The Return to her Birthplace
In July 1988 whilst Nigel (Noddy) and his new wife, Rosemary (Roey) were honeymooning in Tenby they discovered the Viking Saga; she was looking a little sad for herself but she was fully operational, still licensed as a Passenger boat and had retained her Maldon Registration. She was still doing what she did best, carrying trippers safely along the Pembrokeshire coast viewing the outlying islands, caves, seals and birds.
Seeing her again struck a chord and, whilst it was to be several years later (1999), Noddy bought the Viking.
Via water, road and more water she made her long and logistically arduous journey back to the river and surroundings of her birth. Rene, now 69, boarded her for the last leg and played some nostalgic melodies on her accordion as these two grand ladies made their way back down memory lane to cheers and waves from those that she passed. Unfortunately, Sonny had passed away in 1985 and was never to see the turn of events and the return of his 'dream' but we're sure that he was sharing the moment in everyones' hearts that day.
With, blood, sweat, tears, emotions, skills and a bucket load of money, the Viking was been lovingly restored back to something very reminiscent of her original design including some modernisation - she is very much looking like her old self and is now white and blue. The most noticeable visual changes, which took place many years back, is the modernised wheelhouse and the disappearance of the funnel.
With the persistence of Roey, Noddy applied to partake in the Thames Royal Pageant for the Queen's Jubilee. Huge volumes of paper work had to be completed, security checks and more security checks. She entered under the HISTORICAL SHIPS section and was accepted. The logistics and expense of motoring her up the river Blackwater to the Thames was great, she sat in the Dock at her designated berth until the night before the Pageant when they were allowed back into the Thames and had to anchor at their starting point. Someone had to sit up all night on anchor watch incase of any drag and no one was allowed to leave or embark onto the boat. She was given her start time and Noddy had to keep her at a constant low speed as per the strict rules and regulations that everyone had to adhere too. Of course you will remember that the heavens opened and absolutely everyone was cold and wet but that didn't dampen the spirit of those that wanted to honour the Queen for her 50 year reign and wish her many more. There are some photos of the Viking Saga at the Pageant, majority were taken from the television so please excuse the quality but it was grand that she was able to play apart in this historical event.
She operates during the summer months, dependent on tides, weather and passenger volume for 40 minute trips down the Blackwater, past Northey Island, Heybridge Basin to Millbeach, returning back to her jetty via Fullbridge. She is the only passenger boat that gives you the opportunity to sail past the Thames barges moored at Hythe Quay, Maldon Crystal Saltworks, the old John Sadd and Green's Mill Wharf, the new conversions and riverside builds, boatyards, dry docks, boathouses and other things of interest.
On occasions she can take you on a Two Island cruise, this takes in Osea and Northey Island and lasts approximately one and half hours. Again, all trips are dependent on weather and passengers. Bookings are necessary for the Two Island trip and you can ring or text Rosemary (Roey) on 07766480793
The Viking Saga has a fully functional licensed bar with facilities and is also available for private hire and charter.
In the Winter she hibernates back in her "dry dock" under cover, where necessary restoration and renovations are undertaken by the Cardy family, Noddy, Roey and their sons Danny and Dean. Roey spends hours rubbing down the paintwork and repainting her, a hard and arduous chore but she does it with love every year.
So many traditional things have disappeared with modern life and technology but, thanks to Noddy with his belief and sentiment, the Viking Saga has survived the changing times and fittingly sits, bobbing around on the river, waiting to delight all who board her. Safely and lovingly back in the hands of a Cardy.
Come aboard and let this graceful old lady take you 'away from it all' for a nostalgic trip or cruise down the River Blackwater.
Her Jetty is the promenade side of Hythe Quay, Promenade, Maldon, Essex.