The perfect day to start our cruising life. Everything is checked. Water tank full, cassettes empty. Chimney removed.
At 10:00 hrs it’s my turn to (try to) get out of the marina. When I reverse off the jetty my neighbour steps onto her well deck to say goodbye. The way she is dressed, she reminds me of the Goddess of Avalon. I feel blessed. And without touching any jetty or any boat I take us out of the marina, onto the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

Yes, this is how life should be. Happily we cruise away. At Burscough we think it’s time for a little snack. We have tea and something, sitting outside the tearoom, in the sun. And after a yap with a couple that’s moored here, we are on our way again. Taking turns on the tiller, so that I can do my favourite swing bridges.

But, unbeknown to us, WRT decided this should be an educational trip. When I go to the bow, to jump off when we get to Appley Bridge Lock, I hear the water pump. Strange. No one is using any water. And the water pump keeps pumping. Something is wrong here. And while I keep the boat to the bank, Lawrance investigates all the water taps. Galley is OK, bathroom is OK, but when he opens one of the storage compartments under the bed… WATER! Not knowing what is wrong we switch the water pump and calorifier off, do the lock, and moor up at The Boathouse, just after the lock. If we have a serious problem, at least we can have a drink, and food, and use the toilet.

At The Boathouse (Appley Bridge)

At The Boathouse (Appley Bridge)

Something is wrong, under the bed. Did the calorifier start leaking? Or the small tank next to it (whatever it is)? We don’t know. When we lift the mattress off the bed we realise: we now have a water bed. At my side, that is. The bed bottom is wet as well. But there is not too much water on the floor under the bed, so I assume it’s not the calorifier.
We decide to phone River & Canal Rescue. Unfortunately, even with a gold membership, they only cover ‘propulsion’ problems. But they can ask someone to come out and look at the problem. He’ll be with us tomorrow morning between 10:00 and 11:00 hrs.

Well, first lesson of this trip learned: always expect troubles. But WRT, our teacher, is nice. We’re stuck at the best canal pub ever, with very friendly staff, and excellent meals. And we will find out that we only have a minor problem.
But for now we need to rearrange our bed. Lesson number two: the dinette makes a very comfortable double bed.

French Lilies

I wake up around 7 o’clock. I hear the fridge. Nothing unusual, but it works on much higher revs than normal, and when it kicks out, it immediately starts again. That’s weird. Another problem.
When we try to start the engine we have the next problem: it starts… just. All batteries drained? We try to locate this problem, but don’t get any further than: the water pump must have drained the batteries, and with us stopping cruising immediately after we discovered the problem, the batteries didn’t have a chance to recharge.

With the engine running, the fridge is back to normal. Just after 11:00 hrs a guy from PB Mechanical Services in Heath Charnock shows up and solves our water problem: a loose pipe. He tightens up all the other joints, we switch the water pump back on, and everything is OK. We even still have ¾ of our water left. But where did the other ¼ go? Some is in the mat, that is in front of the storage compartment. But not ¼ of the tank…

Dutch Tiller with Scottish Steerer

Dutch Tiller with Scottish Steerer

Anyway, we’re up and running again. Still worrying about our electrical system. According to the Battery Management System one of the circuits doesn’t seem to get charged, but is it the starter battery or is it the domestic ones? At that point we decide to book a course: Get to know your boat with Cheshire Cat, next week in Overwater Marina.

It’s locks today, and me on the tiller, most of the time. We get more lessons from WRT. Locks sometimes look like Manneke Pis in Brussel, so don’t leave windows or side doors open in locks. And another lesson: water has a lot of force. In one lock a gush of water hits the front of the boat, and smashes the boat against the lock wall. I’m OK, WRT is OK, but a lot of stuff inside got dislocated. Most of the books on the shelf are now on the floor, the internal telephone off the hook…

And again one lesson regarding water: if I see water coming into the canal from the side, just when I’m about to enter a lock, I should not only look at it, but also realise that it will push the boat sideways. Leaving me entering the lock like a complete novice.

Same place, different weather and... DIFFERENT BOAT!

Same place, different weather and… DIFFERENT BOAT!

But other than that this again is a good, but tiring day. Every passing boat warns us about the Pagefield Lock Pond being extremely low, but we just sail over it. We do know how it feels when it is really low… Finally, weary and tired, we moor at Dover Lock Inn. We have a meal, and are asleep at 21:00 hrs.

French Lilies

Not surprisingly I wake up as early as 5 o’clock. And I don’t believe what I hear: the fridge, in overdrive again, and continuously. I decide to switch it off at the switch board, and go to sleep again.
While having breakfast/tea (and after starting the engine without problems) we’re discussing the differences between the situation on the boat when we came up from Overwater Marina to Scarisbrick Marina, and now. The only differences being a fridge and an alarm clock. Or either the batteries or the altenator(s) are on their way out. Hopefully they can tell us at Overwater Marina. And with that in mind we start our cruising day.

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