by Leigh Belcham
It all started with a barbecue on the beach at Ramsholt.
The year was 1996 and Waldringfield Sailing Club was celebrating its 75th anniversary. My wife Jill and I were living in Coventry at the time, but friends had invited us to join them for the weekend of fun and nostalgia. After racing on the Saturday afternoon, we had a gentle sail downriver on their yacht, and watched the sun set over Hemley church while enjoying our sausages and a glass of wine.
The following year I came across a photo I’d taken that evening. Memories came flooding back, not just of our barbecue but of the years I’d spent on the river as a teenager, mainly at Waldringfield. Grabbing some of my son’s pastels, I set to work trying to recreate the scene. I hadn’t drawn or painted anything since my schooldays, so was pleasantly surprised at the result. A year later, when we were back in the area, a walk along the river wall at Felixstowe Ferry inspired me to have another go. Continue reading
by Robin Whittle
Gillie and I retired from 505 dinghy sailing in 1995 and bought our Shrimper 19, ‘Bumble Chugger’ (124) in 1996. The Shrimper is one of the most popular of small yachts built by Cornish Crabbers Ltd. ‘Bumble Chugger’ has provided us with some wonderful adventures exploring the local estuaries and distant shores. She has also enabled us to continue racing which has been of more interest to me, but Gillie has taken part with great skill, even if not with my enthusiasm!
by Richard Steward and Robin Whittle
Estuary saltmarshes are an ecologically unique tidal area of marshland which is regularly flooded with salt or brackish water and then drained by the lowering tide. The River Deben has the highest amount of saltmarsh of any Suffolk River. It extends 18km from Felixstowe Ferry up to Melton. The width of saltmarsh between the river channel and bank varies from nothing to over 600m between Hemley and Waldringfield. Salt-tolerant plants stabilise incoming sediment creating a marsh environment that supports the aquatic food chain, provides essential coastal flood protection and improves carbon storage.
By Peter Willis
A bit more about Sam Doman’s pretty dinghy Longshore, which featured in an article by Robert Simper in the Autumn 2020 issue of The Deben. With her eye-catching blue clinker-style hull and cream single battened lug sail she’s become a distinctive sight off Woodbridge. She’s also been shortlisted in the ‘Spirit of Tradition’ section of the annual Classic Boat awards. (If you read this article before voting closes – 8th March, we hope you’ll be inspired to vote for her – voting link at the end of this article).
By Sue Ryder Richardson
Beyond its tidal reaches, the Deben meanders through ancient villages, beside grazed water meadows, and land that has been farmed for centuries. This water has brought wealth, has succoured communities, has driven the wheels of watermills, and in its workaday practicality enabled the establishment of several ecclesiastical centres along its banks.
by Sally Westwood
I heard the Little Egret’s1 alarm call before I saw it. It flew along the River Deben, against the ebbing tide. It landed at the end of a wide gully, with drenched, smooth mudflats steeped up at the sides. An Avocet2 had been walking away from the gully, along the receding shoreline, sweeping its upturned, black bill from side to side in shallow water searching for food, such as crustaceans and worms. It turned when it heard the Little Egret’s alarm, watched it land and strode rapidly towards it, determinedly. The Little Egret tucked its beak down in its chest, oblivious, neck arched round, and down, cleaning feathers on its chest. Short damp feathers on its crown were upright and spiky.
By Julia Jones
At the time of writing (Jan 2021) many families are involved – willingly or not – with home schooling. The RDA editorial team decided to join in and set this quiz to check whether you’ve been reading your Deben magazines and RDA Journal articles carefully. All the answers will be found in magazine issues 60 & 61 and in RDA Journal articles between September and December 2020. The magazines and the Journal articles are all on this website and no different answers will be accepted. If it ain’t there, it ain’t right!
Anyone can do this quiz – answers will be posted on the RDA Journal site next Friday (Jan 29th)
By Julia Jones
2020 was the year that saw the publication of two significant histories of two of the river Deben anchorages – and their associated settlements. Continue reading
Murder on the Deben by Peter Wain
The Deben is such a peaceful river but its tranquility masks deeds of theft and even murder on its banks.
On Thursday the 20th December 1352, in Bawdsey, Robert Fille, aged 32, and William Crey had an argument. It seems that this argument took place at one o’clock in the morning and it may be that both men had been drinking. It seems they were arguing over two ‘botewond’.
by Claudia Myatt
It’s 3,600 nautical miles from Easter Island to Falkland, and on this day last year I was a long way from the Deben, six days into a voyage that would take 21 days or more. Dutch sailing ship Tecla set sail from Easter Island on 6th December 2019 bound for Cape Horn, our next landfall the southern tip of South America. Our 13 day passage from Galapagos to Easter Island had been in tropical waters alive with flying fish and in calm weather we had a ‘swim stop’, jumping over the side to experience the thrill of swimming in clear sapphire water over 4km deep. Now, at 30 degrees south, we could feel the tropics slipping away. The nights were chilly and we started to unpack some of the warm clothes we would need in the colder waters of the Southern Ocean. Continue reading