Saturday, 18 March 2017

Early morning sinking feeling...

well not so much a feeling as a blind panic!

I'll explain...

Last night after work we came to the boat as usual to cook dinner and watch rubbish telly.  It was blowing a fair old hoolie outside and once again, I was getting annoyed at the intermittent (but too regular) scraping noise one of the tyres we use to keep us off the bank was making against the side of the hull.  So - around 9pm, I opened the side hatch and dragged it up and onto the bank...  Silence (well ish)...

It occurred to me as we then slammed against the wall, I'd now need to tighten the ropes up to keep us hard a side  (if that's the correct term... you know what I mean).

SO, undies, crocs and head torch later, I was out pulling things nice and tight.

We retired around 10 to watch the last leg in bed -  I drifted off to sleep easily enough and woke around 3.30 when some fecking poles  enthusiastic chaps speaking foreign staggered past the boat on their way home/out partying or wherever.  I noticed my head sloping down hill a bit and went back off to sleep thinking I must work out where to place some ballast to counter the (now getting fuller) poo tank under the bed.  In my dreams I was taking up the bathroom floor and pouring concrete in ... dont worry, i WONT be doing that!

I awoke again around 5 - still thinking, I wonder if the bilge has taken in some water and the alarm hasn't gone off.... so, staggering down the now VERY badly tilting boat STILL 3/4 asleep, I put the bilge pump on and listened.... no water noises so I returned to bed. WHY it didn't occur to me that we weren't rocking at all is beyond me,

5.45 was soon there and my body clock had me up for work...  at which point I was a bit more with it and realised something was wrong... VERY wrong.  I carefully climbed out the back and once I stood on the bank was shocked to see the prop and rudder - not to mention one half of the boat up in the air - suspended by the rear rope.  I tried to loosen it but it wouldn't budge - I suppose 14+ tonnes of boat on a rope does exert a fair bit of tension... although nowhere near as much as I was feeling.  The starboard gunwhale was almost touching the water!!!

Thinking about survival first I ran to the front and banged on the doors instructing Andy to get out of the boat asap without arguing...  For once he did as he was told  asked - usually, we have to have a debate about it but I guess he must have been able to tell from the calm tone of my voice it was serious.

Once he was out, we went to the rear to survey the scene together and decide the best course of action - NOT being sure at what point it would tip over, we kept off the boat and I rummaged in my car for a knife, expecting to have to cut the rope in the hope it would slide back in and be well.

Before destroying the rope however, we formed a 2 man tug of war team and pulled to release my knot. There was an awful scraping noise and "Ellis" lunged back into the water properly with a few clattering noises coming from inside.

What had happened was that when the river is in flood upstream, the automatic gates close us off and through a combination of leaks and feeds for the lower pound, our water lever can drop about 1ft quite quickly.... this had obviously happened last night- leaving us high and dry (well one side) on the shelf.

As you can imagine, the tyre is now well and truly back in place and I'm enjoying the reassuring scraping sounds its making!  SO much so, I may attach an additional length of para-cord to ensure it doesn't get snapped off easily should I park badly! at any point lol.

No photos of this I'm afraid as I didn't have the nerve to go back in to get my phone.

Until next time...


TonyT said...

Oh dear. Sounds scary. I can see you sleeping with one ear open for a while after that. It's amazing that on the A+C the levels vary so much without there being any rain locally.

Mike Todd said...

On its own, the fender tyre is not a contributory factor. If you moored up with it you would be tight against the edge, just the same. When the water drops that much, anything is going to be a problem unless moored with risers, as moorings on rivers usually have.

Anonymous said...

hells bells