27 September, 2010

Thames RIB Experience - review

Had a really great time on Saturday, my folks arrived early to pick up Thomas (baby-sitting duty) enabling Flyingpops and I to head off into London, not as commuters this time, but as tourists (which makes a very nice change in my case)...once we had done the journey up (went to Charing Cross), we started off with a leisurely GBK in Covent Garden -
GBK Blue Cheese Burger
- I had the Blue Cheese, Flyingpops had the Veggie and Camembert (which refused to stay in one piece, so highly was it stacked with vegetarian goodness) then we had a little stroll around the area, checking out Trafalgar Square -
Trafalgar Square
- where they had a ship in a bottle on the fourth plinth -
Trafalgar Square
- and I got *very* lucky with the light for this shot -
Trafalgar Square
- which ended up looking almost HDR (but wasn't, obviously) -
Trafalgar Square
- and felt sorry for the poor (unable to pose) tourists visiting - as all the lions were surrounded by giant tarpaulin covered fences (I snuck the lens behind one) to get a cheeky picture...we then strolled down to Embankment (passing hoards of unused Boris bikes) -
Boris Bikes
- to our destination, the Embankment Thames Clipper pier -
Thames RIB Experience
- which, if anything, seemed to be busier on the weekend than during the week...The right hand end of the pier was turned over to the check in/dressing area of the RIB experience -
Thames RIB Experience
- so we went ahead and checked in (being told - contrary to the clear instructions on the email confirmation - that we should have bought our original vouchers with us, but they managed to smooth it over with "head office") and then discovered that the entire river had been closed by the Thames Harbour Master because today was the day of the Great River Race! They admitted that had they realised they would have asked everyone to re-book on a different day, at this announcement a large group of men (a well behaved stag party) all paraded off to the pub, after leaving a mobile number, and we hung around on the pier watching the odd procession of rowing boats parade past (to cheers and encouragement from all the spectators watching from the foot-bridge above -
Thames RIB Experience
- well, I say we, as soon as Flyingpops realised the pier was slightly rising and falling (she was on it for about ten minutes before noticing) she suddenly felt horribly sick and ran back to terra firma (not a good indication of things to come)...! Anyway, when the last of the stragglers hauled themselves under the Hungerford Bridge (about half an hour later) -
Thames RIB Experience
- the two RIBs were able to return to the pier (having been stuck up by the O2 Arena, complete with passengers, for the entire race duration), a quick phone call to the Stag do to summon them back later, we were handed *very* waterproof coats and lifejackets ("Don't pull the red toggle or we will charge you twenty five pounds to re-charge the cylinder") -
Thames RIB Experience
- (modeled here by Flyingpops) and then we were loaded onto the boat(!) -
Thames RIB Experience
- and then (much to Flyingpops relief) we were off(!) -
Thames RIB Experience
- starting with a quick burn down, past the Houses of Parliament and the O2 -
Thames RIB Experience
- learning that the two bridges either side are painted the colours they are to match the themes of Parliament and the House of Lords (same thing with the gazebos where the members and peers nip out for a smoke) -
Thames RIB Experience
- spotted St Thomas' (where baby Thomas got his name) -

- and then zoomed off for the first of several high speed runs (to the theme music to James Bond) I managed a few shaky shots as the London landmarks vanished past us at incredible speed -
Thames RIB Experience
Thames RIB Experience
Thames RIB Experience
Thames RIB Experience
Thames RIB Experience
Thames RIB Experience
Thames RIB Experience
- (past the office) -
Thames RIB Experience
- past the O2 -
Thames RIB Experience
- and up to the Thames Barrier where we stopped and turned around -

- and absolutely blasted back the way we came -

- the driver demonstrating that RIBs can still operate at a 45 degree angle by pitching us towards immovable objects (including the bank) at about 70 miles per hour and saving us from dismemberment and subsequent drowning only at the last possible moment -
Thames RIB Experience
- my goodness, this thing really had some power, and sat as we were, mere inches from the water it was staggeringly exhilerating...oh, and I can confirm (thanks to our drivers habit of deliberately crossing the wake of other vehicles, pitching us into the air and splashing us with lots of water, that the Thames is indeed a tidal river - the taste is distinctly salty...yum... >;P

Worth every penny, great, *great* fun... ;)

3 comments:

Tom Hopwood said...

Life in the fast lane, you guys certainly make a splash. Glad you had a great time. Great pix too.

¨°º©[ Fink ]©º°¨ said...

It was excellent fun!

Flyingpops said...

We loved it Tommo... I've always been a speed freak!!!