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Archive for August 13th, 2013

Boat Blog: Yet another epic adventure (part 2)

Posted by indigodream on 13 August, 2013

Wednesday 24th July

Richmond flooded by the tide - I wonder how often it happens..

Richmond flooded by the tide – I wonder how often it happens..

When the tide turned, we set off downstream with nb Doris Katia in the lead and nb Ketura behind. We were not in an “official” convoy, but it was convivial to cruise together -we were booked into the same locking at Limehouse so there was little point in rushing ahead.

It was a spring tide – over 7 metres – the paths and pavements were well-flooded in Richmond. But despite the height of the tide, it seemed to drain away alarmingly quickly – the tidal marker ball at Chelsea Harbour was still halfway ๐Ÿ™‚

We had a lovely cruise downstream – the river is lovely in the late afternoon. It was overwhelmingly hot as we started out, but the heat and the light softened as the evening wore on. Richard and I now have a routine that we take turns on the helm, swapping at the bottom of every page of our tideway guide. This means that the helm never gets too tired and can maintain concentration. We’re so used to the views that the “off” crew got on with chores inside!

The river wasn’t too busy, but there was the usual lumpiness in the water as we came past Westminster. The slight swell wasn’t excessive and we weren’t troubled by it; but the light was perfect for taking photographs of each other’s boats getting the fenders washed ๐Ÿ™‚

So it was that we were looking behind us and taking photographs of nb Ketura when a City Cruiser emerged very close to her stern; I though it was going to be a near miss (which would have been alarming enough) but then there was a horrible crunch as the trip boat hit Ketura’s stern. nb Ketura broke free, she was obviously damaged but afloat – the crew put out a clear and calm mayday that she had lost propulsion together with steering and she was recovered quickly – the crew were understandably shaken but otherwise unhurt. The response to the mayday was truly amazing – in the time that we took to turn back to her (we were the nearest boat), a tug and a clipper had turned up and soon had her under tow. We did not check our watches but it could not have been more than 3 minutes before the RNLI, the Police and the PLA were on the scene. And yes it is true if you get offered a rope by a commercial vessel it will be bigger then your T-stud though fortunately for Christine it had a handy tiny little loop at the end just right for a narrowboat.ย  nb Doris Katia had also turned back to help, but as soon as we were assured that nb Ketura was in safe hands, it was better for us to get out of the way and proceed down to Limehouse, liaising with the Limehouse lockies who kindly agreed to stay on duty and wait for nb Ketura to come in. Nb Ketura was safely towed into Limehouse half an hour later – much to the relief of everyone involved.

You have to be careful where you park!

You have to be careful where you park!

I can’t go into any more detail and I won’t publish any photos because we don’t want to prejudice the ongoing investigation.

I was more upset than scared by the event, but by the time we’d moored up I was beyond of exhausted – after all, we’d been on the water for around 14 hours! I drove Ty and Ollie home; Richard stayed on for a therapeutic drink with the crews of nb Ketura and nb Doris Katia, and with other narrowboating friends who had congregated at the Cruising Association.

It was a freak accident,ย  so so unusual to have that happen on a waterway used by professionals. We WILL be cruising the tideway again – by my reckoning, the river will be much safer after a collision as everyone will be super-vigilant, including us!

Photoblog:

But it takes more than a bit of water to separate a hot englishman from an ice-cream!

But it takes more than a bit of water to separate a hot englishman from an ice-cream!

Such a beautiful evening - that's the entrance to Thame sLock, Brentford on the left - watch out for the "silver" sculpture..

Such a beautiful evening – that’s the entrance to Thames Lock, Brentford on the left – watch out for the “silver” sculpture..

That's the distinctive sculpture at Bentford - the lock cut is just upstream of the sculpture..

That’s the distinctive sculpture at Bentford – the lock cut is just upstream of the sculpture..

Couper Collection - "artwork and installations by London artist Max Couper made onboard a fleet of historic Thames barges" - fascinating http://www.coupercollection.org.uk/index.html

Couper Collection – “artwork and installations by London artist Max Couper made onboard a fleet of historic Thames barges” – fascinating http://www.coupercollection.org.uk/index.html

Wonderful views...

Wonderful views…

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