Welcome Sailors

Within sight are six skyscrapers near completion in Canary Wharf’s thriving business centre, their lofty cranes have completed their task.  The original skyscraper at One Canada Square has lost its pertinent presence as its neighbours jostle in mostly over 50 storeys high.

It was a complete surprise to glimpse from my DLR train a gleaming white tall ship gliding majestically to her designated mooring at West India Quay – a rare sight indeed.  So I doubled back to view ‘ARA Libertad’ with her cadet crew lining the taff rails, all anxious to get ashore to view the glamour of the occasion and the anticipation of shore leave after their mammoth journey across the oceans from Argentina.

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12 ports

In complete contrast, we had the privilege of having the ‘Winters’ to tea to report on their circumnavigation around the UK in their small white yacht, Nova.  The Oxford-based couple had vowed to mark their oncoming retirement with a well-planned trip around England up the East Coast up to the Hebrides, then down St Georges Channel via Liverpool and Dublin, the Welsh coast around Lands End, and back home in the Solent (nova@poplar.com).  I enjoyed making sketch maps of this.

Meanwhile Father Thames has become more revitalised as new tugs and lighters are brought into serve the giant super sewer along numerous river and Creekside sites.  The giant tunnelling machines exude massive amounts of spoil from their excavations deep under the City.

This contrast will not only be remunerative but will last for many years, the specialist tugs and lighters operated by traditional watermen.

The fleet of Thames Clippers, resplendent in new corporate colours, have been hectic shuttling tennis fans to and from the O2 – the vast sporting arena in the Dome.  A new pier has been added to serve commuters for City Airport, and an additional destination may well be planned for the ever-extending network at Barking, as our capital keeps on expanding.

A big thank you to the Othens who have managed to read my scrawl and prepare my sketches for your pleasure over many, many years!!

About RiverWatch returns

Peter Kent shares his Thames riverside studio viewpoint

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