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Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2016 Day 34 – Bow Back Rivers

Posted by indigodream on 17 August, 2016

Rewind to Wednesday 29th June

 

Following nb Bleasedale - we were taksed with keeping a 1 minute gap between boats - lucky there were plenty of landmarks for us to use as marks :-)

Following nb Bleasdale – we were tasked with keeping a 1 minute gap between boats – lucky there were plenty of landmarks for us to use as marks πŸ™‚

Richard stayed on the boat after moving her to Limehouse and enjoyed a social gathering at the Cruising Association. In the meantime, I went to choir then piled the hounds into the car for the drive up to Limehouse. We’d recruited Archie and Henry to charm passersby, while Ollie and Herbie were Indigo Dream’s more dignified ambassadors. I arrived in Limehouse at 11.30pm – thank heavens we didn’t have an early start today.

Today we were joining a recce cruise for a big event – the inaugural cruise round the Bow Back Rivers on 9th July. It would be the third inaugural cruise in fact, as the waterways round the Olympic Park have almost been opened twice before, but have been stymied by various factors, including the ongoing Crossrail works.

In the shadow of the Olympic Stadium which is a shadow of its former self - but it's still a thrill to cruise so close...

In the shadow of the Olympic Stadium which is a shadow of its former self – but it’s still a thrill to cruise so close…

The Crossrail works were the main reason for today’s recce – it had been anticipated that their coffer dam across City Mill River, roughly where it joins the Bow Back rivers, would have been removed by the 9th July. This would give a neat ring cruise around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park followed by a there ‘n back through City Mill lock to see the park from the Waterwork Rivers. But it was not to be – the coffer dam was still in place, and with over 80 boats coming from far and wide, it was far too late to postpone the inaugural cruise.

So four boats set out to “prove the route” – our leader, nb Doris Katia, nb Bleasdale and nb Tarporley; nb Ketura was due to join us, but as we cruised up from Limehouse, nb Ketura suddenly spouted white smoke from her engine bay and pulled up short. Luckily she wasn’t on fire, but some inexplicably melted cable insulation in her engine bay meant that she couldn’t risk moving any further until it had been checked and fixed. Ketura’s skipper, Christine, joined nb Bleasdale for the recce and we kept our fingers crossed that Ketura’s engine would be fixed in time for the main event in just over a weeks’ time.

A bit of countryside in the city :-)

A bit of countryside in the city πŸ™‚

It wasn’t the best start, and we mustered the rest of the mini-convoy at Three Mills with a vague sense of disquiet. The over-running Crossrail works meant that we would need to turn the boats just before the coffer dam. We knew from previous cruises that there is plenty of room to turn a boat, but the timing was critical; even if 85 boats took one minute each to turn (unlikely!) then the convoy would take over an hour to turn and the second part of the cruise was tide-dependent – hmmm!

Nonetheless, it was great to be in convoy with some old friends and the Olympic Waterways have always felt like our home turf – not least because we were cruising the Bow Back Rivers before the Olympics were even conceived! It’s still gives us a thrill as we remember visiting the stadium for the closing ceremony; of course Richard was there for the opening ceremony too, but as a Gamesmaker.

Carpenter's Road Lock - it is due to be completed and opened for use as part of the regeneration project - looking forward to that..

Carpenter’s Road Lock – it is due to be completed and opened for use as part of the regeneration project – looking forward to that..

But back to the turning point – nb Doria Katia, being the shortest of the boats, turned on a sixpence; nb Tarporley, being a long vintage boat, took a while to turn – 8 minutes by our rough reckoning. Oh dear, we knew from talking to visiting boaters that some were uncomfortable with turning their boats so it was looking increasingly likely that the main convoy would be severely delayed by the turn..

But our mini-convoy was soon on its was to City Mill lock. The first three boats fitted into the lock nicely, so we moored up to the rubbish barge on the lock moorings to wait for our turn.

We didn’t think it would take so long, but I had time to make bacon sarnies; then I took the dogs for a walk on the rubbish barge (after sweeping all the broken glass off the deck), then Archie and Henry wandered up to the lock with Richard to see what was happening. Uh oh, the lock was refusing to work – CRT were called, lots of people turned up, there was grave head shaking, tutting and button pressing but to no avail – our “proving the route” convoy was scuppered!

We turned Indigo Dream round; the others backed out of the lock and we all headed back to Three Mills. There were mooring restrictions in place for the main convoy, so we were able to moor on the old waterbus pontoon so that we could offload the dogs easily.

We were subdued – our mini-convoy had taken way longer than we expected and we were beset by more than a vague disquiet as it seemed likely that the min convoy of 85 boats was doomed to chaos! However, Andrew Phasey remained unphased and was airily cheerful, even when CRT announced a stoppage on the lock that would last for a week or more – eeek!

Photoblog:

New Indigo Dreamers - Mikey and Mishka, who live on a beautiful widebeam at Limehouse Marina :-)

New Indigo Dreamers – Mikey and Mishka, who live on a beautiful widebeam at Limehouse Marina πŸ™‚

We didn't think that this lovely drift planting would last when the games were done but it's thriving...

We didn’t think that this lovely drift planting would last when the games were done but it’s thriving…

Grand sight....

Grand sight….

Archie was less than impressed by our suggestion that he tries the new helter skelter....

Archie was less than impressed by our suggestion that he tries the new helter skelter….

nb Tarporley at the turning point..

nb Tarporley at the turning point..

Two iconic structures..

Two iconic structures..

Great view of the reflective bridge - there are gret boat photos to be had when you turn under it on the other side of the lock...

Great view of the reflective bridge – there are gret boat photos to be had when you turn under it on the other side of the lock…

Archie was inspired to do some Olympic looking at the Olympic Park...

Archie was inspired to do some Olympic looking at the Olympic Park…

Henry Beanz going for the Olympic looking cute medal :-)

Henry Beanz going for the Olympic looking cute medal πŸ™‚

Canalside bat roost - how cool is that!

Canalside bat roost – how cool is that!

Ready to go at City Mill Lock..

Ready to go at City Mill Lock..

Archie inspecting his new promenade deck...

Archie inspecting his new promenade deck…

Oh dear....

Oh dear….

Vintage Tarporley creating some atmorpheric smoke...

Vintage Tarporley creating some atmospheric smoke…

Back at Three Mills - it's a fine place to moor :-)

Back at Three Mills – it’s a fine place to moor πŸ™‚

 

 

 

One Response to “Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2016 Day 34 – Bow Back Rivers”

  1. Ian and Ali said

    Thanks for the company on the Stockton flight. Was a real pleasure. The Springsteen stalkers off Clarence!

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