Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Left, right and centre

Getting hauled off the shoal with Brian supervising
The past few days we hadn't seen a single boat out on the water but at Alwalton Lock, as we headed down from Wansford, we met one waiting to come in as we locked our way down. He gave us a warning: "There's a big shoal just past the lock, you need to keep to the left."
We came out of the lock and fifty yards down, where the weir stream entered from the right, three red buoys bobbed in mid river. Go left, he'd said – but that was through barely a boat's width between boat and bank. Surely not? The boss was not convinced: "he must be confused - he must have passed to the left of them coming up. The weir will be washing the shoal toward that far bank. We need to keep to the right"
"But he said 'left'," said I. "I ought to go left."
Unfortunately at that precise moment neither of us could remember the rules of the river regarding coloured buoys. I hesitated ... and we got ourselves well and truly stuck in mid-stream.
Fortunately, the boat who had warned us had seen our plight and reversed back down but it still took 20 minutes of serious pulling and revving to get us free and we were beginning to contemplate being stuck there for the foreseeable future!
The moral of the tale? Know your river rules – and don't have a boat with two captains. I was at the helm so I should have made the decision for better or worse.
Curiously, though, there had been warnings at every Nene lock about a pretty minor shoal at an earlier part of the river and about a fallen tree blocking half the waterway but not a mention about this major shoaling which was blocking virtually the whole river. Odd.
And odder still that the boat which rescued us had belonged to friends of ours: they had just sold it and it was being delivered to its new owners on the canals.
After all that we were glad to find the sanctuary of deep water floating moorings at Nene Valley Park for an evening of walking and bird spotting.

Moored in the delightful Nene Valley Park

1 comment:

  1. Should have left it to Brian......