Thursday, 19 February 2009

Convoy DK17

James on Kestrel fancied a change of scene, so planned a short weekend cruise. We tagged along too, just to get off the Cam and do some exploring.

Before that, I spent all of Thursday cleaning the engine and the bilges, and doing an engine service, changing the oil and diesel filters. Whilst it wasn't quite at the stage of Brasso-ing it up to make it shiny, it looked a great deal better. I also identified an oil leak, around the seal on the cover over the cylinder head, which will need a new seal to stop the leak and hopefully help keep things cleaner.

On Thursday night, we slipped our moorings and went to the water point, before going back to the Fort St. George to pick up the mooring pins I'd forgotten to pull out. Oops.

After that, we moved together up the Cam to Baits Bite lock. We had purchased some stick-on battery powered LED lights in B&Q, and they are actually bright enough to use as navigation lights, so I'm going to get some coloured gels from the theatre and make them red and green. One made a very good stern light for the journey, and after passing a small amount of rowing traffic, we entered into the lock. James and I had a good chat, Jess tried to jump between the boats but was forcibly restrained, and Amy and Emma locked us through.

The next stretch was faster, with no moored boats, and we were soon at Bottisham lock. Both locks had been in our favour, which was quite unusual. The river becomes a bit bendy and the landscape extremely fenny after Bottisham, and so Amy went below to cook a fantastic dinner and I steered us on. We had cheesy mash and brilliant sausages with onions caramelised in muscovado sugar. It was utterly, utterly fantastic. Amy had also cut it all up into bite-sized chunks, so it could be eaten at the tiller. That really relieved the tedium, and just after finishing the last mouthful, we passed Fidwell Fen visitor moorings, which are at Upware but on the other side of the river. Emma called out a warning about the thick silty mud which had been deposited, two inches thick, on the landing stage. We carried on to Upware and moored temporarily on the pub moorings to pick up the post, before heading over to Fidwell Fen moorings. Unfortunately I mucked up the approach to the mooring- Bong! "Woof woof woof!" "Oi!"We floundered into the thick mud and managed to moor without too many problems, before heading over to Kestrel for tea.

There was a strict "boots off before coming in" policy in operation, and soon Jess decided that it was bed time, so we trooped off back, setting several alarms to ensure that we got up in time the next morning!

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