Monday, 18 April 2011

Engine Failure on River ThamesI have been watching the boats leaving Limehouse Basin today to make their forays up and down the Thames.

When I first went out it was low tide and nothing could have escaped from Limehouse Basin.  The inlet on the left of this picture is the entrance to the basin.

Boats going upstream are destined to re-enter the Grand Union Canal at Brentford or to reach the limit of the tidal section at Teddington.  They leave Limehouse on an incoming tide to carry them at enhanced speed aiming to reach their destination just as the tide turns which makes their entry into their destination lock more manageable than if they we being carried with the  flow or fighting the ebb.

Narrowboat Tiddler was the  only boat heading for Teddington today so they  left around 11.30am encountering the wash from a waterbus immediately!

However they were soon on their way on a calm river.

An hour later three narrowboats set off for Brentford, two of them returning with the tide at 6pm by which time the wind had picked up and the water was a trifle choppy .
I took a break at this point whilst a variety of cruisers made their exodus up and down stream. By mid afternoon the river was higher than the basin and the lock was lifting boats rather than dropping them before disgorging them into the arms of Old Father Thames.

At this stage in the day there is insufficient air-draft under Narrow Street and the road has to be swung to the side to allow passage.

Compare the water level here with the picture of Tiddler leaving a few hours earlier in the day.

However this procedure was interrupted by developments outside the lock in the river.

A small cargo ship passing Gordon Ramsay's pub lost its power and took refuge against the river wall creating quite a stir amongst the diners and drinkers.

This was not a problem until the ebb tide swung the vessel round so that it partially obstructed the lock approach.

So the road bridge was returned to perform its role as a highway whilst the matter was considered.


Finally it was decided that the expertise of the boat crew was sufficient to navigate the reduced exit and away they went.

Francesca Prior , I believe, had suffered oil loss through a leaky or broken pipe which was repaired in an hour or so and she, too, left the scene

Oh I do find it interesting down here.  Perhaps we will stay for another day.

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