ and ‘Santa Maria Manuela’. The MBNA Thames Clippers provided rapid transit from London Bridge City Pier and Greenwich Pier for visitors. The deep waters of the ‘Greenwich Ship Tier’ provide ideal ship to ship moorings at every state of the tide.
Over the years visiting ships enjoy this facility from cruise ships to aircraft carriers – all within sight of my studio window too!!
During January the ‘London Triton’ pursued her task of lifting a medley of anchors from the river bed for inspection. Like Trinity House, regular inspections are essential for light ships and navigational buoys, when essential work can be carried out afloat or back on shore at Trinity House or Harwich or Denton, close to Gravesend where the PLA have their depot. The use of this ‘in house’ PLA passenger terminal can be swapped to other suitable deep water moorings such as in the Lower Pool. Meanwhile we await the start of construction at Enderby Wharf for the purpose-built passenger loading facility.
Even more attractions are being provided at New Capital Quay. Beside the Waitrose these include a Costa Coffee House and a new Fullers pub to be called the ‘Sail Store’, ideally located with entrancing river views and a summer terrace. The generous promenade provides an ideal venue for both young and old with broad walk ways between Deptford and the Cutty Sark. Maritime events can also be enjoyed from the Island Gardens on the North Bank river walk. A recent family visit to the Elephant Royale Thai restaurant there provided a fun meal and wonderful views of the new and old Greenwich waterfront. I look forward to updated ‘Waterside Restaurants and Pub Guide’ (published by Tower Hamlets) to cover our side of the river too.
Talking of riverine hospitality, I can just report the upstream progress of ‘The Elizabethan’, a splendid rear paddler, which has just had a paint refreshment up in the Royals and her twin Mississippi-type funnels replaced. Ben and Venetia celebrated their wedding on board some years ago, long to be remembered! We still call her the love boat, of course.