Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

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Archive for July 21st, 2012

Boat Blog: Calling for Crew…

Posted by indigodream on 21 July, 2012

The gargantuan flood barrier at Barking Creek Mouth – you simply have to see it for yourself!

Saturday 21st July

The St Pancras Cruising Club has given us another wonderful opportunity to explore the Thames tideway – this time on one of their occasional pilgrimages to Barking Creek on the 28th/29th July.

We only found out about this a week ago, so maybe it’s understandable that our regular guest crews can’t make it – they seem to have this misguided idea that they have a life outside of Indigo Dream and have other commitments – tsk!

Sadly, Richard has to skipper by himself – I can’t cruise because I’ve committed to work as an Olympic volunteer that weekend, though the likelihood is that I’d have had to stay behind anyway to look after the dogs. At Barking Creek, our convoy of tiny narrowboats moor up to the resident monster barges, which makes getting to/from the boat too much of an assault course for our variously clumsy and/or sickly hounds.

Richard has said that he is game to go it alone, but crew is pretty useful when tackling the large locks onto the tideway and to help with various other essential onboard tasks (like taking the helm while Richard makes the bacon sarnies!).

So we’re looking for up to four crew members to help us…

Here are the rough arrangements:

Saturday 28th July:

  • Indigo Dream and the convoy will leave Limehouse between 6am and 7am to reach whichever lock we will be using to get onto the Thames (yet to be disclosed!). BUT we won’t be able to accommodate guests on board on the Friday night – Richard is doing a brutally late shift as an Olympic volunteer on Friday (in the stadium, at the opening ceremony – can you believe it!!!) so if anyone stayed they would be woken up by him clambering over them at 2am (or later)
  • There will only be 7 boats in the convoy but as they have to punch the tide the organisers are trying to get permission for us to go out via City Mill Lock and Three Mills Lock as that way boats can go out onto the tideway together, Approval for this route has still not come through.
  • The convoy will cruise downstream past the delights of the O2, the Thames Barrier, the new cable crossing over the Thames, the Woolwich Ferry, the entrance to the Royal Docks (while being buzzed by the planes coming in to land at City Airport) before passing beneath the truly gargantuan Barking Creek Flood Barrier – it is awesome!
  • It is not a long cruise, but there may be some hanging around at the locks (whichever we use) and at Barking’s tidal barrage, however I anticipate that we’d be moored up in Barking Creek by lunchtime.
  • The good folk on the moorings at Barking Creek always give us a royal welcome and crews are welcome to join in the evening festivities – generally booze and barbecue laid on by our kind hosts.

Sunday 29th July

  • The convoy will aim to leave the moorings at Barking Creek at around 8am (depending on how quickly the tide reaches the tidal weir at Barking – all makes sense when you see it!)
  • The trip back is generally a bit quicker, but it will probably be early afternoon by the time we get back to Limehouse

We can take tideway veterans or virgins but you will be crew not passengers! Before you make any offers, here’s the “full disclosure”…… 🙂

  • There will be bumpy bits – even when the weather is fine and still
  • The advance weather forecast is thunderstorms….
  • The skipper’s word is law
  • Life-jackets (which we can provide) MUST be worn
  • Crew must be over 18
  • The river is half a mile wide at Barking Creek Mouth and the boat feels as insignificant as a hair in a bathtub! It is not for the faint-hearted..
  • I am not on board therefore catering will be incredibly sparse
  • This is an SPCC cruise so it will be incredibly well organised but a trip to Barking Creek is extreme narrowboating.
  • On the way back we may go past one of Her Majesty’s warships. They probably won’t shoot at us.
  • If anything goes wrong we may sink or end up in Belgium

BUT, it is an extraordinary trip – do come along, you’d be very welcome…

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