Bandit's Off to Ely Again - Day 1

Thursday 27th October 2016 - Day 1 of our third holiday to Ely.

I sit here aboard Bandit now at Ely quayside with the Eberspacher diesel heating tick away.

Today we began at our home marina, Jones Boatyard, in Saint Ives and arrival at Ely Quayside a good 5-6 hours later (full trip details follow). Overall, it's been a fantastic run. We left the marina at about 9:30 and had an enjoyable cruise to Hermatage Lock, where the River Great Ouse meets the Old West River which is notorious for being incredibly weedy and shallow - not ideal for a twin outdrive duo-prop driven Sealine, if we're honest...
Filling the first lock at Saint Ives
Heading towards the Pike & Eel marina
Brownshill Lock
Brownshill Lock

I'm happy to say that the 3-4 hour run down the Old West, running at a speed of 4mph all the way, went very well. The weather was pleasant, albeit a little chilly at times when we hit The Fens and we were no longer sheltered from the wind. We had never had much luck down this river. Last time we had a rather serious blockage in the starboard outdrive. We pulled over to let a passing boat by and as we pulled away, the drive sucked up all the mud from the riverbed and clogged the drive. When coming down this river today, we reached a maximum of 1.2 meters in depth and a minimum of 0.2m depth below the keel.
The start to a long journey down the Old West River
Re-joining the River Great Ouse at Popes Corner

The run to Ely after this river then meets the Ouse again was fantastic. It's a deep, wide, straight part of the river and to put Bandit to the test once more, we gave her some throttle. A maximum of 24mph was reached along here today and that's plenty fast enough for us. I had the trim tabs at their lowest setting so I imagine that with some correct adjustment to these, we'd hit a higher top speed? I need to do some further researching. Maybe tomorrow morning as we plan to head down a similar part of the river where we can really give her some gas. The video below is of Bandit stretching her legs heading for Ely. I can't tell you how nice it is to finally have Bandit's engine performing properly...


We moored up at the quay, just outside The Cutter Inn like we always try to. It's a lovely spot and only two steps away from the pub. We walked into town and stopped at Sainsbury's to get some dinner and provisions for tomorrow's short trip. We plan to head mid-afternoon from Ely tomorrow and make our way to The Swan On The River restaurant at Littleport, just a couple of miles downstream from Ely. If all goes to plan and the river is quiet, it shouldn't take us long at all! To top off the evening, we had a fab sunset over Ely looking upstream. This view was so lovely I took near 50 photos of the same sunset and Bandit on the camera to ensure I got a good one. I think it came out quite well!
Bandit moored at Ely Quayside, anchor down for added security
Some funny young geese at Ely Quayside
Sunset over Ely
Sunset over Ely ft. Bandit
Sunset later in the evening

Saint Ives to Ely - trip details:
Total miles: 22.2 miles
Time overall: 5hrs 12mins
Total move time: 4hrs 13mins
Top speed: 21knots
Arrival time at Ely: 1430 hrs

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