Yesterday afternoon we walked along the river bank until we were opposite Denver Sluice, it was low tide and I was able to see the silt bank at the mouth of the lock, unlike last time we travelled this way it is now almost flat without a deeper channel between the main island and the lock moorings. At first this looks good as there is no longer a narrow channel that you need to follow to enter the lock, unfortunately its actually bad news, the island is a bit lower but the rest is higher giving even less depth of water to enter the lock regardless of your approach angle.
This morning we were all set to go a little before 9 am. Honesty who was moored just ahead of us was going first and we would∟ follow on. Due to the height of the tide the could not lock through until the water had gone down a bit. As soon as they left the lock and Paul had turned it we were ready to go in with Diana ashore to operate the offside gate. We left as soon as the gate lifted and on Paul’s instructions went full speed down towards Denver Sluice, backing off as we reached slack water in front of the lock in case we went aground and sure enough we did. Even though I was going dead slow it was still a worrying couple of minutes while i wriggled free and backed off, the top of a silt bank on a falling tied is not the best place to be sitting around and it was probable falling half an inch per minute. I had two more attempts to find some water over the silt without success, if I had got onto a flat section and bottomed out we would still be there.
By now the lock keeper was on the end of the jetty and we agreed that I would push up the New Bedford River against the tide until I was level with the sluice then turn at right angles and come across the face of the sluices and behind the island. This went very well until my bow almost reached the lock landing as the wind that was blowing briskly up the river was now pushing me onto the sluice. I stopped with my bow fender against the end of the landing stage and the side of the hull against the end off side lock wall. From here we pivoted into the lock.
After all this excitement we stopped to do a pump out and fill with water at the services by Denver sailing Club before heading off upstream. Some of the sheep we past that had just been shorn where looking decidedly chilly in their summer clothes, well it is almost 10 deg. outside. swans came sailing towards us, By The Ship Pub a pair of swans came sailing towards us, it wasn’t until they had passed that I noticed she had her family onboard.
We continued on to moor at Littleport for the night. There are 3 sets of moorings, 2 opposite each other by The Swan and one set to the north of the town where we have moored. Just down the road is The Fen House Restaurant which only opens on a Friday and Saturday so we will have to eat onboard tonight.