Today we had to get from Exeter to March, pick up the boat, and get it through Marmont Priory lock before it got dark at 5pm and the lock being shut. We planned to do as much of the journey as possible in daylight, because night navigation on the Middle Level is very much verboten and frowned upon, not to mention hairy with low bridges.
Our alarm went off at 6am, and we caught the train at 7.50. After a few quick changes, we arrived at the boatyard by 12.30, filled up with 30 litres of diesel and set off.
What a change! The engine sounds utterly different, with a dry exhaust. The rudder was much more solid with no play or waggle- it was like a completely different boat!
A bit of complicated reversing out of the marina, without touching any of the moored boats, set us on our way. Once out of March and on deeper water, we made good time, arriving at the lock at 3.15, although we had to help the lockkeepers reset it after a previous boat. Arriving in Upwell at 4, we attempted to get some CHIPS as sustenence, but no-where open did any so we headed off, arriving at Salter's Lode at just after six pm. Many times I had to use a burst of reverse to clear the prop, which often clogged with weeds and leaves. We would have had to flush the intake at least eight or nine times, I reckoon, were it not for our new skin tank!
We plan on getting the 7am tide tomorrow morning to Denver, and arriving back in Waterbeach at four pm or so, in a long Kestrel-style day!