Today I didn’t clean any animal droppings off the boat. I really am living the dream! Instead we watched the rain, which didn’t seem quite as heavy as forecast, and kept warm and dry.
In the late morning the rain was even lighter and I noticed a man walk past carrying a windlass. I correctly guessed he was from the boat behind us and was going through the lock in front – which is big enough for two boats at a time. So we decided to join him. That would reduce the work for everyone, and it was as good a time as any to set off.
The other boat was only going a short distance beyond the lock as he was getting fuel at the marina. So we set off ahead of him, but soon stopped for Clare to do some shopping. The rain was just a sprinkle most of the time down this quiet and narrow canal. We had to stop to fill up with water and negotiate a few swing bridges. The only other event was the repeated sighting of a kingfisher as we approached Tarleton.
We occupied the remaining spot on the visitor moorings in time to have a slightly late lunch. This is our rendezvous point for tomorrow. Some swans peered in at us through the windows.
When the rain was at its lightest, I walked down to have a look at the sea lock. When we are given the go-ahead tomorrow we’ll be going through it on to the (tidal) River Douglas below. The river was a muddy mess with a strong flow out to sea, but didn’t look difficult to navigate. It will be flowing the other way tomorrow when we set off in to the incoming tide.
The locks have two sets of tail gates. One set to keep canal water in, and the other to keep the sea out. I’m not sure what the sequence for opening them is, but tomorrow they will be operated for us by the experts, so I hope to find out.
This afternoon feels like the calm before the storm – we have been working so hard to get to this point, but now there is nothing more to do until morning. I have been revising the Ribble Link Skippers Guide – I don’t want to have the laptop on deck, so having most of it in my head seems like a good idea.
The swans came back later when the rain was almost off. With the window open they were very optimistic about being fed.