Flotilla to Ely - Day 1

Friday 27th May 2016
Flotilla to Ely - Day 1

Our four day trip out on the River Great Ouse begins!

Woke up at 9:30am this morning and got straight to the jobs that needed doing before we were to set off. Job 1 was to brim that water tank so we had enough water to last us our four days on the river. There are water points along the way but it's a bit of a chore to pull over, find and connect the hose pipe and spend 30 mins filling the tank. So, we chose let the tank fill while we did a few other jobs. After fitting our new VHF whip aerial a couple of days ago, I had realised that I must have disturbed the TV antenna connector in the radar arch. This meant I had to take off all the panels on the arch and trace back the connector to figure out what had gone wrong. Luckily, it was only that the connector had slipped free from the signal booster hidden beneath all the cabling in the arch so the TV wasn't receiving any reception. Took a pair of pliers and squeezed the connector down a bit so it would fit a bit better - problem solved.
Then, it was time to fill the tank with petrol. Unfortunately, our new carburettors had not arrived in time for us to put them on before we set off on our trip so we're conquering it with just the starboard engine. We're fairly confident that this engine will be fine, even with an old, horrid carb. We can only do 7mph at most so it's not like we're going to put the poor thing to the extream. It should just happily tick along. So anyway, where we only have one engine running, we only had to half fill one petrol tank. Two trips to the local fuel garage later and the tank was 1/2 full - plenty for our 40-mile trip. We've stored the 20l petrol can in the anchor locker just in case we need to top up along the way for any reason as we still don't know how economical these 4.3l V6 Volvo engines are... Only time will tell at this point.

So, jobs done, it was time to set sail. The weather forecast for the next couple of days isn't brilliant, but not too bad either. Today and tomorrow will be lovely with low wind speeds. However, Sunday and Monday are going to blow up a bit so we will need to take care when mooring and navigating the Old West River - one of the shallowest and narrowest parts of the River which is known for damaging propellers. Let's hope our twin duo-props stay safe or it'll turn out being an expensive trip.

The first lock we had to do is just beside the marina entrance. It's not always too nice heading downstream because you are immediately presented with a deep lock before you've even started your journey. Nevermind, we got through it and slowly cruised down to the Pike&Eel marina about four miles along the river, heading downstream from St Ives. We moored beside our friends, the other Sealine 290 Ambassador, Josie, who we will be travelling together with for the next four days. Very excited about out little flotilla as we've never done it before. It should be a good bank holiday weekend.
Bandit at Saint Ives Lock

Moored Beside Josie at the Pike&Eel Marina

This evening, as the weather was so pleasant, we decided to BBQ. Cheeseburgers, eggs and beans were on the menu, as per usual when we have a BBQ. We had to be careful not to set the dried-out grass on fire as we cooked our dinner for I'm sure the marina would have something to say about that. Dinner was lovely and we now await the arrival of the crew from Josie.
BBQ for Dinner
Tomorrow morning's job list consist of another quick spray down with the hose (so Bandit looks all pretty rolling up at Ely), a quick tidy up below and for Josie to fill up her diesel tanks for the trip away. It's at times like these we do still wish we were lucky enough to come across such a lovely presented diesel-engined 290A, but no matter, Bandit will eventually get over her 'engine illnesses' and we'll begin to enjoy the quiet V6 petrol engines at their best. The marina doesn't start serving diesel until 10:00 so the plan is to be under way by about 10:30-11:00 which is ideal. Then for the non-stop, scenic 5-hour cruise to Ely.

More as it happens...


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