Preparing for our 1st London Passage

24 May, 2015

This week we have had many of the emotions one can have.

Firstly, we have had  work done on the boat to upgrade to a Category C boat, the standard required for the PLA (Port of London Authority), which enables us to travel on the Tidal River through central London.

On Tuesday we arrived in Limehouse Basin, not far from Canary Wharf, where we had the inspection to check the work was done to the PLA’s requirements.  This we passed.  Great News!!

Whilst moored at Limehouse, we made a visit to The Grapes pub owned by Sir Ian McKellen. What a charming small place it is.

Awaiting transit onto the River Thames

Moored at Limehouse Basin

We were ready on Wednesday morning for the passage out of Limehouse at 12.30 when (Low and behold) the lock keeper came and informed us that the outer lock gate would not close properly and that it could be days or even weeks before it was fixed.  Everyone on board was deflated to say the least.

Then arrived the Local Knowledge expert (LKE) who we need on board whilst we navigate this part of the River Thames. He quickly came up with a solution: Go back up the Limehouse Cut to Bow Locks where the River Lee starts and enter the River Thames via the Bow Back River, lower down near the O2 Arena.  Joy for everyone!!

We received permission from the PLA but then we could not get hold of CRT to open the lock at Bow.  No one could quite believe it!  Emotions were up, then down.

Anyway, we arranged to come out through Bow locks the next day, (Thursday) and arranged to meet Craig (out LKE) at Bow Locks at 1pm.

Entrance to Bow Locks

View of Bow Locks

People came to work on the broken gate that morning but just before we left we heard them say that it was a major job and would take days to fix.

We set off to Bow Locks to meet Craig.  He called to us to pick him up as the Limehouse gate is now fixed!  We can go back to Limehouse.  This we did. The lock keepers are waiting for us and in we went.  The lock is deep and the gates are opened differently than a normal lock. There are no paddles, so the gates are slowly opened to let the water out and all of a sudden the level of the water drops.  Before the levels are equal the gates open and the boat surges forward.  Luckily Craig was holding onto the rope at the front and managed to pull us back.

We then enter the Thames. WOW!  Kailani takes to the deep water.  The wash from tugs, trip boats etc is much more than we expect and everyone on the bow deck gets wet! The water also spills over the stern deck.     And then,  ……………..   Did we make it?

Read our next blog to find out what happens next.


Hotel Boat Kailani
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