Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Foxton flight on Wahine Day.

10 Locks, 4 Miles, and now moored at Bridge 51 Leicester line..
Total of 205 locks and 2001/2 miles and 5 Tunnels since 5th Nov 2006

Today is the day for us to start heading south so a reasonably early start saw us head a mile up to Debdale wharf to top up the diesel. However we nearly came unstuck because they had worked Good Friday and Saturday so they had today off in lieu. Luckily Barry lives on site and I found him around the back and he very kindly offered to fill us up. Thanks again Barry.

On our way back to Foxton flight we spotted the Canadian geese that lost one of their mates to an undetermined predator last week. It looks like the predator now has a liking for goose as another of the geese has been badly savaged around the head and neck. It is alive but obviously in some degree of discomfort as it cannot groom itself properly.

An about turn and it was off to the Foxton flight but our timing was not good. As we arrived one boat was just exiting the bottom lock and another was waiting to go in. I reported to the lock keeper and he said there were 6 boats that had been waiting since 8am to come down so when the next boat exited the bottom lock we could proceed up to the passing bay half way up.

After about half an hour we entered the bottom lock and with the help of 4 youngsters who were keen to operate the gates we made very good time up to the passing bay. However we were too fast for the descending boats because they had not even started to move by the time we reached midway. So we had to moor up and wait about 45 minutes while the 6 boats came down. One of the boats coming down was Mo and Vanessa on n/b Balmaha and we exchanged greetings and snapped each other as we passed. Once we got the all clear to go we wasted no time and with the help of the youngsters again we made good time to the top. Thanks Mo for answering my question we did wonder if it was oil seed rape. Safe journey.

We then cruised down to just before bridge 51 where there are about 6 boats already moored up and joined them in a very pleasant spot. The first job was to wash the boat because where we had moored at the flight the towpath was very dusty and with all the crowds wandering up and down the boat finished up looking like it had been dragged through a desert. After a few other chores it was fishing time to no avail. As the sun set the fish went crazy catching flies and insects on the surface as if there was no tomorrow but were they interested in my bait, not on your Nellie.

Last night I mentioned n/b Thema, well I did get the name right as we saw them again while waiting to ascend the flight. It was nice to meet Keith and Pat, even if it was only a passing acknowledgement. Hopefully we will meet again on the cut.

Something else from last night was the ducklings which sadly have all but disappeared. I was told by the lock keeper that the drakes quite often kill the ducklings themselves to get the female to mate again. We have often noted the imbalance between male and female mallards which is often 5 – 1 against the females. The males certainly need to culled.

PS. Wahine Day commemorates the sinking of the ferry Wahine on 10th April 1968 in Wellington Harbour with a loss of 51 lives.

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