Thursday, 12 January 2017

Lifeboat News, January 2017

West Mersea Lifeboat News.
by Leafy Dumas, Lifeboat Press Officer.

We welcome in the New Year with a new page in the lifeboat logbook.  Here are the entries for last year's shouts.

West Mersea Lifeboat had 62 calls for help in total.  Some shouts are weather and tide related, some involve human error or illness and some are due to engine or kit failure.   Some days we have multiple shouts, some days we have none.  Most end happily, but devastatingly some are tragic.

Record of Services, 2016.
  • 1.     10 Feb     Car stuck on Strood when tide over road.    Lifeboat stood down as no danger.
  • 2.       19 Mar    Small yacht aground – Bradwell.     Re-floated and towed to Mersea.   
  • 3.       25 Mar    Speedboat broken down with 6 POB - Jaywick.    Casualties & vessel taken to Osyth.
  • 4.       02 Apr    Assist Navy Bomb Disposal - St Peter’s Flats.   Depth Charge detonated.
  • 5.       06 Apr    Yacht OCEAN DREAMER prop fouled – Bradwell.   Vessel moored & crew taken ashore.
  • 6.       10 Apr    Semi-sunken yacht to be investigated – Osea.   Nothing found.
  • 7.       21 Apr    Fishing vessel with engine failure – Lawling Ck.  Casualty towed to Blackwater Marina.
  • 8.       22 Apr    Jet ski with engine failure – Steeple.   Casualties landed at Steeple Bay.
  • 9.       06 May   16ft powerboat with engine failure – Raysand Ch.  Towed to Burnham by Burnham ILB.
  • 10.    15 May   17ft powerboat with engine failure - Mill Beach.   Casualty towed to Mersea.
  • 11.    27 May   Red flare sighted – River Colne.    Searched but nothing found.
  • 12.    30 May   Jet ski with engine failure – Blackwater.   Casualty assisted by another vessel.
  • 13.    30 May   Kayak capsized with boy in water – Mill Beach.   Lifeboat assisted in recovery.
  • 14.    04 Jun    Outboard dinghy reported in difficulties – Thirslet.   Searched but nothing found.
  • 15.    05 Jun    Medical casualty to be transferred to mainland.   Lifeboat stood by but not required.
  • 16.    05 Jun    Medical casualty – Mersea, tide over Strood.    Transferred Paramedic to Mersea.
  • 17.    07 Jun    Man in dinghy stuck on mud - Cocum Hills.    Casualty recovered back to Mersea.
  • 18.    21 Jun    Upturned vessel reported – off Waldegraves.   No POB. Vessel towed to Mersea.
  • 19.    28 Jun    Report of something falling off fishing boat.   Vessel found laying oysters.
  • 20.    02 Jul     Yacht aground with damaged prop – Bradwell Ck.   Casualty towed into marina.
  • 21.    10 Jul     Person in the water – Stone.   Casualty rescued by others.
  • 22.    17 Jul     Jet Ski broken down & crew in mud – Lawling Ck.  Casualty towed to Mersea.
  • 23.    17 Jul     Report of paraglider crashing – South Mersea.  False alarm.
  • 24.    20 Jul     Windsurfer missing – Stansgate.  Self-recovered before ILB arrived.
  • 25.    22 Jul     Windsurfer reported drifting – Blackwater.   MFV wreckage recovered.
  • 26.    22 Jul     Dog stuck in mud – North Osea.    Recovered before ILB arrived.
  • 27.    25 Jul     Skipper of yacht had a stroke – off Bradwell.   Casualty treated. Handed to ambulance.
  • 28.    07 Aug   Yacht & powerboat aground – River Colne.    Powerboat towed to Alresford Ck.
  • 29.    07 Aug   Windsurfer with broken mast – River Colne.    Casualty taken to St Osyths.
  • 30.    07 Aug    Jet ski broken down – River Colne.    Casualty towed to Brightlingsea.
  • 31.    07 Aug    Report of 2 sailing dinghies in difficulties – Nass.   False alarm with good intent.
  • 32.    14 Aug    Packing Shed launch aground – Cobmarsh.    7 persons taken ashore.
  • 33.    14 Aug    Jet ski missing – Blackwater.   Casualty found Stansgate taken ashore.
  • 34.    17 Aug    Capsized catamaran – Mill Creek.   Casualty self-recovered.
  • 35.    18 Aug    Powerboat with engine failure – East Mersea.   Casualty towed to Brightlingsea.
  • 36.    18 Aug    Tasked to Yacht aground – West Mersea.    No help needed, others assisted.
  • 37.    18 Aug    Powerboat with fouled propeller – Sales Point.    Casualty towed to Bradwell marina.
  • 38.    20 Aug    Search for missing windsurfer – Blackwater.   Casualty recovered deceased.
  • 39.    21 Aug    Car broken down in water – Strood.   Stood by until tide receded.
  • 40.    21 Aug    Yacht BRIGHTSIDE  aground – Tollesbury.   Vessel towed off mud.
  • 41.    23 Aug    Swimmer in difficulties – Mersea beach.   Casualty ok. Launch cancelled.
  • 42.    26 Aug    Person missing from yacht at night – Mersea.  Casualty located and returned.
  • 43.    27 Aug    Yacht with broken mast – Blackwater.   No assistance required.
  • 44.     27 Aug    Yacht BELINDA with rope round prop – Nass.  Casualty towed to mooring.
  • 45.     31 Aug    Angling boat with engine failure – Osea.   Casualty towed to Steeple bay.
  • 46.     03 Sept   Yacht HORNBLOWER aground – Lawling Ck.  Landed crew ashore.
  • 47.     04 Sept   Yacht HORNBLOWER aground  - Lawling Ck.  Assisted casualty to mooring.
  • 48.     04 Sept   Windsurfer in difficulties - Bradwell.   Casualty and board brought ashore.
  • 49.     05 Sept   Small dinghy reported drifting – Blackwater.   No occupants.  Craft brought ashore.
  • 50.     15 Sept   Jet ski broken down – Mill Beach.   Casualties and Jet ski recovered.
  • 51.     24 Sept   Small motorboat with steering failure – Ray Ch.   Casualty towed to Mersea Causeway.
  • 52.     24 Sept   Catamaran with fouled prop – Tollesbury.   Unable to clear prop. Left in location.
  • 53.     25 Sept   Motorboat with steering failure – Blackwater.   Casualty towed to Bradwell marina.
  • 54.     02 Oct     Transfer paramedic to Mersea – tide over Strood.   Paramedic taken to casualty.
  • 55.     02 Oct     DSC alert received from yacht – Bench Head.   Casualty towed to Bradwell marina.
  • 56.     04 Oct     Investigate yacht adrift – Blackwater.   Vessel towed to mooring at Stone.
  • 57.     07 Oct     Transfer medical casualty ashore – Brightlingsea.   Casualty taken to ambulance.
  • 58.     12 Oct     Motorboat with engine failure – East Mersea.   Casualty towed to Brightlingsea.
  • 59.     13 Oct     Report of drifting yacht – Blackwater.   Yacht found not to be in trouble.
  • 60.     16 Oct     Person fallen in water from yacht – Strood Channel.   Casualty recovered to boathouse.
  • 61.     16 Oct     Yacht with engine failure – Waldegraves.   Casualty towed to Tollesbury
  • 62.     19 Oct     Person in water calling for help – Waldegraves.   Lifeboat stood down after launch.

The lifeboat is at the heart of every coastal community on our island nation. 

We are lucky to have a magnificent boat and crew in West Mersea with a supportive lifeboat family and wider community;  this means we can provide a safety net around our estuary coastline and truly help those in peril on the sea. Manned by volunteers. funded by donations, the RNLI is a noble organisation providing a vital emergency service.   The crew, their families and the good people who raise the funds to enable the boat to run are all pretty amazing.                                                                                
We, at West Mersea Lifeboat Station and our boat, Just George, send a MASSIVE thank you to all of you who have donated money to help keep the boat and crew ready for action.  Running a lifeboat station is a dauntingly expensive operation, yet with your help we do it. 

There are many of you who we would dearly love to mention but with only room for a few, here are some of the committed and wonderful folk who selflessly raise large amounts for the RNLI year after year after year:-

Mr Rix, with his countless sales from his Firs Road garden gate.                         The WMYC with their annual pursuit race.
The Maldon Little Ship Club with their annual sponsored row and gig race, and 
The Basin Oars from Heybridge  -  a marvellous group of enthusiastic women rowers bursting with   bonhomie.

We are grateful for every penny. 

Photo, West Mersea Lifeboat. 
The Basin Oars with lifeboat crew.

Lifeboat News, Boxing Day Dip 2016

West Mersea Lifeboat News
by Leafy Dumas, Lifeboat Press Officer.

Crowds gathered from far and wide on the Monkey Beach at West Mersea on Boxing Day morning.   The air temperature was hovering around 7 degrees Celcius but along with the windchill it felt significantly colder as hardy souls gathered in swimming attire and fancy dress ready for a chilly dip in the cold North Sea.

The Boxing Day Dip at the Monkey Beach is an annual event run by the West Mersea Lifeboat and Guild.  The aim of the bracing dip in the cold North Sea is to raise much needed funds for the RNLI.  This is the eleventh year of the dip at West Mersea and it is fast becoming a great Boxing Day tradition. There is not much better than a small dose of wonderfully invigorating madness for a very worthy cause!

150 swimmers braved the chilly waters in all manner of attire; there were elves and Santas, an incredible hulk, a tiger, a shark, sailors, men in tutus and even a swimming chef from the Victory.  Prizes were awarded for the best fancy dress with the winners being Paul Camina from New York for his cyborg costume, Caroline Bowring for her Daffy Duck outfit and George Devonport for dressing up as Mrs Claus, Father Christmas’ wife.

Thank you to The Victory Hotel for providing mulled wine and hot blackcurrant juice to fortify the dippers, to Tesco for donating mince pies, and to marvellous Lyn and Heather from the Poop Deck who saved the day with their tea tent providing hot refreshments to sustain us all.

Two lifeboats were in attendance: our own Just George from West Mersea from which Stormy Stan disembarked, and our flank station’s boat from Clacton.
Stormy Stan entertained the crowds, along with lifeboat helmsman Jason Dale with his wonderful commentary.

Thronging with hardy souls as far as the eye could see, West Mersea beach on Boxing Day was a sight to behold!  Thank you, from all of us at the Lifeboat Station, for coming.

Photographs by Sas Astro.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Lifeboat News

I have recently started writing for West Mersea Lifeboat and will, from time to time, post my Lifeboat News here.   If you happen upon a lifeboat post, fret not, artier etceteras will resume in due course. 

West Mersea Lifeboat news.                                                         
by Leafy Dumas,  Lifeboat Press Officer,   December 2016.                               

There have been some glorious high tides lately, cutting us off and affirming our island status.

There are often stories in the local news about cars stranded on the Strood at high tides, and our lifeboat often gets called out to hapless motorists stuck mid-way across.  For readers from far away, the Strood is the causeway (and only road) linking Mersea Island to the mainland.  It is sometimes covered by very high tides and there are always a foolhardy few who make the expensive mistake of trying to drive through despite our regular pleas not to.  Our mission at the RNLI is to save lives at sea.  A swamped vehicle stuck on the Strood is an uncomfortable problem for the driver and passengers but rarely life-threatening.

A more serious threat to life lies in the inability for an ambulance or a paramedic to drive onto the island when the tide covers the Strood.  This is where we come into action. These shouts, or medevacs, are some of our most crucial.  Our normal modus operandi is to take the lifeboat up the Ray Channel, meeting the ambulance at a rendezvous point on the mainland in Peldon.  From there we pick up the paramedic and take him –or her- in the lifeboat to the hammerhead pontoon on the island where our Coastguard friends will be waiting with a vehicle to rush the paramedic to the stranded casualty.  The ambulance follows by road once the tide has subsided.   In some cases we do it the other way around, taking the casualty in the lifeboat to a waiting ambulance on the mainland.

Beyond Ray Island the Ray Creek twists and turns it’s way to Peldon.  It can be tricky to navigate at speed on a dark night so we have placed a few marker posts in the saltings to help us.  Some of you eagle-eyed sailors may have noticed them shining out at crucial points along the edge of the channel.   Hanging over the bow of the lifeboat on a dark night holding a spotlight pointing low over the water, it is very reassuring to be able to pick out our posts and know we are on the right track.  With medevacs in mind, on a recent training exercise we checked the posts, replacing reflective tape in preparation for the dark winter nights ahead.  Photo by lifeboat crew, Tim Marshall.

What’s up next? 

Lifeboat Carols.  Sunday 18th December 2016.
Come and sing with the lifeboat crew!   Carol Service at the West Mersea Lifeboat Station,  Sunday 18th December 2016 at 3pm. Open to all.  There will be mulled wine and mince pies.

Boxing Day Dip.  Monday 26th December 2016.
This will be our eleventh year of dipping for the lifeboat. Come snow, come ice, come gales, come rain, come and test your mettle and wash away that Christmas fug! 

What is it?  
On Boxing Day morning brave souls from far and wide will converge on the beach by the houseboats. Some in fancy dress, some in swimming costumes or wetsuits, but all with the common goal of a bracing dip in the December North Sea to raise much needed funds for our lifeboat.  

Come and join in the fun; have a dip in the sea or support the dippers on the shore; meet Stormy Stan; see our lifeboat, Just George, and our flank station Clacton Lifeboat which will also be there.

Mulled wine and hot blackcurrant will be provided by the Victory to fortify the dippers, and marvellous Lyn and Heather from the Poop Deck will be running a tea tent providing refreshments to sustain us all.

This event is open to everyone. Fancy dress is optional. There will be prizes for the best fancy dress.  Dippers call 01206 382874 for a sponsorship form or you can enter on the day with a £5 donation to the RNLI.  Meet at 1100am on the Monkey Beach by the houseboats.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Rumblings afoot

I am rubbish at keeping up with this blog.  It's a proven fact.  To all the loyal followers I once had, I am SORRY.

Self promotion is an ugly thing. Week in week out selling requires bullish drive and a hardened soul. I must try harder.  O the drama!  I must muster all stamina, endure the failures and quash my angst and doubt.

What is it all for?

On a similar theme Nick Cohen (on speaking at literary festivals) once wrote,
"As a well brought up Englishman, it has taken me years to overcome my instinctive nervousness at asking to be paid.  It felt sordid, not the sort of thing nice people do...
...I agreed to work for nothing  then resented the festival organisers and despised myself for going along with them."

Sharing his sentiment and stealing his words I write,

As a well brought up Englishwoman, I struggle to overcome my instinctive nervousness at self promotion.  Every now and then I give it a go, but cringe with embarrassment at every post and despise myself for being a brazen show-off.   It feels sordid, and not the sort of thing nice people do.


Important Stuff;

Christmas cards are available to buy from my Etsy shop.

I am now stocking the new shop, No.4 in Mersea.  Please support it, I'd like this shop to stay.

I am also at the Salty Dogs Show in Maldon which runs until Dec 31st and is in full swing. Do go.

Something Extra;
I have a new role at the lifeboat station.

Having served more or less 8 years as a member of the West Mersea lifeboat crew I now begin a new role as lifeboat press officer.  I had a thought that I might publish lifeboat news regularly here, in my Art Blog, as well as in the local papers.  Still Leafy's Art Blog, but with added lifeboatyness to spice things up. Watch this space. 

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The making of Rosa and the Seal

Well, Easter has been and gone, the clocks have changed, time flies and now all of a sudden it's 'Get-Your-Boat-Ready-And-Back-In-The-Water' time.

Boatwork is weighing on my mind.  Obviously I should have been doing it all winter but I haven't. There are a few brave boilersuited souls tinkering in the yard but I am leaning towards wimpishness and waiting for warmer days.  The thermometer keeps hovering around six degrees which is decidedly parky.  No matter,  there is indoorsy stuff to do,  an empire to build and a blog to update.

Indoorsy. Isn't that an awful word?

Quite a lot has been going on at Leafy HQ,  a big achievement has been finishing a new picture, Rosa and the Seal.  This is a deep and dreamy classic illustration of friendship and trust. The finished Rosa can be found over in my Etsy shop (click link), do look, but here (nervously laying my soul bare) are her sketchy beginnings.