Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Windy Ouse

It sounds like something you should see your doctor about but a windy Ouse was what we have had for a few days. The zero temperatures moved away and left us with fairly warm sunny days.

I prepared Skylark for a trip to Ely; did all the usual checks, made sure things were in place, put on my new self-inflating life jacket (a must for solo travel, I'm told) and headed down a very tranquil Old West River only to find the prop struggling. I pulled over at Stretham Pump House and found a short piece of polyprop wrapped around the prop (is that how it got its name?).

This is not the first time its happened but its always been waterweed that's caught up. So, what do you do when you've just spent 10 minutes groping about in your weed hatch for a dirty piece of old rope?

Do you:

A. Throw it back in the river (like someone else presumably did),
B. Take a photo of it to show all your friends,
C. Take it to the nearest litterbin and dispose of it responsibly, or
D. None of the above.

Obviously I did B and C.

Having gained full control over Skylark, I continued down the Ouse. Ely was looking its usual self. Very nice in the sun and still not too many people about.

As the day progressed it got windier and windier so I hunkered down for a fairly quiet couple of days on board. As usual I busied myself cleaning and polishing, and I even removed the rear hatch and sorted out an annoying friction problem. Afterwards, it slid on its brass rails like a good 'un.

Just before the sun went down over the yard arm, I noticed a narrowboat coming into moor in front of me. He passed my nearest porthole very closely (a foot!) and came to a slithering halt as he hit my bow. I popped my head out and saw a Fox hire boat Cap'n shouting instructions to his Mrs Mate who was, by now on shore waving a rope in one hand and wiping the 'glow' from her furrowed brow. Cap'n Urban Fox turned and waved a 'sorry' hand signal at me. He eventually manoeuvred himself into the space and roped himself in. Phew!

See that nasty scratch on the bow? That's part of Skylark!

Before I headed home on Tuesday, I noticed the next water event in Ely. Maybe I can encourage Kay (aka Lady Saga) to join me as the weather should be warmer and less windy by then.

When I got back to Lazy Otter, the wind was still blowing a good 20 -25 mph which made it difficult to get in so I pulled over to the GOBA mooring, next to NB The Navigator, who presumably had found the same problem.

The river still looked lovely, made even better by a brief sighting of the Stretham Kingfisher darting off in the opposite direction.

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