Cruising away without Alan

We put an offer out to the kids to come visit us on the boat and help me move it while Alan was at work. Both girls wanted to do it but only Emily actually could come along. Emily met me at the cow field and we set off to find another mooring, get fuel, and maybe water.

I checked my map book well. I showed Emily what I was planning. We inspected the first swing bridge so Emily would know what to do. We discussed the navigation advice in the book. We were ready!

Emily helped me set off and then trotted over to the bridge which was the first obstacle of the day and pretty much at the end of the field. She got it open for me and I sailed through and pulled up on the other side to collect her. All went smoothly.

We had two locks and one more swing bridge between us and the diesel.

The first lock went badly and I walked into the upper gates with the bow causing my pantry to come open and my brown sugar canister to shatter. After that lock I held the boat on the landing while Emily cleaned up the glass and sugar. That is two glass canisters down and I am now shopping for metal sealing canisters for future.

At the last lock before stopping for diesel we confirmed with another boater where the fuel was but the boatyard was busy. We went past a spot to moor and realised it was the only option so I backed down and parallel parked with Emily’s help on rope. I hate that everytime but it seems to be the order of the day. I walked up to find assistance at the boatyard while Emily help the rope. They tell me to double moor to the boat they are working on.

I had never double moored before and was nervous but the guy helped us out. He tied my centre line to the center of that boat and I tied the back end. He headed off to sort out the pump while I told Emily to take the bag of trash over to the CRT services site around the corner. The guy directed Emily to use there bins as we were customers and me thanked him.

Turns out we were not in the dire need to fuel that Alan made me think we were. We got about a third of a tank to fill up. Our rubbish had been emptied and we had gotten ice creams. The lift bridge was the next thing to get through before the lock. This was all next to the water point that was at a funky angle. Emily directs me to the lock landing and I decided the water point was at that point a pain to get to so I would skip that and get water on Saturday. Mistake!

We went through the lock planning to moor up for lunch. Lunch on the K&A is clearly not allowed. We just couldn’t find anywhere to moor. A couple times I spotted somewhere as we passed by but never in time to stop.

So we pushed on and dealt with Woolhampton Lock. This was the navigation warning we were reading and rereading. It said to open the lock first and then open the swing bridge so you can power through into the lock. Turn into the lock at the last moment. Oh my god, they are so serious about that lock! The current pulls you and then pushes you. Power is the key but also the last minute turning part. There is an old boat with tires on the side as a crash barrier. I didn’t hit it. I got into the lock. That was a roller coaster ride of a lock approach!

Two more locks and two attempts to moor up. I told Emily we probably needed to just battle the forest of overgrowth so as to moor. That she would need to jump off when I nudged to bow up to the side. She balked at this on the first attempt and we cruised on. After two more locks she was as done as I was.

We were at Midgham Lock and there was a line of boats so we knew the siding should be good. The grass and nettle was long though so Em used the barge pole to find the land as we got close. She jumped off into the nettle wishing she had more coverage of her legs. She pulled in the boat and I jumped off into a little less tall nettle….I had bashed mine down with the other barge pole.

We finally were moored up at 4pm….about 6 hours after leaving. I had had only one quick drink about 3pm at a lock while Em had held the boat. We had only managed to eat all of the one ice cream each all day. Luckily, I had made dinner in the morning because there was no energy left for cooking after.

All photos and video credit goes to Emily Hines

I sent the what three words (location app) location to Alan so he could find us. Turns out the app put as in a field on the other side of the canal somewhere so he went the wrong way. He had to call and ask where we were so I guess we succeeded at hiding the boat from him which had been the goal all along.

After we dropped Emily back to her car we decided to have a look at the book about our weekend of cruising. This is when we realised that that previous water point was the last public one for 14 miles. we were 11 miles, 11 locks, and 4 swing bridges from water and we needed water. Oops,

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