Indigo Dreaming

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Archive for August 4th, 2013

Boat Blog: a mini epic….

Posted by indigodream on 4 August, 2013

Rewind to Sunday 14th July

Limehouse to Brentford and back (hence a smaller epic than the Teddington return trip)

There's something nice about turning left out of Limehouse and not having to cross the big river...

There’s something nice about turning left out of Limehouse and not having to cross the big river…

The tides were very kind to us this weekend – they allowed the convoy to cruise yesterday morning and then have a generous break before tackling the trip to Brentford this afternoon. This also gave us a nice break at home. However, the heat was still terrible so we yet another change in plan. Sarah and Andy would spend the day at our house, essentially dog-sitting Ty, Ollie and their six boys, while Richard and I would take Indigo Dream out with the convoy. The timing was such that we could still have a leisurely breakfast before heading off for Limehouse.

We needed to turn up a bit early as we were tasked with briefing the crew of nb Liberty Bell, who hadn’t made it down to Limehouse in time for Friday’s group briefing. It was an interesting experience – Liberty Bell’s crew were respectful and attentive which made the job much easier, and I thought I’d covered everything. However, when we got on the tideway, I remembered two navigational notes that I’d forgotten to mention. Luckily we could easily fix this by giving them a ring on the river , but it was a real insight into just how much information the St Pancras Cruising Club get through in their evening briefing.

We led our group of three boats upriver – although it was Sunday afternoon, Pool of London was relatively quiet and conditions were excellent, with very little turbulence in the water. Unlike the Barrier Cruises, there was no pressure for us to meet up with the other boats in the convoy, so there was plenty of time for seeing the sights and taking photos.

We got to Brentford well before high tide, so there was a little wait before the lock opened. The lead boats found bits and pieces of chain to tie to below the lock. We tied up to a rusty metal floating platform on the right hand side below the lock and soon had other members of the convoy brested up to us. The boats locking up didn’t have a long wait – it seemed like no time at all before the lock-keeper opened the locks. he used both locks to good effect and we were soon left by ourselves, waiting for the tide to turn. We were fifth in the convoy today, rather than “tail end charlie” – this meant that we got to wave goodbye to all the convoy boats behind us. The rusty platform wasn’t the best mooring – it was protruding bits which gave the gunwhales a good scrape at the front, especially when two tiny speedboats came racing by, giving us a good rocking. We had over an hour to wait for the tide, so we had time for a proper dinner, which was very welcome.

We HAD to go through the centre arch at Tower Bridge - we might have been in the way of a barge wanting to enter St Katherine's dock otherwise :-)

We HAD to go through the centre arch at Tower Bridge – we might have been in the way of a barge wanting to enter St Katherine’s dock otherwise πŸ™‚

When we judged that it was flat water, we turned away from Brentford’s lock cut and headed downriver. Surprisingly, the river proved to be busier at Brentford than in the Pool of London! However, we were soon free of the trip boats from Teddington and had the river largely to ourselves. Conditions were perfect and the river was the calmest we’ve seen it for a long time – we’d been concerned that a weekend of trip boats would have really carved up the water.

We had an uneventful and enjoyable trip back to Limehouse. The lack of river traffic gave us more leisure to enjoy the sights at dusk – our favourite time to cruise. We were running a little early, but we’d kept in touch with the Limehouse Lockies and they had the lock ready for us. Tonight, I did the turn into the lock cut – it’s very good practice for me and was absolutely fine!

We got back to our berth just as the last of the light faded away – we packed the boat up and were soon on our way. We got an ecstatic welcome from the hounds, even though Sarah and Andy had only left a scant hour before we arrived. πŸ™‚

Photoblog:

Ok, just the 185 photos this time (!) – more on Facebook….

And we're off - leading our mini-convoy of nb Liberty Bell and nb The Lady C. Liberyt Bell had visitors from Canada - this cruise was an awesome experience for them..

And we’re off – leading our mini-convoy of nb Liberty Bell and nb The Lady C. Liberyt Bell had visitors from Canada – this cruise was an awesome experience for them..

Enjoying the river - glad that they're wearing life-jackets though....

Enjoying the river – glad that they’re wearing life-jackets though….

We often hear the bridge buskers at river level - today it was the bagpipes - sometimes a steel drum - it's nice to hear live music on the water..

We often hear the bridge buskers at river level – today it was the bagpipes – sometimes a steel drum – it’s nice to hear live music on the water..

We sometimes think that we're a bit small on the tideway but these guys are almost invisible!

We sometimes think that we’re a bit small on the tideway but these guys are almost invisible!

This has to be published - it's so rare for Richard to pose nicely for a photo :-)

This has to be published – it’s so rare for Richard to pose nicely for a photo πŸ™‚

Just as I was thinking that it would be nice for the tideway newbies to see a helicopter landing, one turned up :-)

Just as I was thinking that it would be nice for the tideway newbies to see a helicopter landing, one turned up πŸ™‚

The correct approach when travelling upstream under Hammersmith Bridge - between the words "Hammersmith" and "Bridge" - this means that the tide won't sweep you into the moored boats at Dove Pier...

The correct approach when travelling upstream under Hammersmith Bridge – between the words “Hammersmith” and “Bridge” – this means that the tide won’t sweep you into the moored boats at Dove Pier…

What do you think - pet, guard pig or lookout? Wish it was a real one!

What do you think – pet, guard pig or lookout? Wish it was a real one!

Calm in Barnes...

Calm in Barnes…

The headroom under Hammersmith Bridge is severely reduced at high tide - nothing to bother a narrowboat though :-)

The headroom under Hammersmith Bridge is severely reduced at high tide – nothing to bother a narrowboat though πŸ™‚

You've got love that view...

You’ve got love that view…

There was such a moody light in the afternoon - it made for a wonderful cruise; we could really enjoy the views because the river was unnaturally quiet...

There was such a moody light in the afternoon – it made for a wonderful cruise; we could really enjoy the views because the river was unnaturally quiet…

The city's distinctive yet evolving skyline..

The city’s distinctive yet evolving skyline..

Priceless....

Priceless….

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