It began raining before dawn. We woke to a pleasant pattering on the hatch above, which soon turned to a persistent drumming. There was a sound of water spilling in and we raced to close the toilet vents. Rivulets of water chased each other down the splattered side lights to well along the base of each window. The drumming grew louder and rain sluiced down the glass in torrents. John had been round the seals the day before with grease in anticipation, which seems to have paid off. We had also put up the cockpit cover and brought some of the ropes inside it to keep them dry, so it was possible to keep the companionway open to let air circulate from inside the covered cockpit. Nevertheless, the inside of the windows were all misted over and the atmosphere here below was very close. There was no question of going out. John hauled the dehumidifier from the front locker and set it going. Very quickly the nearby hatch cleared and a short time later the air felt much fresher and we could see out. The rigging of the boats to either side loomed dismally against a grey sky. We sat it out. Water penetrated the fabric of the cockpit cover just where it could drip onto the varnished surface. We set empty plastic boxes to catch the drips. More water dribbled down from one of the air vents and I stopped this by stuffing a dry cloth into the void. Our winter preparations were being given a thorough testing.

Finally the deluge stopped and we ventured out. All around the marina people were popping up like meerkats and heading off to the shops and cafes. The normally clear water of the marina basin was thick with brown mud and there was a smell of wet earth. Thankfully there were no large pieces of floating debris to be seen and there had been no storm surge. The corrugated wetland that flanks both river banks had done its job, a testament to value of salt marshes. We went out ourselves, off to the chandlers to buy sealant and waterproofing spray. John is out now busy spraying and sealing, ready for next time

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