Here We Go… Here We Go…

We’ve had 12 full days in Aqueduct Marina, and developed a bad dose of ‘cabin fever’, we were fast getting to the ‘end of our tether’. Being parked on the ‘dark side’ of the marina, downwind of where boats were getting power washed and sandblasted, wasn’t doing much for the chesty coughs we’ve had for a couple of weeks. Still, we did get a load of work done.

At the first opportunity which was this morning, we managed to break free, and it was a sight for sore eyes when the tractor and ‘boat cradle’ arrived to collect Cyan.

Over the past couple of days we’ve been relieved that Rusty has been running up and down the ‘scary’ ladders without a problem, though he did go berserk when he thought ‘his’ boat was being stolen.

Within five minutes of Cyan being dropped back into the water, we were off!

Despite the weather forecast saying it’s going to be a sunny day, the clouds looked ominous, we even had a brief rain shower.

Both Minshull Lock (#2) and Cholmondeston Lock (#1) were busy, with boats waiting to ascend and descend. I helped with the locking while chatting to boaters as they went through the locks. Surprising what information can be gleaned. One boater told us to make sure we stop in Audlem to visit the fantastic butcher that is there.

Seeing that I helped other boaters with the locks, I didn’t feel a twinge of guilt popping back on to Cyan while still in the lock.

We had intended to turn right at Barbridge Junction, and make our way to Chester. But that was last week, before we had a change of mind. We’ve decided to change tack and ‘aim’ for the Coventry Canal.

We want to refurbish our galley, and we thought Aqueduct Marina could help. We’ve not officially had the estimate yet, they are going to email it to us, but we’ve been made aware it’s going to be over £7.5k, and that’s after we supply the cooker/hob, fridge, worktops, and sink. Furthermore they don’t have a ‘slot’ until next year!

There are some other work, like making indoor windows and frame for the hatch, and rebuilding the steps down from the stern. The ‘estimate’ has made our eyes water, so we’re off to get other estimates – two of which we hope will come from boatyards we trust on the Coventry.

Couldn’t see much activity at Hurlesden Junction.

All appears quiet at the locks, no boats going up and down, to and from the Llangollen Canal.

This is a real rubbish boat, there’s even plants growing through the rubbish. We saw this boat in May, except it was facing the other way. So many questions!

John’s really pleased with the work done on Cyan, which was having the top bearing replaced on the rudder, and the skeg cup bearing replaced. Cruising now appears quieter, steering is much more responsive, and the ‘play’ has gone.

We’re now moored just after Nantwich Aqueduct. We had hoped to do the two Hack Green Locks today, except the boat in front was excessively slow, we’d travelled several miles behind it on tick-over, and it was easier for us to call it a day.

Just a little tip: Before we left we had a delivery from Tesco, I’d ordered a pack of Paracetamol, 2 boxes of Lemsip, and 2 bottles of cough medicine. When ordering the medicine, a message appeared on screen saying I’d gone over my quota for medicine. I ignored the message, and Tesco delivered my full order.

We’ve travelled 7 miles, and manoeuvred through 2 locks. WiFi is 20Mg. Postcode is CW5 5HQ.


It’s All Been Worth The Pain

When we attempted to book Cyan at Aqueduct Marina to come out of the water, we explained we are ‘liveaboards’, and that we’d be staying on the boat. A manager explained it would be fine, except getting on and off the boat would be down to us, and that the marina (due to an ‘insurance’ issue) can’t provide ladders.  That left us with a dilemma, how do we get Rusty, our 45Kg German Shepherd, on and off the boat? With our strength combined, we’d still not be strong enough to throw him over a shoulder, and carry him up a ladder!

After a conversation with a director, he assured us we’d find a solution, though he stressed the marina could not be liable for what our ‘solution’ would be.  Before Cyan was removed from the water, we’d spotted quite a few wooden pallets lying around, and thought; if all else fails, we could build a wooden platform.

Luckily Cyan was ‘parked’ on a hard standing next to a boat that appears to be a ‘project too far’. The boat had a makeshift, yet sturdy ladder. So we borrowed it. The marina staff made a gesture we interpreted as ‘nothing to do with us’. If the boat owner does turn up, we’d gladly buy him a drink!

Rusty’s ears once again getting in on the picture!

When dogs ‘land’ after jumping onto something, they obviously need a ‘landing space’, the bigger the dog, and the bigger the jump, then the bigger a landing area is needed. When we were looking for ‘our boat’, we couldn’t get Rusty to jump onto a ‘trad narrowboat’, he was nervous about the smaller ‘landing’ space on the stern. He’s also a very cautious, or nervous dog, and he wont dive into a situation without ‘thinking’ (unless he sees a cat – wish we could cure him of seeing cats as prey). So getting him to jump up the ladder, and get him on Cyan’s deck which is over 5ft from the ground wasn’t pretty! His life-jacket helped with its handle for ‘fishing’ him out of the water. Initially, enticing him on the boat with the promise of a tennis ball as a reward worked, though this has now worn off. The tennis ball is/was THE ultimate ploy for getting him to do anything. Edible treats just don’t ‘cut it’ for Rusty. It’s a battle we’re presently having to go through several times a day!

We’ll be pleased when Cyan gets back in water which has been promised for Tuesday; though no doubt Rusty will be the ‘most’ pleased!

When we’ve been working on Cyan outside, Rusty’s been with us, though tied up. Several boats away from us, live two beautiful ‘Bengal Tiger’ cats, and for his own protection, rather than the protection of the cats, he’s tied up. I’m without doubt that Rusty would come off the worse if there was a scrap.

After treating the rust problem in the cratch area caused by the hard plastic matting, the area was treated with red-oxide anti-rust paint, including both sides of the lid over the water tank/bladder. The lid was then refitted and resealed. Both metal lockers were painted inside with the red-oxide paint, including the top of the lockers.

The blue coach paint was sanded where the paint had chipped, and the sanded areas painted with the red-oxide.

When dried the whole area was painted blue, and the floor painted with gunnel paint.

The new black rubber matting was fitted on the floor, and the ‘older’ blue hard plastic mat placed on top. The blue looks more durable, though the black is a good protector. I’m really pleased this area has now been sorted, as it was starting to niggle.

It’s far too nice for a winter coal ‘ole’!

The whole of the stern was painted.

Including the top.

Under the mat, the floor was painted with gunnel paint. Just in case the mat slips as one of us jump onto the bank from the boat, a couple of strips of non-slip tape was attached to the deck, under the mat.

Reachable scratches and problems on the coach paint was flatted back with a sander, treated with red-oxide and repainted (canal-side we’ll treat the presently non-reachable areas). Problem areas on the gunnel were sanded, red-oxide applied, and the whole gunnel and strikes on both sides were painted with ‘Andy Russell Gunwale Paint’. The bitumen blacking was applied by the Marina.

It’s literally been a real pain, but we’re pleased with the results, and we have the satisfaction that Cyan is now beach winter ready! Doing this sort of work while afloat, would have been much harder, and obviously impossible in areas.

Aqueduct Marina is rather interesting as there is a large area where boats are on a hard standing, with their owners doing all sorts of DIY projects. As it seams to be tradition on the waterways, boat owners are generally willing to offer helpful advice to other boat owners. As one guy put it, there’s a wealth of experience that is being shared, much more advice can be gleaned than from a ‘normal’ boatyard where profits on parts/chandlery is a priority. Whereas boaters tend to know the cheapest, and most efficient ways to solve problems, including where the cheapest parts are, i.e. B&Q or Halfords.

Hopefully tomorrow the rudder bearings will arrive, ready for the ‘rudder repair team’ to work their ‘magic’ on Tuesday.

Wednesday will see us setting off on our next voyage.

Love the signage on a neighbouring boat.