I was privileged to join Paul and Christine as day crew on their boat PUFFIN, as part of the St Pancras convoy down to the new pontoon at Gravesend.
We had the usual safety brief on Friday evening, including an induction to the mysteries of channel 68 (to which we switch from channel 14 at Crayfordness).
We left Bow locks on Saturday 1st June at 0845, with all 11 boats passing through in free flow mode. We were joined by tug MAJOR, our safety boat for the trip, on the main tideway. We had a straightforward run downstream on the ebb tide, passing the Dartford Creek and going under the Dartford Bridge (too big to photograph), arriving at Gravesend nearly an hour before low water. We were later joined by two extra boats who had travelled around the Isle of Grain from the Medway. Weather cold and overcast.
Quite a bit of fiddling around with mooring lines, to take the strain of both flood and ebb tides – just relying on the inner of 5 boats to hold everyone outside of them would be very risky.
Various social events on Saturday evening, including a meal at the Three Daws. Then a guided walk on Sunday morning on the Thames & Medway canal (kindly provided by David Rouse from the Thames and Medway Canal Association). We had a quick safety brief on the excellent pontoon, and set off at low water at 1430. The upstream run took a little longer, as we had less benefit from the tide, and after some interesting manoeuvres around some quite large ships, we locked in at Limehouse from 1845 onwards, in five lockings.
- Downstream trip: photos, and GPS tracker.
- Photos of Gravesend moorings and locale.
- Upstream trip: photos, and GPS tracker.
(NB the pontoon does not show on the satellite pictures used on the GPS!).
- Real-time photoblog from INDIGO DREAM
- Blog from crew of the narrow boat HERBIE (and more)
- Blog from crew of the narrow boat CHANCE
New links (added 8th June). Some more considered blogs from INDIGO DREAM: