|Let the good times roll…
Last month I featured a little edit in my newsletter, entitled ‘Let the good times roll…’; I included details of some of our upcoming Special Events but these felt like a world away from what our ‘lock-down’ life felt like. So, I thought it may be entirely appropriate to use the same heading again, to update you on how the good times are rolling!
I would like to highlight one of our recent Special Events, which this time last month I was really looking forward to but seemed a distant dream and now stands out to me as my favourite evenings so far, since re-opening.
Of course, we were hugely excited for the Countess Wear Evening Cruise but it was hard to imagine what it would be like and I couldn’t help but wonder if it would be as enjoyable as before, given the new restrictions which we hold a moral responsibility to facilitate and enforce as best we can.
The Countess Wear Evening Cruise took place, as planned on Tuesday 21st July. This was our first Special Event of the summer season which had been able to go ahead as planned and we were overwhelmed by the number of bookings which came flooding in during the week and days leading up to it. We made the decision to run both boats for the evening; the weather was set to be glorious and it felt like an opportunity for a perfect summers evening, not to be missed.
I noticed the Spring Tide start to aggressively flood past the docks entrance and into the river about an hour before boarding time. For those who aren’t aware, we are only able to run this particular cruise on an exceptionally high Spring Tide, which is one of the reasons that it is so special!
As soon as we left the docks and started to head up river, the water was as smooth as ever and it was starting to transition into a perfectly tranquil evening on the Exe, as we meandered up in convoy towards Topsham. Daylight began to turn into evening at around 20:00 and by the time we headed under the main M5 motorway bridge past Topsham, the fierce evening sun drenched everything in its path in a vibrant orange glow.
It was absolutely beautiful.
The on-board atmosphere was happy and relaxed; the Crew worked tirelessly and energetically, serving passengers in their seats – local beer, crisp cold Sauvignon, light-hearted chatter and the occasional clinking of glasses all made for a cosmopolitan feel – perhaps the closest that most had been to being ‘on holiday’ for several months.
As we approached the furthest navigable point of the River Exe, passengers waved to jolly folk in their waterside gardens and on their balconies, dining Al Fresco. The bright orange sun was blinding by this point and everyone on board appeared fixated to its beauty. I took loads of photos but they never quite do justice to ‘the real deal’.
We turned slowly at Countess Wear and there was a group of Kayakers and a large ballet of white Swans – people and nature enjoying the blissful evening as one. It was heavenly.
As we started to make our way back down the river, the scenery was just as mesmerising and many passengers faced towards the stern of the boat, with their eyes still fixed to the setting sun, as it narrowed into an orange dot and disappeared off of the horizon. By this point we were at Lympstone, sailing close to the orange cliffs on the high tide and the air became chilly. It felt sleepy and relaxed and people kept warm with blankets.
We arrived back to Exmouth Docks for around 21:30 and as passengers disembarked, they had nothing but praise and thanks for such a wonderful evening. This was reciprocated by our Skipper and Crew who also thoroughly enjoyed the evening!
Our next Countess Wear Evening Cruise will be on 19th August and this will be the last of the year. Let’s hope for an evening as perfect as this.