The weekend of our helmsman course has now come and gone, our bodies are tired (our muscles were protesting) but we have learned so much and have been thankful for the experience. The more we use what we have learned, the more experience we will gain and that means our confidence will grow and we will be able to venture out further and further, thats the idea anyway.

Saturday morning arrives and I am up at 5:30am checking the motor, lines, instruments, weed hatch, fuel supply, anchor, an hours revision for the SRC licence and we are all ready to go. The instructor arrives and spends some time getting to know us (this was simply a way to gauge how useless we were going to be) We spent the first part the training focusing on safety, rules, practising manoeuvres, docking, mooring and turning in tight areas (every area is tight). Sonia now takes the helm and I get sent on my way to the bow (it felt like I was being punished) Sonia’s first task is to bring Elsa along side the dock (Party Pontoon) in one movement (please remember I am at the bow of the boat and all on my own) Sonia starts her manoeuvre and all looks good except for the speed at which this manoeuvre is being done………………… I scream from the bow, YOU ARE COMING IN TOO FAST, no one responds ……… I start to wave my hands ……….. no one waves back, I do the only thing that I thought would be sensible at this point…..I closed my eyes and hung on tight. After what seemed to be forever (about 5 secs) I opened my eyes to find ourselves neatly docked between two boats !!!!!!!! Humble pie may need to be eaten in the very near future.

Our next bit of training was to tackle the locks and to travel as far as we could, well let me tell you that a tight fit is an understatement, we managed a fair few locks and bridges that wombles would struggle to get under. Heading back, I made an effort to take notice of our surroundings and remembered why we wanted to do this in the first place, tranquillity, raw beauty everywhere, it was stunning. Water has a very calming effect on all of us and I am yet to figure out why this is the case, is it the sound, the flow, the life it supports ? All I know is that I have been drawn to water since a young age and I am sure that somehow this DNA coding is in each and every one of us in some form or fashion.

The wind picked up and upset a massive field of dandelions, for a minute it looked like a snowy scene from Narnia, complete with Mr Tumnus and all his furry friends………. Through the last lock and back into the marina, Sonia did the most amazing job navigating and guiding me through some very scary situations, the instructor was incredible and it was a truly lovely weekend all around, time for bed.

Until the next post.