MARLIN trip into Dee estuary July 2015

23 July: Leave Liverpool Marina at 3.32 pm (HW 4.32 7.8m). Proceed against current past New Brighton (at 4.10) then explore channel into the Meols anchorage (at about HW+17'). Survey the entrance (which then follows closely the sea wall) and note depths. Several locally-laid buoys were present. I was not sure what exactly they marked - I will take a look at low water from the Moreton seawall.

Cruise Liner Black Watch and "dazzle" ferry at Liverpool.

With 2-3 ft waves from the west and NW 3-4 wind, it was a bit lumpy proceeding on (at 4.50) along the Wirral shore and into Hilbre Swash. Carry on close inshore past Hilbre, West Kirby moorings and then enter the channel up to the Thurstaston moorings at 6.10 (HW+100'). Half tide was about 7.45. This channel is marked by locally-laid buoys which mostly mark the offshore side of the channel. I had also set up waypoints marking the offshore side of the channel shown in the 2009 Google Earth view as a back-up (the channel seems to have shifted slightly westwards since 2009).

See here for local (DSC) 2010 info about access to Thurstaston. This does not seem fully up to date. See also my later visits which show a different entrance channel.

Reach the pool (near the end of the causeway) by 6.30 (HW Liv+ 2 hours). Some yachties travelling by tender to their vessel (thank you Septimist) suggested a suitable mooring for me which I tied up to with 1.5m under my keel. As the tide fell, the mooring became very calm since the offshore banks were exposed and gave complete protection. By 7.40 (half tide) I had 0.7m under my keel and I was fully aground by 8.40. Overnight was calm and I did not even feel the water returning to refloat Marlin.

Views from my mooring at Thurstaston: towards entrance and West Kirby at LW, towards Dee Sailing club building, towards Heswall.

More views from my mooring at Thurstaston: towards West Kirby moorings and Hilbre at dawn; Rafa's house on the hill in Caldy.

Depths (metres above CD) in channel into Thurstaston moorings.

My track in and out of Thurstaston on the HO chart - emphasizing how misleading the HO chart is:

24 July. HW liverpool 4.50 7.8m. Leave mooring just after HW at 5.50 and proceed out along channel. My survey suggests the channel in/out has seabed at 3-4m above CD (which gives 1-2m depth at half tide). Calm weather. Decide to head up the Dee until the adverse current (and lack of depth) took their toll. Pass buoys Dee2, Dee3 up to Dee6. Off Bagillt the current was increasing and previous experience was that the depth runs out from near Fflint inwards. I turned around at 7.10 and headed back out. The shallower bits (bars) east of Dee3 and east of Dee1A seem to have shifted a bit since 2014.

I passed what seemed to be a small trawler - and was surprised when I caught up with it: cleaning the base of one of the Dee buoys. This was my first experience of "scrubbing buoy's bottoms".

Greenfield Gutter; Bagillt Gutter; buoy cleaning at work.

I then returned slowly with favourable current and SE 2 wind (passing Dee1A for a change) and arrived at He4 by 8.15. I headed for my usual anchorage (away from the seals who were clustered close to the point of the bank near He4). I anchored and was then aground by 9.25. (half tide 8.13). The wind was SE 2 but gradually fell although rain developed later. I took the opportunity to refresh some antifouling and remove some slime from Marlin's hull; and to get a nice siesta.

Views of seals: Hilbre (from my anchorage) and He4 buoy (passing on way out); Marlin aground (53 22.048N, 3 14.517W)

I refloated and left at 1.45 and headed back through Hilbre Swash and along the N Wirral shore. With a making tide, I had another go at surveying the entrance to Meols: This was tricky since at half tide (2.30) there was little depth in some areas - and I touched bottom once.

Proceed on into the Mersey and lock in to Liverpool Marina at 4.00.

If higher resolution versions of the above images are wanted, please contact me. All information given in good faith, but please do not rely on it.

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