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The Odyssey 2019: Day 10 (Part 1)

Posted by alexgrehyauthor on 27 August, 2019

Boston and out to sea

I’ll split our Wash adventure over several posts because we have so many photos, and it was a great experience – not to be rushed!

Saturday 22nd June

We came back to the boat on Thursday feeling a bit more optimistic than when we left. We had a smooth trip up by train and then enjoyed the convivial atmosphere on the visitor pontoon. The rain had finally slackened off and it look hopeful for our Wash crossing on Saturday. It was good to have a day in hand to get the boat ready and generally chill out.

Leaving the CRT visitor moorings in Boston – they were a fine safe haven while the Witham was in flood.

For a change, the tide on Saturday favoured a late-morning departure – although there’s something magical about dawn cruising, I do love a lie-in! The convoy assembled at the lock in our assigned positions to wait for the “level” – we’d have a short window when the tide and river levels matched and we would all be able to cruise through both open gates. There would be no time to mess around once the lock gates opened. However, the tide kept us waiting, it was over half an hour late, causing us a little bit of anxiety about arriving at Wisbech after dark. It was such a lovely day, it was Midsummer, we were all equipped with steaming lights, we stopped fretting!

There I was thinking that this was our last view of the Boston Stump, little realising that it’s visible for miles – from land and sea πŸ™‚

I think I’ll let the photos and videos tell the tale now – I’m not sure that there’s any narrative that would cover the thrill of being at sea with friends in perfect conditions. We were mid-convoy – nb Doris Katia, our lead boat, was carrying Darryl, our pilot, while we carrying his “assistant”, Patrick, a retired lifeboat coxwain with years of experience in these waters; we were also equipped with AIS, online charts and all the printed charts from the briefing, so there was little chance of getting lost.





The convoy assembled in good order – imagine those mooring bollards under water and covering half the roadway – that’s how high the flood water rose when the tidal sluices were closed!

Going through on the level – no time to waste…

In the shadow of the Stump – it’s a shame it was shrouded in scaffolding.

There were a lot of gongoozlers – the convoy was part of the weekend’s entertainment πŸ™‚

More gongoozlers πŸ™‚

The tidal channel through Boston is narrow and has a few obstructions to look out for…

Although “obstructions” are easy to see, navigating through them can be tricky when the river/drain sluices are creating currents with the tide, though we had a smooth passage.

This ricketty railway swing bridge is, astonishingly still in use. The channel (on the right) is well signposted, but it’s worth watching out for that cable on the left – it would make a right mess of a narrowboat and its crew!

I can’t imagine this swingbridge in action, with a laden freight train passing over it!

Leaving the Port of Boston and its fishing fleet behind…

Now it feels like an estuary as we say goodbye to Boston

Now we’re at sea! In all fairness, the convoy skips from estuary to estuary, and were never very far from shore….

Although it is easy to play “follow my leader” in convoy, each boat has to be aware of where you are and be mindful of the navigation buoys. – binoculars are essential!

There are some fearsome sandbanks to be avoided, but I was so tempted to get a little closer to see the seals – I’ve never seen so many in my life πŸ™‚


Boats in the blue – ahead…

Boats in the blue – behind…

Patrick, our cheery mid-convoy pilot, he was a great character πŸ™‚

The Stump, visible again as we wended our way through the navigable channels towards the sandbank where we would sit out the tide.

RAF Number 4 – the sighting of this distinctive buoy is where I’ll leave this first edition….





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