Saturday, 6 June 2015

The Great WC Part 2

Now then where was I...

Oh yes, the wind was picking up, the clouds were filling in and what had begun in a most sunny, warm and blue sky fashion was changing somewhat, couple of photos I imported last night from Amanda to include;

This is a map sent by Amanda to her son via What's App showing our position on the sandbanks, look carefully at the bottom to see Sutton Bridge which much later we went underneath.

I can't emphasise how valuable this is, a BELOVED bestest friend to help with a WC, just vital.

Clarence's coming into land, maybe Judy Dench and Sascha Distel??

Yarwood landed safely, Seyella approaching and Panacea bringing up the rear.

Margaret is a hoot, here she is doing her Queen's Royal Wave, we yelled BRACE BRACE BRACE to her but Group Captain executed a most controlled landing with his valuable crew.

We were strafed quite a few times by these, evidently a Eurofighter, whatever that is but is bloody noisy I know that. I think maybe they didn't quite believe their eyes.  David L says they use his combined harvester when its out as target practice, because they go slowly thats a nice thought eh? Sitting duck sort of thing....

Time to go Pilot said finally and guess what..... Now Reader wouldn't you say that the last man up the ladder would pull the bloody thing up behind HIM?  Well he didn't, and now the Virgin ladder is being used by the seals to practice their tricks on for the circus.  Several attempts were made by the lovely David L to retrieve it using the boat hook Captain was swearing,  but nothing found,  so £105 and 
used once....    HERE  

Now this doesn't look too rough does it, but when you are on the ocean on a narrowboat (Those two things alone shouldn't be combined) it begins to feel a bit like you are aboard a tea tray...
That Dutch Barge furthest to the left kind of appeared out of nowhere, landed on the beach with us for ten minutes and then followed us to Wisbech.  

A moment of high jinks when Darryl had changed to channel 9 from 69 and I think the noise of the wind and the creeping up on us all of a different sandbank, the wrong sandbank, Darryl  was calling and it appeared that two boats were not responding, then that was all sorting out by Amanda and I holding fingers up in the air in a helpful manner, all back on course when WaL was being blown right onto Yarwoods pointy end,  it took me right back to my dingy sailing days when I was 16 years old, seems like yesterday when Sarah Wilson and I were bombing around Chichester and Hayling Island in something no bigger than a bath tub.  
My David didn't really enjoy this bit, he didn't know what I meant by 'go around and gybe'  he was having a bit of a sense of humour failure as he hates the wind on a good day.
Best thing in times like these is that Vital addition today, David L took over and the Captain retired to his cabin for a power nap.  

We carried on taking a peculiar path that took us safely through the sandbanks, I really can't imagine why or how anyone would attempt this without a Pilot, he knew exactly where they boats would be blown across and they were too, "All boats hard to starboard" and just like dressage horses they turned in unison. Great.

Yep doesn't look much but...

We were aiming for a period toward this big lumpy thing, The Boat Sharers and Darryl knew what it was and were chatting about it, they are all locals you know and were comparing accents too, I needed subtitles.

One from earlier, nice ladder.

Worst boat hair ever day today

Darryl had these FANTASTIC binoculars I was watching what I think were Common Terns diving into the sea miles away, the only trouble was they made your arms ache they were so heavy compared to my little ones.

There are two of these lighthouses right opposite each other, now both in private hands but this one was once the home of Sir Peter Scott   HERE   pretty fantastic place if you want to paint sea birds.....

This is the other

This is the view into Wisbech.

 Its virtually the same view the entire way, was it 17 odd miles up this channel....  Then a thrill, a zonking great ship.

It was pretty amusing as three crew members rubbed their eyes and then took photos of us in disbelief.

These do something to do with fishing and the size of fish caught

Power nap over and here is Sutton Bridge, Amanda drives over this twice a week.

That Dutch barge keeping up

 So it was long straight and boring this bit, you might even say Deadly Dull, time for tea and cake.

Then the tricks started.  At the captains meeting it had been arranged that as the tide is coming in pretty quickly, to land on the pontoons Yarwood and WaL would be rafted up together, nothing new there, we have been doing that all week but no this is a day of firsts so we do it this time on the hoof so to speak.

Now this photo is the property of Geoff Wade and he has kindly given me permission to use, you can see Darryl calling the shots, David L on the roof, me in the white headband attaching Joe's stern rope to us and back to him, what you can't see is Lesley and Amanda on the bows adjusting all when it was realised that the bow rope might just remove the entire cratch..... again.

So this was fun, I popped onto Yarwood then popped back, a bit like climbing Everest, I did it because it was there.

Now believe this or not, all the boats turned around, yes we went in backwards.  This is so you can land facing upstream so to speak.

Moment turned around in a breeze in a tidal channel when you are cold and getting tired, marvellous.

These photos are Amanda's, my camera at this very point had filled the memory card!!  So I was inside waking up the laptop and downloading then deleting 1500 photos all from this last month, see what I mean about having Best Friends along to help?

Remember me saying this morning that Darryl is as cool as a cucumber, well this is when he is just super cool with two whopping great metal boats with captains who haven't done this before (Whoever has?) and reversing into this marina full of my favourite things other boats of the non metal type tied up very close by.   To me its as narrow as hell, now if this sort of thing doesn't phase you at all then brill, but I have to say it frightened the life out of me and I almost ended up hiding under the bed, well I suppose it's the repercussions of this that scare me....

See above for a fast approaching expensive ship

The wonderful Group Captain having made a perfect turn and pausing, he had been helming alone today too,

Clarence and Panacea turned too

Now I am sorry to say I don't have any of the reversing photos, but it was really all hands to the deck with rope catching, dog holding, a small scream from me when there was a very near miss but a miss all the same.  

But the three singles ended up towards the beginning of the pontoons but Darryl was unhappy with the space of our first intended place, so more reversing in the tide.  But our two boats did moor up at 7:45pm.  

Now for the worst of all news, we all will be up again early and leaving Wisbech at 6am to get the tide to get upstream to the sea lock at Peterborough tomorrow morning.  We were all tired, seriously tired, the concentration of this last stretch, the cold, the wind has a dramatic effect on you when its all over, want the good news?  Two hours later and after Darryl had departed, the tide was finally at an ebb and we turned the two boats around, this was done as there was still visitor help on hand, none of us were thrilled at the idea but it would be so much easier now than in the morning.

David L and Lesley playing ropes, Sarah and I on the two fronts playing the rope game and the two BRILLIANT stars at the helm.

10:45pm landed, again, tied up, again.  Now time to take fantastic guest crews back to their cars in Boston.

Bed at 12:10am. Super tired.  Sleep well?  No I bloody didn't, have you ever slept on a narrowboat with a 6 was it mph water pulling on yer ropes?  I considered sleeping in car after getting back but I thought it was just possible that David might wake and notice I wasn't there.

5am and we're up, The Yars had been up an hour, Lesley thought it was 5am but it was 4am, so come 6am and reading to go, us that is to go home, Joe and Lesley are taking WaL up to Peterborough for us.  Yes they are Superstars of the highest order, enabling David to get home on time.  We can't thank you both enough, not just for that but for being brilliant this last month along with the rest of our "Washer Family".

Superstars leaving with our boat, can you see how much lower the water is against the wall?  the channel is much narrower  now had we not turned them last night. 

Lesley not in wet weather gear proved an error as we drove into the mother of all thunderstorms near Peterborough just shortly before all the boats did too.

So to summarise, I would say that yes it was a brilliant day, it was amazing to be on the beach with your boat.  But its not to be undertaken lightly and I wouldn't have dream of doing it without extra helms, its a long day and doing it this direction the tricky stuff is at the end when you are tired.  

To finish with another stolen photo curtesy of Geoff from Seyella   HERE       

The Great WC Team 2015

L to R
Joe, Margaret, Geoff, David, Sheila seated, Lisa (me), David Amanda (could't do without them) Lesley, Derek, Andy
and Sarah

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