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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…

11 Responses to “Boat Blog: Calling for Crew…”

  1. nbsg said

    Dear Richard & Sue

    I’d love to volunteer to come with you, but I will be moving my boat that weekend from Reading to Oxford, to get back on the canals again. I had hoped to do this a couple of weeks earlier, but we’ve been stuck due to the heavy rain and red boards on the Thames (sounds familiar?).

    I do hope you get to see some of the superyachts in London for the Olympics.

    Simon Judge
    NB Scholar Gypsy

  2. Halfie said

    I’d have loved to volunteer – but it clashes with our only tickets for the Olympics. Oh, and Jan says “No way”!

  3. Ian said

    If you’re still looking I’d love to do this. Currently trapped on the Lee and Stort due to olimpix, so would enjoy the adventure.
    Ian, nb Water Witch.

  4. neil said

    Sad we can’t make it, but I’ve given you a plug on our blog. Good luck with assembling a crew.


  5. indigodream said

    Hi Ian

    Delighted to have you along. I will get in touch when the boys in black have given their approval and SPCC managed to finalise their always excellent planning. Did we mention torpedoes in the full disclosure?

  6. indigodream said

    Hi Neil

    Thank you !

  7. Brian W Porter said

    Subject off topic really, having just adopted an ex-racing hound to be my CC mate, do you feel the need for her to have a life jacket ? I will greatly respect your input


  8. indigodream said

    Hi Brian

    Greyhounds are not the most buoyant of dogs, but we have found that they can generally doggy paddle their way to safety if they accidentally fall in. We have given our ‘swimming lessons’ on beachy areas of the Thames so that they know not to panic if they fall in.

    We do not use doggie life-jackets on the canals, but we always use them on tidal rivers and sometimes on non-tidal rivers if the flow is looking fierce.

    The main advantage of a life-jacket is that they give you a good handle to pull the hound out of the water if they fall in, but a harness can do the same job…

    We’ve found that greyhounds make good boaters 🙂

  9. Hello Richard,

    If you have room for two more my wife Wendy and I would like to volunteer. We are based in London, (two buses away), and would love the experience. We have cruised from Brentford to Godalming and up the Thames as far as Wallingford in our boat Brenda but have never tackled the lower Thames.

    Dave and Wendy

    Thunderstorms and torpedoes, bring ’em on!

  10. indigodream said

    Hi Dave and Wendy

    Great to hear from you – I’ve lost track of Richard’s crew roll but I’m sure he’ll get back to you tomorrow – he’s busy being an Olympic volunteer this evening!

  11. Greygal said

    I think it’s very thoughtless of the SPCC to choose the one weekend of the year that I’m actually committed to doing something else. Tsk, tsk. I’d love to be able to take my narrowboat down to Barking…oops, sorry, I mean, I’d love to have joined the ID again, it’s been all of, oh, 6 weeks, since the last outing? That’s a lifetime! Oh hang on, thunderstorms you say? I’m definitely treble-booked that weekend. Enjoy.

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