Monday, December 05, 2011


For the sake of our own diary of our canal boat experience, if for nothing else, I append here that this morning, the day we leave Kantara, we experienced the hardest frost yet.  The morning was sunny and clear, but bitterly cold. Colin arrived before 8:00 to winterize the boat, and to show us, so that we will be able to do it ourselves in future.  It's far simpler than we expected it to be.

As an aide-memoire, I list here the steps to be taken each winter (updated Dec. 2014)
  1. Make sure the antifreeze in engine and central heating is sufficient to protect to minus 15 degrees Celsius
  2. Reduce the level of the water tank to just a few inches
  3. Close the stopcock from the water tank
  4. Open all taps, hot and cold, including the shower
  5. Let the pump run until the taps all run dry
  6. Hold down the button on the Thetford toilet until water stops flowing
  7. Turn on the washing machine until it tries to pump in water
  8. Switch off the pump, and disconnect the pipes from the pump.  This will release water from the pump - take care!
  9. Lie the shower head in the shower tray
  10. Open the Pressure Relief Valve on the calorifier
  11. Disconnect the hot water outlet from the calorifier - jugs needed to collect the escaping water!
  12. Remove the water filter from the cold water supply to the galley (kitchen to you landlubbers)
  13. Switch off the battery isolator
  14. Switch off the gas
  15. Leave the toilet cassette empty of chemicals
  16. Open all cupboard doors, drawers, and the fridge door
  17. Open windows down the length of the boat
  18. Remove the 3G antenna, and lower the mast
Then we set about packing the contents of Kantara into the car!  Not easy! Since it is recommended that boats are left with windows open over the winter - for the sake of easy ventilation and the prevention of condensation - fabrics and paper and anything else which might be inclined to absorb moisture from the air have to be taken away.  This includes bedding - ideally including the mattress, but this is just impracticable - towels and tea towels, clothing, cushions, curtains, books and magazines.  And our car is not a Transit van! We packed as much as we could into the back of our Honda Jazz, and will have to return later in the week to pick up the rest.  We are so glad that the marina is only about an hour and a quarter's drive away.

I'm told snow is on its way!

Leaving Kantara for the winter

Well, we've just completed our first three months of living on Kantara, and tomorrow we will be loading the car with much of her contents to take home for the winter.  On Monday morning, Colin will be winterising the boat - largely making sure pipes and pumps are empty of water in case of very low temperatures - and we will be taking away all of the things which might suffer from the damp.  Oddly enough, it is advisable to leave the windows open throughout the time it is uninhabited, in order to keep a flow of air and avoid condensation forming.  Last year, as I may have said before, temperatures here dropped as low as minus 15 degrees Celsius, so protecting the boat is essential.

The past three months have been interesting, fun, challenging, disappointing, exciting, enjoyable.  We have learned a lot, made new friends, seen new things and new places.  We return home to the domestic needs there - gardening, mice in the foundations, a boiler to service, a leak from the shower cubicle to trace and fix, dental check-ups... you know the kind of thing!  But we also return for Christmas, the family, our church, time to take stock.  I've been invited back to the Academy to visit my old team, and I'm looking forward to seeing that a lot again.
I probably won't post to this blog until we return to Kantara next spring... whenever that might start!  But please stay with us.  It's good to know how many are reading regularly - although most of you still insist on remaining anonymous!  Next year's blog should be full of accounts of us cruising, having the shower room rebuilt, cruising, replacing duff batteries (pessimist!), cruising. We're certainly looking forward to it!

Happy Christmas!