Indigo Dreaming

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Archive for June 5th, 2013

Boat Blog: Gravesend Adventure – familiar waters

Posted by indigodream on 5 June, 2013

Friday 31st May

Happy crew :-)

Happy crew πŸ™‚

Richard came to the boat early in order to the last of his engine checks and change the filters. We were very fortunate that the weather was set fair – the Webasto objected to the filter change so we didn’t have a boiler all weekend – luckily it wasn’t cold, but we were a bit short of hot water on Saturday morning until we could get the engine running. He’d also got “Limehouse Sid”, an engineer, to check over the engineΒ  – this was one trip where you really need to KNOW that your engine is in good order. Luckily she was fine πŸ™‚

There are many benefits to joining a convoy with the St Pancras Cruising Club (SPCC) – the immaculate organisation, the company, the focus on safety, and the cruising briefings held the night before the convoys. They’re always informative and entertaining, and are a great opportunity to ask questions and clarify arrangements. In order to waive the room hire, we all ate in the Cruising Association so it became a very convivial evening – especially when Sarah and Andy, the first of our crew, turned up with veteran cruisers Henry, Archie and Herbie, together with relative newbie Bertie.

Saturday 1st June: Limehouse to Barking Creek Mouth

We were a tad too relaxed this morning after being told that the convoy would start locking out of Bow at 8.45am – we were in the 5th locking so we weren’t expecting to get onto Bow Creek until around 9.30am. This left plenty of time for the resident crew, human and canine, to get up and dressed, and for our remaining crew Neil and Kath from nb Herbie then Doug and James from nb Chance to arrive; we were also joined by Kevin and Jan from nb Peace of Pearce. Nb Peace of Pearce had hoped to be doing the convoy themselves but their insurance company was very iffy about covering them; it was such a shame – our insurance company insured us without a quibble and just considered it as normal “tidal access” on our policy! It was lovely to be able to offer Kevin and Jan a place – it would prove to be a magical cruise and really one to share with as many boating friends as possible πŸ™‚

Ooops! Kath's face is a picture after being caught by a current and giving the mooring buoy a close shave! She was teased mercilessly for the rest of the afternoon but it can happen to anyone :-)

Ooops! Kath’s face is a picture after being caught by a current and almost giving the mooring buoy a close shave! She was teased mercilessly for the rest of the afternoon but it can happen to anyone πŸ™‚

We got everyone a coffee then moved onto the pump-out pontoon – the tank probably would have been ok, but with 10 people on board today and 8 tomorrow we didn’t want to take the risk – especially if the crew got nervous πŸ™‚

As often happens, I got busy on bacon sandwiches while we travelled up Limehouse Cut; we were expecting a wait at Bow Locks so we dawdled along. But when we got to Bow, Lenny the lock-keeper waved us on urgently – both gates were open – we cruised straight through! So much for the plan of letting the dogs off for an extra walk before the tideway – just as well we’d thoroughly emptied them in the park earlier….

Bow Creek was at it’s twisty best, with the water just starting to drain away – we would be cruising downstream with the ebbing tide. This made for a very fast passage – we seemed to get to our favourite landmarks in no time at all!

We were able to relax for this bit; we’d done it all before, the weather was perfect and the river was flat calm; there wasn’t any major traffic to worry us. Then suddenly we were at Barking Creek Mouth, with the lush green of Margaret Ness on the opposite bank. Dagenham beckoned and suddenly we were on new waters…

Photoblog:

We were surprised to see feet sticking out from under this bridge over Bow Creek - there are big works going on here :-)

We were surprised to see feet sticking out from under this bridge over Bow Creek – there are big works going on here πŸ™‚

Going through the Thames Barrier - we must have seen the whole range of shapes and sizes of craft on the river this weekend.

Going through the Thames Barrier – we must have seen the whole range of shapes and sizes of craft on the river this weekend.

Worried about cruising the tideway? Our crew wasn't!

Worried about cruising the tideway? Our crew wasn’t!

One of the rowers that shared the river with us today - they're rowing around Britain.

One of the rowers that shared the river with us today – they’re rowing around Britain.

Small boats, big river - that's the Barking Creek flood barrier in the distance...

Small boats, big river – that’s the Barking Creek flood barrier in the distance…

r_Gravesend-01Jun13-036

You don’t need a big boat to cruise the big river – nb Panacea is only 33′ but is veteran of many a tideway adventure…

Cooling water outfall for Barking Reach power station - we're not sure whether it's still in use but there's more information about the modern power station here - http://www.barkingx.info/

Cooling water outfall for Barking Reach power station –Β  there’s interesting information about the modern power station here – http://www.barkingx.info/ Look at the environmental impact section – they have a strategy to stop the cooling system from damaging fish in the river, including migratory salmon…

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