Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Canal Cruise: The Stanley Dock Branch and Dock Link

Today Albatross sailed from Eldonian Village to Salthouse Dock. I walked down in the morning to meet them at Eldonian Village. On the way I passed the Green Man, made famous by the Boys From the Black Stuff. Its about the only pub on this road that is still in business as a pub.

The boat and crew had survived the night intact. Troy had put his life jacket on, it means he cant bend in the middle but also makes him easier to see and grab hold of. He doesn't mind it but it isn't his favourite outfit.

We were early for our trip down the locks so we went for a walk up the canal a little way. The bridges have been repainted and now look very smart in black and white. The area around the canal and the junction with the Stanley Dock Branch has been done up.

We were very early for the trip down the locks, Troy had a sniff round the locks. We thought another boat was coming with us but they had only come to Eldonian for the night and gone back again. So it was just us today.

The two BW men turned up on time and we set off down the locks. There is a whole world of slime on lock walls. Some of the walls have leaks which you have to watch out for. The new gates hold the water very well compared to some on the system that leak like a fountain. It didn't take long to go down the locks, the wind blew us about a bit but there were no problems.

I have walked down the locks many times before, this is the first time I have been down them in a boat (that I recall). Out of the locks and into the docks. The scale changes and suddenly the canal boat is in a different world of huge warehouses and wide expanses of water.

Through Stanley Dock and under the lift bridge (which is being demolished sometime). As we headed towards the clock tower the batteries in my camera died, and so did the spares. So I switched cameras (photos to follow later).

There isnt much of a view up to Princes Dock, some landscaping is in order! We arrived at the lock in the dock at the same time as the BW crew and were soon locked through into the first tunnel. I have watched this tunnel being built so it was good to finally be sailing through it. There are stalactites already.
My sister arrived on cue to film us sailing in front of the 3 graces. Through the tunnels and on to Mann Island. The last lock into the south docks looks a bit different to the usual locks. Above it massive new glass buildings are being constructed.
Out of the lock and it was a short trip through the Albert Dock to our mooring in Salthouse Dock.

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