Not the BCN

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We’ve spent many happy hours on the Birmingham Canal Navigations in nbScallywag, most of them in February in the cold and rain, but sometimes in August in the cold and rain, and I love the sense of history that the old decaying buildings lend to this part of the British Waterways, and marvel at the ingenuity of the men whose inventions and entrepreneurial spirit powered our Industrial Revolution.
The Birmingham Canal Navigations Main Line was built by Thomas Telford and opened in 1838. It’s a wide, straight, majestic canal which is now a haven for wildlife, has several beautiful bridges and was a feat of engineering in its time.
After we passed Venice today, we went through a stretch of man-made channel that fleetingly reminded me of the Main Line, broad, straight and with a towpath each side. But it was swathed in warmth and sunshine, and our sedate progress at 6 knots was frequently interrupted by boy racers in speedboats going six times faster than us, causing Carina to rock and roll alarmingly.
Of course on the British canals, such conduct is considered de trop, and likely to bring other boaters out of the depths of their boats to wave fists or exchange expletives.
But here it seems the norm, so we’ll have to get used to it. And Ian has noticed that many of these boats are adorned with girls wearing bikinis, and he has only a grumpy old woman who doesn’t understand the electrics.

Yesterday we ventured out in the RIB dinghy to get from our mooring to Marina Jack’s in Sarasota. I had imagined that when you stayed on a mooring, it would be a short trip of about 20 yards to the shore. The actualite was a bit different. It was about half a mile, and hair-raising.This is me hanging on for dear life.
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Here’s a photo of Carina from the water.

Carina moored at Marina Jack, Sarasota

Carina moored at Marina Jack, Sarasota

Last night we saw our first Florida sunset.
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And today, our first taste of what we had envisaged when we thought of doing the Great Loop – calm sparkling water, beautiful scenery and warm sunshine.

Mangrove on Siesta Key

Mangrove on Siesta Key

There was a slightly sticky moment when Ian belatedly realised that Carina wouldn’t be able to pass under a bridge we were approaching, and had to quickly radio the Bridgemaster and ask for it to be opened.
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We’ve seen some rather nice real estate, too.
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Lots of small boats out on the Intracoastal Waterway.
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And wildlife too
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3 thoughts on “Not the BCN

  1. Jane I think that what I am seeing is so much more cosmopolitan than I had believed Southern Florida to be. But then again that was a long, long time ago. I also told Jo before you left on the trip “I hope Jane doesn’t think this ride will be like the Canal rides in England.” Remember England is 3 thousand years of history whereas America is a young 250 years old. We have a lot to learn about Civilization.

    • Hey Fred I like towns and cities which is why I photograph them a lot! Sarasota certainly had a cosmopolitan feel. There is quite a lot of development along the coast line, but it’s low-rise and low-key for the most part and doesn’t detract from the beauty of the place. We’re in a marina tonight so I’m busy doing the laundry 😦 but we’re going to eat at the marina restaurant which promises to be good. We’re aiming for Sanibel and Captiva islands tomorrow, it sounds lovely, very few cars apparently and you can hire bikes. Not sure how I’ll cope with that 😉 and we’ll probably stay there a couple of days before going on to Ft Myers. Is there anything there you would like us to check out for you?
      I certainly didn’t think the intracoastal was going to be like the canals, that was why I was so worried 😀 Hope you didn’t think my comment about the BCN was negative – wasn’t meant to be, just a comparison.:)

  2. Glad to see the sun has come out for you at last; and I can definitely see the little bit of steel behind that grin for the camera on your way from mooring to marina in the rib. I am following you on Google maps, keep up with the place-naming please so I can continue, looks like there are surprisingly plenty of wildlife reserves coming up. Enjoy your bike rides.

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