The Goole Escape, Knotted Sheets. 21st May

Viking Marina to…….

Not much impetus to get out of bed this morning due to rain and thinking our escape plans might be postponed, we drank our tea and looked at weather forecasts, river levels after the recent rainfall. Wind looked to be dying down this afternoon, would this give us an opportunity to make our first move in the escape plan?

Oleanna behind the fence

A phone call from Nigel at Selby Lock brought us news that the River Ouse was starting to come up, due to peek on Sunday morning at 3.5 m. Today passage would be possible but not tomorrow as the amount of fresh coming down the river would hinder our progress upstream even with the tide. He also thought that our trip round Trent Falls currently booked for Sunday 06:30 would be unwise as we would likely be fighting our way up the Trent to Keadby too. If we weren’t going to go today he was suggesting waiting until Tuesday to head to Selby and then head back the way we’d come continuing to Trent Falls on Wednesday. The tides would just make it possible to arrive at Keadby within working hours.

Out to meet the flotilla

We needed to chat to the others and see what they thought. Better to do this face to face rather than on Whatsapp. We got dressed and paddled our way round to the moorings past the big work boats to convene the escape committee.

Shower now full leaving the well deck clear

David had also talked to Nigel, he had also spotted the dip in wind speed this afternoon, which hopefully would coincide with a drop in rainfall too. The wind forecast actually showed it changing direction around about the time the tide would change, the important bit about this was that the wind would be going in the same direction as the tide, reducing the possibility of waves.

Goodbye pontoon

Four out of six of us were happy to give the plan a green light, the other two were still in bed, hopefully they would agree. We headed back to Oleanna for breakfast and to prepare for departure.

Mind Lisa’s boat!

Water tank filled, well deck cleared of everything other than the anchor and chain, rubbish in the bins. The trip computer was set, Nebo started. Just as we were untying the chap from a few boats away started telling us of doom and gloom stories of when he’d been through Ocean Lock, his wife nearly being thrown overboard! Blimey, that didn’t sound good! But we have learnt to take such tales with a pinch of salt.

All of a sudden everyone in the marina had come out, the rain having just about stopped along with a boat moving brought people out from beside their stoves, all nicely timed with us reversing off our pontoon and trying our best not to hit Lisa’s boat whilst the wind had other ideas. Other members of our flotilla were at the services on the other side as we pulled out and turned towards the docks, mooring up at the diesel point at Viking Marina. Time to fill up the tank and check out.

Only 38 litres used in 8 months! Mick gave Laird an electric meter reading, handed back our gate key fob. Then we treated ourselves to two new rope fenders a bit chunkier than the one’s we’d found in a skip a few years ago. These were our present to Oleanna for having a quiet winter and to celebrate leaving Goole.

Escape pod at the ready

Time for lunch, last checks, winter waterproof trousers, life jackets on and Tilly’s escape pod zipped up ready just in case. David and Karl came down to tread water alongside us, shortly followed by Martin and Wendy who had finally been convinced that the weather should stay dry for the trip.

David radioed through to Ocean Lock to ask permission to enter the docks. Radio checks were done all round, all working. We pushed out behind Sea Maiden and Lulabelle.

No need for any bridges to swing for us, David had dropped his masts knowing that then he’d fit under. Plenty of head room for the two of us following.

Past the Tom Pudding hoist (footage of it in use). Oleanna wasn’t quite smiling as she normally does, maybe pensive for her entrance onto the River Ouse. A kind word and a slight adjustment of the cable between her horns and she was reassured, smiling back at us again.

No ships to dwarf us

Such a shame the docks were empty of ships today, nothing for us to feel really insignificant alongside.

Sea Maiden pulled into the port side of the lock, followed by Lulabelle. We were directed to the starboard side of the lock. No ropes required to hold us into the side. The huge gates closed behind us.

We all just bobbed there, plenty of space for loads more boats of our size.

Down we go

Then gradually the water emptied from the lock, the tide was a lot lower than we’d expected it to be, 8 maybe 10ft lower than the canal.

The gates opened in front of us. No need for the chap in the control tower to tell us the ‘gates are in the recess’ as he does for the big ships. The chap who was on the lock side just said we could go as the gates were opening.

David and Karl led the way in Sea Maiden, Martin and Wendy next in Lulabelle then we pushed out from the wall and followed on behind.

Ahead a huge expanse of water. Each boat exited the lock and did a sharp turn to the left, the flow of the incoming tide pushing us slightly as we turned. Blimey it’s wide, it’s really wide.

David pushed on ahead, we waited for Lulabelle to pick up speed, but soon we passed Martin and Wendy, Oleanna wanting to go faster to stretch herself with the incoming tide.

Bye bye Goole

Behind us the Salt and Pepper pots along with the spire of St John’s stood tall, Goole was overcast and getting further away by the second. We’ll see them again when we come back in a few days, but for now it was rather nice to be seeing the back of them. The first part of our escape completed, we just had to reach Selby now!

8 thoughts on “The Goole Escape, Knotted Sheets. 21st May

    1. Pip Post author

      Thank you. We’ve still a way to go before our escape can be considered complete. Fingers and paws will be crossed until we reach the main canal system.

  1. Anonymous

    Brilliant stuff Pip great post, tension filled!
    Good luck fingers xed for the rest of the escape.

    1. Pip Post author

      Thank you Ade. We’ve a long way to go yet and the blinkin weather ain’t helping!

  2. joamungoanddog

    The kittens (11 of them now!) have been doing sun dances for you, not sure how that’s working out for you though! Good luck with the escape, have fun and stay safe!

    1. Pip Post author

      Thank you Joa, but I think the kittens need more practice. Tilly isn’t coping too well with having to sleep all day at the moment so she’s not joining in with the dancing, just sulking!

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