Saturday, 16 July 2016

How to extract your frigate from a mud bank

This was the view from Jubilee this morning; that's the stern of Bendigedig in the centre.

I knocked but there was no reply.

As promised, here is a shot of the broken lift bridge on the Prees Branch with the bridge deck in the foreground.

The woodwork has clearly suffered. Was it hit by a boat?

After turning right out of the Prees Branch back on to the main line I opened the first lift bridge we came to. Another boat was following us so I waved it through and was expecting to catch Jan up on the towpath. But Terry on Ellie insisted on giving me a lift. I think he really wanted company, so I got on and talked with him for an hour or so before "jumping ship" at a bridge hole and getting back on Jubilee. Here he is following us.

Terry had been used to rather larger boats: in a former life as a Marine he steered frigates. He described how he would be shut away in a small room with a wheel and a strip display compass with a vertical line on it. His job was to hold the course as directed by the captain on the bridge via a speaking tube. The steerer's room had no windows! In one of his tales he recounted how the boat grounded on an uncharted mudbank in the Indian Ocean. To free the vessel the engines were put in full astern and the crew ordered to run repeatedly en masse from one side to the other until the boat eventually extricated itself. I think Terry said it took an hour.

We are now in the safer territory of Whitchurch, having moored at the end of the arm as we did on the way up to Llangollen. We had a good Indian meal at the Blue Water restaurant. Slight shame they messed up the bill, charging me for a drink the next table had, deleting it when I pointed it out and then failing to correct the total. All was OK in the end and, as I say, the food was good.

1 comment:

Elsie said...

Hi, Sorry we missed you, we're in south Wales catching up with our family. Enjoy your cruising, Elsie & Eric