The Long Row Home
Odessa’s starting crew were all in great spirits in the morning looking forward to the adventure ahead.
All gigs set off towards the Cumberland basin lock for a 10:30am lock-out. The excitement in the dock was palpable with good banter between the crews, as the lock gates opened and the beauty of the river Avon at high water was revealed, tree lined and meandering. 10 minutes in and the second highlight for Odessa’s crew as we rowed downstream with the majestic Clifton suspension bridge high above.
The crews set off down the river towards Avonmouth. Coming past Sea Walls with Sea Mills in view, the faster crews waited for those who were making the most of the fantastic scenery. They then had to keep right and then take a wide line around Horseshoe bend.
The Odessa headed towards a crew change at the muddy Crockerne Pill slipway, rowing past the Powder House and Chapel Pill and arriving 1 ½ hours after setting off. Coming alongside the slip to the signing of “Happy Birthday” to one of our crew members; like a very tuneful pirate shanty! (but without the grog!) Even with wet and muddy feet the changeover was swift (7 minutes) before continuing out to Avonmouth. The Avonmouth Bridge loomed up ahead, not as beautiful but just as impressive as the first. The other gigs were waiting for the Odessa and at Hoveringham Buoy; permission was requested from Bristol VTS to cross in front of Portbury Dock across two shipping lanes in order to proceed to Portishead Marina for a lock-in at 1:12pm.
The gigs were dwarfed by a Grimaldi Container ship which they rowed past making a big bow wave that rocked the Odessa but the stoic crew powered through. A cooling shower and a few waves welcomed them to the Portishead skyline.
The Odessa arrived too early for the lock-in so her adventurous cox, Tim, took the crew down to Battery Point, all enjoyed the views until they had to row back to the lock against the tide. One last effort before bringing Odessa home. In the dock Odessa moored alongside the big posh yachts, the crew were proud to take her to her mooring knowing how far she had travelled. We are all looking forward to our next big adventure!