Monday, 15 October 2007

A Life on the Ocean Waves.

3 locks, and 16 miles . Now moored at Brentford.

Wow, what an anniversary.  To celebrate our first year of living aboard Gypsy Rover we decided to travel from Limehouse  to Brentford through the centre of London, under Tower Bridge and past the houses of Parliament, and a great day weather wise as well.

Early this morning, 5.30 to be exact we were awoken by some brainless idiot who thought it a bit of a joke to walk along the full length of our roof. Unfortunately we couldn't get out of the boat quick enough to catch him.

As the morning wore on we had a beautiful clear blue sky which by lunchtime clouded over but was still warm. During the morning I  had to get the anchor out of the gas locker and make sure that I had everything handy should an emergency arise during the trip. After lunch I went down to the lock and watched as 3 cruisers were let out onto the Thames and spoke to the lock keeper about our scheduled departure. By the time we entered the lock there were 2 narrowboats and a widebeam, the latter was only going out onto the river for a short while with people working towards getting commercial licence's.

We had been told the first 20 minutes would be a bit bumpy but after that it would be fine. This turned out to be the best part of an hour before the water calmed. Going under Tower bridge we took the centre lift span just as a ferry catamaran decided to overtake us at speed throwing us around quite badly with his wash. What happened next defies all logic,the ferry just came to a dead stop because his jetty was already occupied. To me there was no need or reason for him to have blasted past us the way he did and then stop no more than a boats length ahead of us.

After this the trip settled down into a pleasant trip with the camera's being given a good work out by the rest of the crew. As we passed one pontoon full of moored boats a cruiser over took us at quite a bit more than the 8 knots speed limit. The skipper was duly yelled at by a gentleman on the pontoon to slow down, so it appears that speeding is not only restricted to the canals.

Arrival at Brentford was dead easy as the lock was fully open so we could pass straight through. Something the Lockkeeper said does not happen often, purely a matter of good timing. The lock keeper was a guy we have met many times at Brentford and on the Grand Union when he has been out on work parties. We exchanged a few quick pleasantries before heading off up to the gauging locks. We needed to get under the road bridge before the tide pushed the water level up too high to make it impassable.

In the Brentford basin we pulled onto the facilities moorings to fill up the water and put the anchor back into the gas locker. We won't be needing that for a while. The moorings were all full except one space right up by the overhanging storage shed but there was a sign on the fence stating "Winter Moorings Only". When I investigated the situation further it turns out that the visitor moorings are only the  first three spaces after the facilities mooring. These were full but they are supposed to allow other boats to breast up but who wants to breast up to unlicenced boats , I don't. The cheek of it right under BW's nose . So we have moored on the Winter Moorings space regardless.

Just on dusk another boat, n/b Lesley-Ann,  arrived in the basin and after fruitlessly searching for a mooring I suggested he breast up with us for the night. Now a wee dram is the order of the day to celebrate. 

Photos to follow tomorrow I promise.

797 locks, 1103.5 miles, 33 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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