It is mid June – and yet rain continues to fall and the wind keeps up its blow. It seems like summer will never be here. The yard should be empty, with everyone enjoying the water, but this year it is at its busiest. As fast as we put one afloat, we haul another out; the hard never seems to get empty, as jobs pour in and demands for the hoist and crane increase. Patient customers wait their turn for favourable winds and tide to ensure a successful launch. This month it seems that when the tide has been in, the wind has blown, and when the tide has been out, the air has been still.
Both workshops are full too. Northumbria – the large ex-police launch that arrived last year – is coming to the end of her re-fit and has gone inside for body work preparations, before her final paint and polish. There is still much to do before we see ‘Northumbria’ gracing the Deben but progress is on schedule. Little ‘Chloe’ is finishing her osmosis treatment after: shot blasting, filling, fairing and epoxy coating – she is a well cared for little vessel that is admired by many.
This month a few well known Deben houseboats have come to the yard for a lift out and survey, filling the quay with a mix of old traditional wooden and steel Dutch barges and modern fibreglass canal boats. The quay has also been busy lifting boats up from the Tide Mill, increasing the demand for lifts and space to work. Each day our quay tells a different story of life on the water. As each boat is lifted, it is pressure washed and scraped, leaving the smell of the seaweed is in the air and the crunch of barnacles beneath your feet.
Our resident Oyster Catchers have happily paired up and many have raised their young and are back enjoying the freedom intense egg rearing denies an attentive parent. A group of young bachelor swans have graced the wetlands and are constantly flying off in groups of 20 or more, honking and flapping their wings with great fuss and bluster. One particular territorial older male sees the arrival of these youngsters as a threat and will do anything to disturb their peace (and ours), as he fiercely defends his pen and his nesting ground. His attentions are merciless and the youngsters flee for their lives when he approaches with menace. The kingfisher is back, but only the most patient of ornithologists will catch his flash of blue; as he flies, he keeps low enough to be hidden by the water line or banks.