Footprint's new Home - Preston Marina, and the locks that protect it and keep it full of water
[Kyle]Not nearly enough hours later after our miserable Irish Sea passage, we woke to find Footprint floating in a puddle with a depth of 1.5 meters surrounded by mud at the bottom of a canyon formed by the lock walls. I climbed the ladder and walked to the marina to find out where they wanted to put us once the tide came up and we entered the harbor. The marina manager was very nice, which I really needed, and went to great lengths to make sure I knew about every possible berth that was available and that I got my very first choice of all of them. I asked about the lock gates and the swing bridge and he said the gates open automatically at high tide but the bridge needs to be swung by the operator. He said they knew we were coming.
I got back to the boat and within a couple of hours, the tide has shot up the four meters necessary to open the gates. We entered the first basin and were hovering around waiting for the bridge when the operator called us on the radio and very testily informed us that he expected a call in advance if we were intending to come through. I apologized and tried explaining that it was an innocent misunderstanding. I thought the marina had told them. This didn’t calm him down, and he insisted on giving us a public tongue-lashing. Whatever. If it makes him feel better to vent, then vent. We’re sorry, already.
At the marina, we found that our preferred slip was a very tight fit. The fairways were wide enough to transit but had almost no room for making the turn into the slip. The slip only gave us around a foot on either side and the boats on both sides stuck out, making it very hard to thread the needle and get a line on the float before being blown onto one of our neighbors. We finally got in safely on the third attempts and both breathed a big sigh of relief.
We spent the rest of that day tidying Footprint back up to her pre-Irish Sea condition. The next day, we headed out for a look around and found ourselves quite pleased with our new surroundings. The marina has a well-equipped chandler as well as a café. The surrounding area has several good stores very close by. There is even a couple of decent-looking restaurants, including a nice pub with a Thursday Quiz night.
The marina occupies about a quarter of a huge deep water basin, the rest of which is unused. It looks like the perfect size for a sail in the dinghy, when it’s not freezing, that is. Preston is to be our home (at least for now), and so far it's OK.