Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Day Thirty Nine- So Nene, and yet so far....

Rothersthorpe- Northampton

Grand Union Canal, Northampton Arm

4 miles, 11 locks

Today we set about charging the (flat) starter battery from the Duck, so we could start the engine. This battery was buried in the lower row of batteries (the Duck has two boxes of three, one on top of the other) and, as far as we knew, was a sealed semi-traction type.

Well, it wasn't; the reason why it wasn't holding the charge was because it wasn't sealed at all, and it badly needed topping up with electrolyte for it to work. We happenned to have some deionised water on the boat, bought to top up the coolant in the heat exchanger, and so topped up the battery. It was then connected to the battery bank in Warrior, and Jim fired up the National; our battery was fully charged in an hour or so. Thank goodness for 80 amp marine alternators!

After this further act of help (we owe Jim so many pints we'd keep a small brewery in business indefinitely- there is one here in Northampton, but I don't think he'd approve of the L***r they make...) we set off down the flight and towards Northampton.

There were a few narrow bridgeholes and a LOT of reeds, but we made it easily (having to clear the intake once) and, having borrowed Jim's multimeter, kept an eye on the batteries as they charged. Whilst they never quite reached the 14.4 volts that would show them to be nearly fully charged, they got quite high and so we'll see how long they last.

We arrived in Northampton and moored above lock 17, where the canal ends and the Nene begins. The river is still under Strong Stream Advice, and we can't proceed any further; we'll stay here and wait it out.

After waving goodbye to Amy's mum at the station, we headed over to the local Netto for supplies. As we didn't know how long we'd be on the Nene for, and as there's an absense of supplies along the way, we stocked up on tinned foods and staggered back to the boat.

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