GRAY GREEN MUDDY WATER

The simple life afloat of a simple boater in a simple boat.

THE COLOUR OF WATER

Preface Preamble

What makes a body of water look blue or green or black? Why do rivers usually appear brownish or muddy or even black?Scooped out in a glass, water is usually colourless, whereas when looked as a body it always has colour. The palette is generally restricted to GRAY, GREEN, MUDDY, occasionally blue and sometimes black. Since the relection of clouds is common, might the water be reflecting the sky? Well! Yes! Reflection is a small part of the answer. Some of the colour of water is surface reflection of the sky and the amount of such reflection depends on variables such as your angle of view.But much or most of the colour of water as a body comes from within the water itself.

In a large body, whether it be river, canal, lake or sea, water molecules absorb [light] from the infra-red end of the spectrum quite happily and from the ultra-violet end not at all. Incidentally this why river, canal, lake or seawater cools in winter and warms in summer. Infra-red provides the heat from sunshine and the more directly the sun beams onto the water the easier it will heat. Conversely, light is reflected back from the ultra-violet end of the light spectrum very readily. You get a better tan near water (or snow!) because of the [excess] ultra-violet being reflected back onto your skin. You can also get "sun-burned" near water if your skin is unable to make protective tanning pigment quickly enough. 

More "blue" light is reflected by water and this also is also why the sky is blue. The effect may be enhanced in sea-water and in lakes containing solid particulates and vegetable and animal debris at or near the surface, which reflect the blue end of the light spectrum so the water looks bluer. The blue-green of tropical waters is due entirely to absorption of red light rather then reflection because the water in the tropics is "cleaner". It's a different blue from that of the seas of the north Atlantic, where the blue is caused by suspended particles and plants.

What about the other colours? Different hues may be produced by different suspended substances as suggested above.

Mud acts oppositely, reflecting reds and absorbing blues. Muddy water looks brown and since rivers are major transporters of soil run-off from their basins, they usually look brown. Peat dissolved in water absorbs almost all light frequencies so in Ireland, the River Shannon and most lakes look very black indeed. The Shannon flows predominantly through ancient peat and carries that black down even to the Estuary. Seas look grey on overcast days, partly because of reflected grey sky and partly because clouds filter most of the sun's red light out before it ever reaches the surface.

GRAY GREEN MUDDY WATER

Preface of "Gray, Green, Muddy Water

"Gray, Green, Muddy, Water" chronicles a relationship between a boat and a sailor, formed and developed over five years activity on the {inland waterways} of south-eastern England between 2011 and 2016. The canvas spreads over Essex, Oxford, Northants. Herts.  and bits of Beds., Bucks., Berks., Leics., Warks. Hampshire, Surrey and Kent rise and fall with the warp and weft as the 'story' ravels and unravels its untidy way from year to year, from place to place, from person to person and lock to lock. By 2017, the canvas had spilled out over Staffs. Worcs. Hereford,

"The Cut" is more socially diverse than any other form of "English" society and is [largely] classless. That is not to say it lacks snobbishness, silliness and crass stupidity but every boater shares the same [shortage or surfeit of] waters, locks, trials, tribulations, laughs, beverages and boaty troubles. So they "get-on". Some 'boaters' are totally water-based and water-borne and know no other way; others live in floating accommodation without ever realising their home is actually a BOAT. More manage to morph seamlessly back and forth between one and t'other: today a boater, tomorrow a flat-lander. 

Greater London features in the order of things as well it might. It dominates SE England socially, financially, culturally and canalerally. The scope of the canvas of "Gray, Green Muddy Water" covers the Oxford and Grand Union canals, the Lea and Stort Navigation to the north of London and the freshwater Thames between Oxford and Teddington. The tidal Thames from Teddington to the Medway, including the esturial tributaries {River Darent} and {River Roding}. The 'freshwater' Thames includes its tributaries the Kennet and the Wey, with the latter leading to the {Basingstoke Canal} via Woking to Brookwood.  {Pentargon} has been to them all with {"Pogue"} at the tiller.

Relationships lean heavily on friendships with people and acquaintances, real and imagined, who inhabit a parallel dimension with Pogue, flitting in and out of the water, on and off land.

"the cut is the longest, friendliest village in England" ;

That is how it is! 

People 'bond' with shoes and cars and houses and I-phones so why not with boats? Over more than half a decade, {"Pogue"} bonded with {"Pentargon"}, learning her foibles, eccentricities, strengths and weaknesses. He pampered her and cajoled but never forced her to do anything. She responded with exemplary service. {"Pentargon"} is defined, as are all narrowboats, by her beam of 6'10". This dimension allows her to slip seamlessly into any lock in the British Isles because the engineers planned ahead. Although there are many and varied locks, [nominally] the narrowest are 7' in width and have been from the beginnings of engineered English canals in the late 17th century.

{"Pentargon"} is 36' in length, exactly half the length of a standard working narrowboat which would have been pulled by draught horses in the reign of George III. But her horses are six and emanate from a Lister diesel engine. The dimensions are meaningful and pre-planned for C21. Pentargon can share any lock anywhere with any boat of her own length or shorter. She can also park almost anywhere. There's always a place at the canal side for a 36' narrowboat, when longer boats may be shooed away to a remote, out-of-town weed-bed.

Pogue is a "sailor".  With a lifetime's experience of boats and water (including many and long intervening breaks), he was born by the sea, grew up by the sea, lived by the sea and sailed it under canvas, power, paddle and oar intermittently all his life. He [unintentionally] took to English canals by volunteering initially with Thames 21, then with the Canal Boat Project,  after sailing in English waters mainly the Thames Estuary and South Coast and in all sorts of boats, motored and canvassed during the first decade of the millenium. The "Springer" Pentargon was purchased late in 2011 after much searching and testing and in the second decade of the millenium proceeded to defy the outer limits of boat and skipper as a lone cruiser on any available stretch of water in south-east England and later the Midlands and SW and southern England and it did not matter whether the water was grey green muddy salty or brackish. 

{Pentargon} plied the SE constantly between 2012/2015 from a land-base in Essex. In April 2015, she left Harlow, her then base, to visit Kent via Bow Creek, the Thames Estuary and Dartford Creek. Pogue pursued {someone elses dream} which became his by association. Pentargon became the first boat in over forty years to stay overnight in the derelict and abandoned Dartford Port.On that descent of the tidal river, Pentargon had carried FOUR skippers. Pogue showed three the ways of the Estuary and entered them in a VERY small list of narrow-boat skippers who have made that trip, incidentally qualifying them for immediate membership of {"Dartford Creek Navigators"}.  {Pentargon} stayed for ten days at Dartford before being returned to Harlow and the Canal Boat Project. On her next descent in June 2015 with two more 'trainee' skippers, Pogue landed {Pentargon} at {Steam Crane Wharf} for what turned out to be a three month stay. The objective was to complete an overview of tides, water, flora, fauna, opportunities, challenges and all aspects of using Dartford and Crayford Creeks for waterborne and bank-side activity. Pogue interacted with local people to begin to 'reclaim' their neglected and forgotten amenity from developers and from nature itself. In 2016, the exercise was repeated at Dartford and Crayford and extended by a stay from April to October while he surveyed Barking Creek and the River Roding on behalf of another adventurer and friend, one Paul Powesland.


*BOOKEND*


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FROM A PREVIOUS LIFE AND A PARALLEL UNIVERSE

Pogue was sometime engineer, crewman or navigator on a converted Brixham trawler named "Kenya Jacaranda" in the early years of the new century. 

KJ was driven into a pier at Purfleet Spring 2007 en-route to Woolwich by night with the radar off.

Shaun Wall ("Pogue" in Gray, Green, Muddy, Waters) had not been on board that night and
disassociated with MSTS the following day to concentrate on the social side of boating.

MSTS (Mayflower Sail Training Society) was disbanded in the Summer of 2007.
Kenya Jacaranda was reported as facing eviction from Tilbury Dock in 2011.
At that time, she was reported as being somewhat unsafe for sea.
It is rumoured that she was 'transferred' to Maldon in 2014.

see: www.freewebs.com/kjhistory/

83 years in three small paragraphs

Between 1923 and 1937, "Torbay Lass" was a Brixham trawler. In 1937 she was 'retired' and was purchased by an Essex house builder named Bradshaw who converted her at Rainham for pleasure yachting. He took her on a voyage in 1938 just before Hitler invaded Poland. She was ordered off the water while cruising along the East coast and is believed to have spent the war years inland behind Lowestoft (as did many tall-masted boats) acting as a deterrent to Huns landing gliders there. Her war years are  lost to us, but being well-fettled and fitted she may have been used by officers-on-leave for R+R.

She is mentioned in [Lady Claude Hamilton's] memoirs "A Stone's Throw" as having been purchased by said lady in 1945 at the end of hostilities. Torbay Lass was further developed (including being renamed "Kenya Jacaranda") by, among other things, being copper clad to the waterline. Other changes appropriate for activity in warm tropical waters were made. Lady Hamilton's memoirs do not mention the subsequent fate of the ship, but her owner inherited her mother's substantial estate in Surrey in 1946 and the boat is never again mentioned.

What we know for certain is that, in 1949, still copper clad and still owned by Lady Hamilton, she was wallowing in a muddy creek near Southampton. KJ was rescued from the Hamble and went into service on the Thames, training Sea Cadets out of The Lower Pool, in 1951. KJ is said to have taken some 4000 young people to sea between 1951 and 1979 when she was squeezed out of her London berths by Docklands developments. At the same time the Bermondsey Sea Cadets were finding it almost impossible to maintain her.

The ship was moved 'temporarily' to Tilbury Dock in 1980 retaining mostly the original people, who re-grouped as the "Mayflower Sail Training Society". She carried on more or less as before, enabling youngsters from deprived areas of Greater London to sail a traditional sailing vessel at an affordable price (free to the actual kids in most cases!). Between 1980 and 2006, Kenya Jacaranda 'enabled' some 3000 young people (and an unknown number of adults). She competed in the Brixham Trawler Race at least twice, with MSTS crew and on one famous occasion (2005?) was baulked by weather trying to get out of the Thames estuary and then, some time later, had her propellor fouled off Eastbourne while trying vainly to make up lost time..

She was still berthed in Tilbury over 30 years later, although she had been seen now and then in her old haunts as late as 2005.  In that year, on a night run up-river she was driven onto Purfleet Pier at 5kts and damaged irreparably. In 2014 it was rumoured she had been moved to hard-standing at Maldon but this is not currently verified. (2015/11/24)

The Mayflower Sail Training Society was disbanded in 2007, allegedly for reasons stated on the official website www.msts.uk.net and the boat was still in Tilbury in September 2011 as various interests haggled over what best to do with her. (Shaun Wall 15th Dec 2011)

(MGLH) 12th March 2006.

Sailing across the mighty Thames from Tilbury to Gravesend. KJ visited Embankment Marina Gravesend for an open Weekend 17th - 19th March 2006 Non-sailors joined the ship Friday at Embankment Marina, DA12 2RN 9 (look up streetmap or GPS it). For future or present reference if taking a taxi ask for "The Canal Basin" or "The Sailing Club" as the cabbies do not understand "Embankment Marina"

Lat (WGS84) N51:26:35 ( 51.443156 )
Long (WGS84) E0:23:02 ( 0.383860 )

We needed all available MSTS members all weekend to give information and collect urgently-needed funds for the refit. Not everyone stayed on board!  Only those who are at home with the distinctive odour! 

The visit was to show the commitment of MSTS membership to keeping the Society and the Ship afloat and to demonstrate commitment ...........................

Tacks&Gybes!   

 Check www.freewebs.com/kjhistory

KJChainGang has its own website. 


"Kenya Jacaranda" sailed the waters of the Thames Gateway, between Tower Bridge and Canvey, down-river to Southend and Whitstable. She navigated the Medway from Sheerness to Rochester on weekend cruises with longer voyages down the Channel to Brixham and up the East Coast to Lowestoft.

 Her CENTRAL role was to carry 'disadvantaged' young people, primarily but not exclusively from the area known as the Thames Gateway, as supplementary  crew; learning seamanship and team-work under the guidance of the CoreCrew of  "Kenya Jacaranda" who 'advantaged' them as they sailed.

An AUXILIARY role was to provide a platform for hardier sailors (or those who would be) to log hours sailing a real sailing ship the real way. Training on a Brixham Trawler makes REAL sailors. out of plastic-tub-skiffers.

Candidates came on board to learn a centuries-old tradition that was rapidly vanishing midst today's plastic and metal. "Kenya Jacaranda' didn't carry passengers. It took 18 hardy annuals to move this floating Porsche Carrera at its optimum. The North Sea in Force 7 is no place for the faint-hearted. At one time, KJ could handle Force 10! What Force can you handle?

KJ had a GENTLER role of sail-training for the less hardy on 'overnight' trips between Tilbury and Tower Bridge. Trainees learned about wind and tide, lights and marks and the ways of the river. All this is (for the moment at least) gone west but a small team of dedicated volunteers still hold the fort. Shaun Wall. Dec.15th 2011

Nice little earner?

Practice (safe) voyages for 'rookies'

KJ can do 'overnight' trips up-river for training. Learn to sleep on board. Learn to cook on board. Learn to keep watch by night. Learn to read the lights and buoys on the river! Learn about tides! Learn about PLA and Radio Telephony! 60 per person for a supplementary crew of 12 (600 for the boat for a 24hr detail if you want to 'charter' it ) sounds about right. Join at either end. Familiarise with the boat, MOB exercises, safety stuff, how to cast off, make to etc. Use C2C to close the loop with Travelcard provided. Safe all the year round, subject to occasional tide glitches. Nice little earner as every 50 profit made on these 'commercial' runs permitted another young and disadvantaged London youngster to get a day's sail training.

Haulin' the nets with a Brixham Trawler

" When the net was ready for hauling, the ship was set with the wind slightly abaft the beam. The towing wires were released from the securing block. The weight of the trawl brought the ship broadside to wind and  blew her away from the gear. All hands arrived at their posts while the steam-winch wound in the warps. The doors were brought up to the head of the gallows and secured with a massive chain. This allowed the net to be released to pull it on board by hand. "

" All hands lined the rail and pulled in unison with the down-roll of the ship. On the up-roll, everyone laid-on the net, over the bulwark rail. Eventually the cod-end would come into view, depending upon the size of catch. The sooner they saw the cod-end the more fish they had. With all the air inside each fish it, acted like a huge balloon. This is watched for with expectation and delight. With an average size bag the cod -end was brought alongside. "

"A  stout rope becket was passed round the outside of the net. The becket was hooked onto a thick wire leading up to the fore-mast head, the wire wrapped round the winch barrel and lifted clear of the water. For a very large catch, the process of lifting might happen a number of times. "

"As each full cod end was swung on board, over the fish-ponds, the Mate reached under the bag of fish, cascading with cold salt-water, to release the special knot securing the net. The fish poured out, and if another lot had to be picked up the same routine was gone through again, til all the fish were on board. Then the cod-end was re-tied to start the whole fishing cycle again. "

20th Aug 21st 2005

Kj to Eastbourne slipped away on the midnight tide, Friday, having had to wait for Shaun and Ásgeir. Core-Crew: Paul Ladyman, Gerry Goldner, John Young, Mac Saddington, Ásgeir Faben, Shaun Wall. with the Crofton Crusaders, led by Andy Lake and Amy Liddl, joining ship 2100 at the Flying Angel. Victoria Barrington, Katie Dennis, Ruth Gayton, Joy Barron, Sophie White, Lucy Whittaker, Catherine Haslett, Lauren Gilbert, Joe Simpson, Jonathon Styff, supplementary crewmen. Brilliant 19 hour voyage down, snuck into Sovereign Harbour on the last foot of water Sat 1750, boom down into lock, with 200 spectators, moored up at the waterfront 1800. The Crofton crusarders left for further adventues on the IOW. The boat was left in beautiful condition, but we suspect MUCH of the work was actually done by the two leaders Andy and Amy.

21st Aug - 2ndSep 2005

Kj on vacation at Sovereign Marina!  Spectacular life-saving display with RNLI! Editor visited top of top mast. Gareth James descended into the ward-room in his wheelchair via fishing takel and told us how to fit the boat for him to sail. An 87year-old lady told our Chairman that we could make a fortune hauling adrenalin-seekers to the top of the top mast at " 30 to 50 a go ". Everyone else wanted to know why we were not doing sea trips with KJ at " 20 a head ". Marina staff told us they will arrange to have punters ferried out to transfer to KJ at sea. There's a fortune waiting for MSTS at Eastbourne 2006. Every 20 made means another dis-advantaged kid gets a day's sailing on the good ship "Kenya Jacaranda" This year we took 800. next year it may be 4000.

7th to 9th October 2005

AHOY's inaugeral sail with KJ Mike Cloy John Young, Malcolm Mac Saddington, Nick Carter Dan and Marion McGarrigle. Supplementary crew: AnneMarie Whelan,  George Butler, (Sammy) Jusu,  Samina Jusu, Richard Sheridan, Josh Hulks,  Rachel Bermingham,  Jack O'Neill,  Rubin Woodin,  Joslyn Brightwell, Billy Waterworth.

The following report was submitted from AHOY

Dear All, The Youth Team were away for the weekend on the Brixham sailing trawler "Kenya Jacaranda". What an amazing and fabulous experience this was for all. We arrived at Tilbury Docks on the Friday with nine very excited children and were soon acquainted with the Skipper and crew. The children were then given the guided tour of the ship and were told stories about the rats, spiders and FISH GHOSTS!

Everyone got busy organising their luggage, bedding and bunks without looking behind them for fear of finding something untoward.  Once this was completed we headed to the Mission club where all the children were able to use the pool and snooker tables, play table tennis, watch TV and also use the internet. This was all free of charge and the children loved it. The evening here showed early signs of a group coming together and bonding.

6o/c start on  Saturday to catch tides and get through the lock gates. Later the wind started to build an we got ready to SAIL. George and Ann-Marie watched as the team were put to the test of getting  the huge sails up : a task that took almost an hour and a half. Everyone had loads of fun rigging this giant vessel. The wind died on Sunday, but didn't dampen spirits in any way

leaving the ship on Sunday, some were less disappointed than others to have not witnessed any creepy crawlies, vermin or ghouls throughout the whole trip. Some suspect they may not exist. The team spirit that came out during this event has created lasting friendships and relationships. The behaviour was impeccable. It was  wonderful to have the Core Crew of Kenya Jacaranda to look after us.  Below are some statements from the gang.

This was a good experience for it being the first time I've ever spent the night on a boat. I enjoyed myself and learnt more about sailing.
Samina Jusu

I thought this was trip was really good, being here meeting new people was great. I really did have a laugh and enjoyed  learning how a ship works.
Thank you! I had a jolly good time Rachel Bermingham

Ruben: This was the first time I had been on a ship this size. It was a great experience. But a bit cold. Thanks Jacaranda people and AHOY.

Rich Sheridan: I enjoyed this trip because it is a different type of sailing, I enjoyed going into the estuary when we were using radar.

Jocylin:I had a great time on the trip and we had some good laughs. A fantastic trip!!

Jack ONeill: The trip was very good, a fabulous experience. a lot of teamwork. I made lots of friends

Sammy Jusu:  good experience. They were all nice. Watch out for the man with the weird teeth.

Will: It was fun with lots to learn and I made new friends

Billy Waterworth: a great experience; enjoyed sleeping on the boat. lots of new friends. learned how to read charts and helm the ship.