STOKE FERRY - FRANCE - BOAT CHALLENGER(Norfolk Broods)
The globe-trotting Salways tell us of their latest adventure aboard a restored Norfolk Broads cruiser.
Hello again. I thought I would give you an up date on our adventures since we left Stoke Ferry. As some might know, we left France and instead of buying another property, we bought a boat to live on. It was just a boat that had been hired out and had come to the end of its hire life. 10 years doesn't seem a long life but in the case of this one it needed everything doing to it. So, in September last year, we left France and we were not able to be on the river until Christmas Eve after having a complete re-fit. As you can imagine, we were really happy to be on the river after so long. Now our dream could begin.
Our maiden voyage took us from Beccles, through Breydon Water and up to Wroxham Hotel (where we had booked Christmas dinner). We had calculated that with the aid of our brand new search light and crossing Breydon in the dark we would make it in time. Well it wouldn't be an adventure if things didn't go wrong. We hit Breydon water as expected in the dark and switched on the new super sonic fob controlled light only to find that it would only go up and down and not side to side. This was the worst news we could have had. We did try it to begin with and it was fine. If you don't know Breydon water, it can get very choppy in the winter and after crossing for 1 hour you have to navigate a very small channel turning to the left with cross tides to deal with. I only agreed to go because of the light and the excitement.
I don't think I have ever been so scared. It wasn't only the light that was the problem, but the steering also. The boat just didn't go were you wanted it to. Although the inside was gutted, the mechanics hadn't been looked at and it obviously needed a new steering cable. We made the best of it and tacked up the river like a yacht until our destination. This by the way wasn't Hotel Wroxham. I was too stressed. We went straight to our agreed moorings at Stalham. This very day we wanted to try our new shower. Not to be, because if was either too hot or too cold. We couldn't regulate it.
The yard that had done our work was now on two weeks Christmas holidays; so no shower. They came of course as soon as they came back; said it was a blockage and now it was OK. We tried it; still no shower. It was a month in total before it was working properly; we asked the yard man where we were moored to look at it. He read the manual and discovered that the
pipes were on the wrong way round!
This is only the beginning of our adventure. The boat's name, Challenger just feels right as every day is a challenge to live on her. I have every thing I want except a washing machine; there is just not enough room on this particular boat. However, the better weather is coming and I shall be cruising up and down without a care in the world, except the price of diesel going up next year.
When I heard about East Anglia being flooded, I chuckled to myself thinking; now I know we've done the right thing; no problem on a boat. Then I really thought about it. We would be stranded, not able to get off as there would be no staging in the streets
If you are down Wroxham way and you see our boat 42ft White Broads' Cruiser with CHALLENGER on the side doors give us a wave. Or, better still, if we are moored at the 24hr mooring make yourself known and get a ride down the river. Happy summer to all.