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Don't get blase


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#1 Chrisc

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 08:53 AM

A couple of days back we entered Belgium. What amazes me about Europe is how, considering there are no defining borders, yet in a couple of kilometers between France and Belgium the architecture completely changes and the people change from smiling cheerful happy go lucky French to dour glum grumpy Belgians.
I mentioned in a previous post about how we had become a bit blase about locks having transited over 350 so far on this cruise. So we have had our comeuppance.
Most boats carry a couple of serrated edge bread knives on deck, these being the weapon of choice for cutting through dock lines. I thought this a bit over the top, but when in Rome...
Imagining a cleat, you take a turn and any subsequent turns are on top of the initial turn and under the horns of the cleat. No problem so long as its a horizontal pull. So we were in a lock waiting to descend. Joke normally puts one turn on the cleat and holds onto the bitter end, ready to pay it out. She put one extra turn on so she could go and adjust the fenders, the lock started to empty and the line started to pull vertically up to the bollard as the boat went down, jamming the line under the horns of the cleat. Luckily with a herculean effort she managed to yank it free. Made quite a splash when the boat dropped.
The second incident was just a couple of days later. It was in a lock going downhill, dead easy, just drop a couple of lines over the bollards.. Joke over reached a little and fell into the lock. She was lucky not to run foul of the propeller or get squashed between the boat and the lock wall. But she still ended up with a few bruises and torn muscles. And to add Insult to injury the water was dirty and skungey and complete with a dead swan floating close by. Wisdom dictates that I refrain from laughing, at least for a couple of weeks.
So it pays to stay alert.
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#2 Hurts

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 04:07 PM

Had an old guy in the lock ahead of us do a similar trick, tied boat onto a steel ladder on side of the lock - water went out and weight of the boat ripped ladder off the side off the lock and it came crashing down on the boat and smashed a window, lucky he wasn't standing below trying to undo the rope at that exact moment. Locks all seem deceptively peaceful until something like that happens...

 

We are heading up to Oxford canal in next school holidays - it's a very strange boating activity but a good holiday and the kids love it. 


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#3 B00B00

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Posted 22 July 2019 - 06:20 PM

The panama canal also has its challenges. You are rafted 2 or 3 together and going up or down 30ft at a time with very turbulent water. Chuck in ship prop wash and it can be quite hairy. I heard a few horror stories while we were there. It's a well oiled machine but you need competent line handlers.
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#4 AJ Oliver

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Posted 23 July 2019 - 03:38 AM

And you might get kicked by a mule !! 

 


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#5 Chrisc

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 02:57 AM

And you might get kicked by a mule !! 
 

And you might also get kicked by your wife.
We have seen a lot of photos of canal life circa 1880's in museums and so on. Most of the barges shown look to be about 15 meters. Some photos show the skipper, one arm draped lazily over the tiller whilst he fiddles with his pipe, and on the towpath his wife in a leather harness arrangement pulling the barge along.
Were they the good old days?
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