The mornings have begun with fog and heavy frost. We are hoping for warmer temperatures, but for now we will be thankful that it hasn’t rained.
Today presented new challenges in the form of some very narrow channels, blind tight radius turns, and side winds that conspired to push us off course.
There were other frustrations, but the worse was being wind pushed diagonally across a 50 foot wide section of canal in a 61 foot long boat. Do the math and you will correctly conclude that we had 11 feet of too much boat. We wedged fore and aft. 10 minutes of effort brought us back on course, but with the temporary loss of my dignity.
There were 9 locks today, including a flight of four that followed one immediately after the other.
Here is a link to a 15 second time-lapse video of our passage through a single canal boat lock: “15 Seconds in a Lock”
Dignity was restored at the next lock where we learned that the previous day an experienced skipper managed to wedge his boat in that lock. It took the canal authorities 16 hours to extricate his vessel and repair the damaged brickwork.
Speeds on the canals are not to exceed 4 miles per hour, a very fast walk or slow jogging pace. One might scoff at the notion that such a snail’s pace could cause anxiety, let alone fear. However, Salten-Fjord and most of the other vessels it encounters weigh over 30,000 pounds… have imprecise steering and really lousy brakes. What’s more, some of the fancier canal boats sport custom paint jobs costing over 15,000 Pounds (about $20,000.00)! It’s little wonder that we as novices have white knuckles and tension headaches at the end of the day. A pint of real English Bitter (ale) is the prescribed cure at a pub (The Farmer’s Arms) that also serves an amazing shank of lamb!
Our progress is slow but steady as we approach our first experience operating drawbridges, crossing aqueducts, and navigating pitch dark tunnels. Stay tuned!
Peace Everyone. Pete
PS. Today is Kris Ashton’s Birthday. Happy Birthday… we are honored that she chose to spend it with us.