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


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hat makes any body of water bigger than a barrel look opaque?  Why are rivers usually muddy or grey ...? 

Scooped out into a glass and visually examined, water is [usually] colourless. The same water, when looked at as a body, always has colour, the palette being generally restricted to GREY, GREEN, MUDDY. Sometimes lakes and rivers might even be black.

This book is named "Grey Green Muddy Water", for no other reason than that most of my last seven years on inland waterways have been on grey, green muddy water. Sometimes, up early, I could see right to the bottom by the boat and yet just a few feet away from the boat I could not see beyond the surface. Research kicked up all sorts of useless and fascinating information. It seems that most of the 'colour' of water as a body comes from within the water itself and from stuff suspended in the water  ... the surface of a large body of water absorbs light from the red end of the light spectrum and reflects it from the blue end.  The beholder beholds the result of this nerdy observation in a strange way.

Earth (mud is earth!) acts oppositely to water, reflecting infra red ( the warm end!) and absorbing ultra violet. Thus in strong sun you may get burnt (and I MEAN burnt!) in the country whereas you would get tanned by the sea.  Muddy water looks brown because it reflects and absorbs like the earth. Rivers are major transporters of soil run-off, canals have puddle clay on the floor churned up by the first boat through in the morning and that mud remains suspended all day. Canals fed by muddy rIver waters remain muddy H24; you can see this above and below weirs.

This little gem may help knowing boaters where best to to harvest water for cleaning and hygiene without having to worry where the next water point is.

Peat dissolved in water absorbs all light frequencies. The River Shannon in Ireland and most of its lakes look very black indeed. The Shannon and its tributaries flow predominantly through ancient peat and carry that black down even to the Estuary. Tixall Wide at the top of the Staff and Worcs canal near Great Haywood is a place to see English peatiness in action. Black as the ace of spades is Tixall Wide.

When the sky is overcast, the warm infra red rays from the sun will be absorbed by the moisture which IS the cloud, causing a cooler day on the surface as the cloud cover acts as a barrier and a warmer muggier night as the cloud cover acts as a warm blanket. Seas look grey on overcast days mostly because clouds filter out the sun's red light before it reaches the surface."Blue" light is reflected by sea water on clear days but impurities shift the blueness towards green. However that is getting away from narrowboats and canals and locks and weirdos.

And so ... Grey Green Muddy Water launches ...


Nice little earner?

Haulin' the nets with a Brixham Trawler

20th Aug 21st 2005

21st Aug - 2ndSep 2005

7th to 9th October 2005