Last Sunday we went across to Mersea Island, not an unusual thing as the children sail there most weeks in the summer, but on this occasion it was to go to an Open Day at the Packing Shed - one of Mersea's best known landmarks. It was built in the 1890's on Packing Marsh Island by the Tollesbury & Mersea Oyster Fishery Company and although oysters are no longer packed there, it has been restored and is now run by a trust for a variety of outdoor activities. It is a fascinating place to go to - you catch a launch from the causeway and for £3 can have a cream tea and enjoy the spectacular views. Whilst we were there storm clouds gathered making it look rather dramatic at high tide, when the foreshore disappears. It is next open on Sunday 19 August www.packing-shed.org.uk
Mersea is famous for its oysters and seafood - there are several local fish restaurants, but perhaps most famous is the Company Shed where a delicious range of sea food is served - oysters, salmon, crab, prawns, cockles etc. It is best to get there early and get your name put on the board as they don't take bookings, it is on a first come first served basis www.the-company-shed.co.uk
The highlights of the sailing year at Mersea are Cadet Week, at the end of July where the youngsters take to the water and Mersea Week, which this year is from 19-25 August where an amazing number of boats take part in the racing each day, including dinghies, cruisers, classic yachts and gaffers, smacks and Mersea Fishermen's Open Boats. There is also a Round the Island Race where the smaller boats sail round the island and are carried across the Strood - the bridge that connects Mersea to the mainland, but which floods when there is a very high tide. www.merseaweek.org The final Saturday of Mersea Week is the Town Regatta - as well as sailing, there is also rowing, punting, sculling, swimming and walking the greasy pole, with a prizegiving and grand firework display in the evening. www.mersearegatta.org.uk
The jetty or hammerhead is a great place for crabbing and on the quieter side of East Mersea there are lovely beaches and interesting walks as well as the Mersea Vinyard to visit.