We turned right out of the marina and headed north up to the winding hole just past bridge 28 and back, an 8-mile, three-hour cruise in which we only passed three other moving boats. It was a glorious trip, cold but a very enjoyable way to conclude this year's Kantara experience.
The canal was full to overflowing, and surrounding fields were badly flooded in places.
Colin's straightening of the engine mounting has clearly improved Kantara's running, and, contrary to his expectations, it seems that neither the prop shaft not the stern gland have suffered any lasting damage. The gland dripped only little, as it should, and the grease gun turned down firmly as it used to, where previously it had never felt tight enough. We were very pleased.
A kingfisher graced us with its presence, and stayed close enough for me to get some clear pictures.
Returning to the marina very happy, we started to prepare to go back to the house the next day. We almost finished the job on the Saturday morning - we had to leave one or two items behind for collection another time, the car was so full - and drove back to St Albans in the pouring rain. What a good job we had taken Kantara out the day before!
Today, Sunday, is Naomi's birthday, and Jess's is on Wednesday, so we all had lunch out together. Tomorrow. we'll go back to the boat, finish the job of winterising, pack the remaining pieces and bits in the car and return again to the house. We'll go back probably once a month to make sure Kantara's all right - particularly if the winter is hard. One year, we might just stay on board through the winter, just to see what it's like. For now, I'm glad we have the house, and the greater comfort it can afford, should the weather get really cold.
Until we get back in late February (probably), there will be little to post in the blog. Follow us on Twitter to get any updates until then.