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Boat Blog: CRT taking to the waters…

Posted by indigodream on 8 August, 2013

Rewind to Monday 22nd July

The East London Ring

Learning the locks....

Learning the locks….

Some months ago, a suggestion went around that non-boating CRT employees could spend time cruising with boaters to get a feel for the waterways which they administer. It’s been some time in the planning, but tonight we were able to welcome Sarwar, Joe and Siân on board for an evening cruise around the East London Ring. It was Siân’s first day – what a great induction!

When planning this trip, we had made a resolution to give the CRT people a pleasant cruise and NOT spend the evening haranguing them. We reckoned that they’re bright people and could assess the state of the waterways for themselves; there are plenty of aspiring waterways politicians pushing their views and although we DO have strong views we did not want to make that the focus of the evening. We had to play it a little by ear, many CRT employees are exceedingly experienced boaters so would be insulting to try and teach them, but more then anything we wanted them to experience a little boating, show them why we liked boating and show how fantastic the canal system is for a boater.

We set off around the ring, with conditions gradually getting more pleasant as the day’s heat abated. When I’d arrived at the boat earlier, one internal thermometer (which had been in the sun) was reading 50 degrees C and the brisk wind crossing Limehouse lock was hot, like a sirocco from the Sahara. Sadly they didn’t get the full Indigo Dream experience – we left Ty and Ollie at home – it was just too hot for hounds….

Our guests hadn’t expected such a hands-on cruising experience – they all donned life-jackets and during the course of the evening got to experience lock working, up and down, and each one had a go at the helm. Once Siân had done a lock entry, the menfolk just had to have a go too! They did very well, though we were kind and opened both lock gates for them. For once, the fates smiled on us – I did the first single-gate lock entry of the evening without touching the sides – our guests were gratifyingly impressed! They were even more impressed when Richard reversed neatly back into our berth at the end of the day without a hitch – of course, he usually does, but sometimes the wind can just catch the boat….not tonight!

We thoroughly enjoyed our evening – it’s been a while since I’ve done the East London ring and it was nice to spend some time on a canal! Our guests were utterly charming and really seemed to appreciate the experience.

CRT now have an open invitation to cruise on Indigo Dream – I hope that others will come and experience the waterways from a boater’s perspective….

Everyone gets to try the helm on Indigo Dream - this was Sian's first day - what a great induction :-)

Everyone gets to try the helm on Indigo Dream – this was Siân’s first day – what a great induction 🙂

Saluting the first guest lock entry - the men just had to have go after that :-)

Saluting the first guest lock entry – the men just had to have go after that 🙂

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