The Crossing: The Weather and the Wait

A pretty sky doesn't mean that it is a good day to cross the Channel.

A pretty sky doesn’t mean that it is a good day to cross the Channel.

Numerous things must be done in order to take a barge such as Wanderlust across the English Channel. As a requirement of the insurance, a qualified skipper must be in charge. We needed to find and hire a delivery skipper for Wanderlust. Closer to the crossing date, Wanderlust had to be positioned on or near to the Thames Estuary. A few days before crossing, the insurance company has to be notified of the plans and funds must be transferred to cover the costs of the Channel crossing policy rider. And, just before crossing, all loose items on the inside and out must be secured to withstand the waves of the Channel. Continue reading

The Crossing: One If By Land, Two If By Sea

A mobile crane arrives at Piper Boat's plant in Biddulph.

A mobile crane arrives at Piper Boat’s plant in Biddulph.

Wanderlust was constructed to gives us a craft suitable for live aboard cruising on the inland waterways on the European continent. Instead of building new, we could have purchased an existing barge. As things worked out, we felt that our best option was to go the new build route. And once we decided to build new, we, for various reasons, figured that our best option was to have Piper Boats construct the barge. Choosing Piper Boats meant that our barge would be constructed in Biddulph, a short distance north of Stoke-on-Trent in the British Midlands. Continue reading

The Thames: St. Katherines Dock

Wanderlust moored next to Starbucks at St. Katherines Dock

Wanderlust moored next to Starbucks at St. Katherines Dock

A flat-bottomed barge such as Wanderlust needs to find favorable conditions to cross the English Channel. Some barges cross at the first opportunity; others must wait until the winds and waves calm so that they can make the crossing. Wanderlust’s Channel crossing plans fit into the later category. As the date of our planned crossing approached, the winds increased and the waves built. According to the forecasts, the weather would not improve for days. For the time being, we would be stuck on the English side of the Channel. But at least we were in London, assuming we could find a place to tie our barge up. Continue reading

The Thames: Henley on Thames

Wanderlust moored at the bank in Henley

Wanderlust moored at the bank in Henley

A short cruise from 2014’s summer base in Caversham is historic Henley-on-Thames. Henley offers plenty of shopping and dining options, all convenient to the River Thames. With numerous mooring options, it is usually easy to find a convenient spot for the night. Continue reading

The Thames: London Moorings

Wanderlust moored at the posh St. Katherine Docks.

Wanderlust moored at the posh St. Katherine Docks.

Our dream of spending a month or so in Central London on the way to the Channel crossing ran into a bit of snag—we had a difficult time arranging a mooring. Here’s what we tried. Unless noted, the prices shown are for 2014. With time, things change so even if we’ve been told no, it might be worth calling around.
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The Thames: Dorchester-on-Thames

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The sun sets along the river at Dorchester-on-Thame

A short ways from the Thames, Dorchester has loads of history. Long ago the Romans occupied the area but they were by no means the first to live near this bend in the river. Today the town is dominated by it’s interesting abbey. For us a not quite convenient mooring on the bank was a good place to spend the night. Gigi always likes place with nice large green fields just off the deck.  A happy dog is a happy barge.  Continue reading

First days afloat

Wanderlust moored near Temple Island

Wanderlust moored near Temple Island

After months of waiting Wanderlust finally floats in 14 feet of water in berth D15 at Thames & Kennet Marina.  The busy marina is located just outside of the London commuter suburb of Reading on a spur of the River Thames.  Wanderlust is Continue reading