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Archive for August 31st, 2010

Boat Blog: Tidal Adventures (3)

Posted by indigodream on 31 August, 2010

Apologies – I’m over a week behind with the blog – aaargh!

Friday 20th August

That’s a lot of narrowboats!

We came up to the boat on Friday night for the briefing – we were late, again, as Andrew Phasey kindly pointed out as we sidled into the back of the crowded meeting room! It was ok though – we’ve heard all his jokes before 😀

The only difference with this briefing was the presence of so many boaters and the call from two boaters, who didn’t have their boat, for crew spaces on Sunday. It turns out that the additional boaters were from the Stort Boat Club, who’d ‘gatecrashed’ the briefing on lock-keeper Jeremy’s advice because he thought they might find it useful for their foray upstream on Saturday. The two volunteer crew members were Henry and Bee, who wanted to experience the tideway before bringing their share boat onto the Thames for a trip. We offered to take them on and we arranged to meet them on Sunday morning.

We also met fellow bloggers Halfie and charming wife Jan – we spent the post-briefing evening chatting with them over a few beers – it was so good to meet them. They were joining the convoy in nb Willow, which they’d borrowed from a friend moored on the Lee and Stort.

Saturday 21st August

Limehouse Basin – Thames Barrier – Limehouse Basin

We had a very convivial evening at the cruising club last night, so it was just as well that our convoy wasn’t due to leave Limehouse until late afternoon. I loafed around and did a few boating chores, including filling the water tank, while Richard popped back to Croydon to do some last-minute desk clearance before our holiday. We then hit Asda in Docklands for supplies – we were due to spend a whole week on the boat – hurrah!

Adrian at the helm….

At 3pm-ish we were joined by Adrian from nb Debdale – trying very hard to look sad because Adam was in work and couldn’t join us for the evening’s adventure. Jan and Kevin from nb Peace of Pearce popped in for a coffee and we had a very sociable afternoon whilst Richard quickly did his engine checks, yet again draining a bit of dirt out of the fuel filters . At 5pm, though, it was time to get into the lock with nb Poppy.

We left Limehouse on the ebbing tide, with the intention of passing through the Thames Barrier near low tide and turning back upstream as the tide turned. The aim this week was to turn a little further downstream so that we’d have a shorter wait on the river while the incoming tide covered the cill at Limehouse.

We had a great cruise – enjoying the same sights as last week as well as a many details that we’d missed. Pictures all show how grey and overcast it was but actually the sky just looked dramatic.  Our locking companion, nb Poppy, maintained a sedate pace – they have an old Russell and Newbury engine and were keeping an eye on her engine temperature. We stayed behind her just in case a rescue was needed, but she was absolutely fine.

We were determined not to risk VTS’ ire this week and very nicely asked permission to turn across the tideway downstream of the Barrier. It was duly granted and we breathed a sigh of relief. The VHF radio has been very useful – it’s hard to believe that we ever cruised the tideway without one (which we did, before there was a requirement for one!).

Adrian grinned the entire time as he texted regular updates to Adam. We asked whether Adam had been worried about Adrian coming alone on the tideway with us, and were wisely told that if Adrian was on board at the same time as the dogs then he knew that he wouldn’t be in any danger!

Nice view of the convoy….

We enjoyed the trip tremendously – it was much less choppy this week and I did my first entry into Limehouse Lock cut (I’ve steered from the lock pontoons into the lock before). It was easy peasy – if only it was that calm and simple every time!

But the drama wasn’t over – we’d sent nb Poppy into the lock before with old friends nb Fulbourne, leaving us to do the last locking by ourselves. But as we were waiting in the lock, a call came over the VHF from a dutch yacht wanting to come into the marina. The lock-keepers swung the bridge, opened the lock-gates and let in a rather disorganised yacht who, unfortunately, were more intent on putting down fat fenders rather than getting properly roped up in the lock. It all took time and I was starting to panic that we wouldn’t make it to the pub. They eventually got the message and we hastened to our mooring before decamping to the Grapes for some boater tales. Adrian, Lou and Lynx came with us and we had a great evening, drinking dodgy but delicious guest ales and cloudy ciders with the crews of nb Doris Katia and nb Peace of Pearce – our fellow adventurers from last Sunday’s epic ‘there and back’ tideway cruise .

In the end we had to drag ourselves away – we had an early start on Sunday….


Lou making a rare visit to the back deck…

Lynx checking our lock approach….

nb Poppy’s skipper looking forward to the tideway….

The domes entrance tot he Greenwich foot tunnel under the Thames – well worth a walk, especially as the Clipper takes you to the doorstep!

Characteristic chimneys of an old power station – there are a few along the river though none to rival Battersea..

This ‘dock’ was made from an old ship (cut in half) – the best sort of recycling!

And another use for a piece of ship!

nb Poppy approaching the barrier – the green arrows make it clear which span we should use…..

The convoy on its way back through the barrier…

Adrian at the Thames Barrier….

nb Fulbourne going through the barrier – she’s a veteran of many a tidal convoy….

nb Poppy passing Tate ‘n Lyle wharf – maybe we should have stopped there – it’s the height of my jam-making season and I reckon I could use a boatload!

Of course, it’s not quite so simple when there are two open spans! This is where it’s useful to have someone to follow (and contact with London VTS of course!)

I wonder what mid-river pier is for – don’t fancy doing a shift on that portacabin on top!

nb Poppy passing by the O2..

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