Tues 5th May
It was windy. Pretty windy. And it is difficult to hover about in front of locks, waiting for them to be opened, at the best of times. Adrian was concerned that we should be ready to moor up at the side if necessary so I prepared ropes both sides, just in case….
A low hanging tree branch swept our starboard stern rope off – I ran back and retrieved it! Hooray!!
But didn’t notice it had also swept off the mid ship rope……..
We started to enter the lock; the engine cut out.
I was helping the eclusiere to haul 2 great lumps of tree out of the lock.
Engine restarted and stopped again.
Eclusiere was stressed because we were ‘en panne’ in the lock and she had ‘C’est la Vie’ (hotel peniche) coming next.
The hire boat (very pleasant french couple) behind us pushed us out.
Sounds easy – it wasn’t!
There was moi on the stern hanging onto the hire boat’s pulpit rail and the french lady was kneeling on their bow holding onto our stern rails. We managed to keep the boats in line and their front fender against out stern fendering. It was bloody hard!!
We got the giggles – particularly when she said ‘trust the men to get the easy jobs!’
They did a very good job of getting us out, and we went to the side and pulled the boat out of the way of the peniche’s exit line. And tied her up very securely.
Another hotel peniche was also expected from the other direction.
How’s your luck!!!
It became obvious that the mid ship rope had been caught around the prop. What a nightmare!
Nothing for it but to get down there and cut the offending rope!
Now, just before we came away, Adrian, with some help from Stuart, purchased a wetsuit for just such an eventuality. So Adrian donned the wetsuit, which is not an easy, or quick, task in itself.
No ducking into a telephone box (or tardis for that matter), doing a quick twirl and emerging suitably glad with his knickers on the outside…….
So, into the deep went Sir Adrian. And just when he thought things were beginning to work, I looked up and saw the second peniche approaching so he had to get out again! The passengers on that peniche looked a little bemused by his attire but the crew were sympathetic.
Back in again, after sawing like billy-oh with knife, hacksaw etc, sometimes having to go right under the stern so that I could no longer see him, Adrian managed to remove the rope! Took abut half an hour all told.
‘Yippee’ she cried! My hero!!
Then came the task of rinsing off the wetsuit, removing it etc etc
Just as well it was a secluded place!
In fact it was a very pretty & secluded place. We spent the night there with magnificent stars above and a glorious dawn chorus to awaken us bright and early.
When Adrian later saw the guys on ‘C’est la Vie’, they were most impressed that we had a wetsuit on board. Apparently once the same thing happened to them, except that they had about 20 metres of their huge rope (3-4cms thick)wrapped around their prop. And no wetsuit. Took 2 of them 4 hrs working in shifts to dive under and cut through the rope.
Adrian reckons the wetsuit has just paid for itself!