Tuesday 07/09/2010 Crom Castle - Corraquill Lock - Trial Bay - Belturbet - Crom Castle 5.7 hours
Rain was pouring down the whole night but at 5:30 the heaviest of all showers awoke us. One crew member on a barge of Locaboat has fallen off his bed because of the sloping position of the boat. What has happened? Although the Erne has wide bays around Crom Castle the water level has risen more than one and a half feet (around 50 cm) overnight caused by the heavy rain. Although we hadn't tightened the ropes yesterday we were not prepared for such a quick rising of water. Especially the rope at the stern has become tight. We try to take the pressure off by filling up with water but that doesn't help. As we don't want to risk flying cleats by precarious manoeuvres we decide to cut the rope. Better a ragged rope end than a shredded noggin!
Due to the rising water level we assume that we will not fit under the low bridge at Ballyconnell but we decide not to miss the River Woodford in these conditions.
The mouth of the Woodford River welcomes us with a strong current and the meadows are flooded. A crop of non native Canada Geese seem to be unimpressed. We are accompanied three times by kingfishers, who have survived the heavy flooding in November 2009 and the great freeze of the winter.
We pass a new private jetty and slipway under construction. The current is continuously strong which we haven't seen before on this stretch of river although we have seen flooding there too. I assume it was the low summer level on the Upper Lough Erne and the gradient which therefore caused the heavy current. It is a really nice adventure to boat here in this conditions and we enjoy sometimes the feeling of not moving against the deluge of water.
At the lock we have a break talking with the new lock keeper. The water level has gone up more than 1,50 m in less than 36 hours and is now less than a foot below the upper gate. We turn and I'm happy that we only meet one boat during our enjoyable wildwater rafting downstream around the narrow bends.
Back on the Erne we have a longer break at the Trial Bay jetty.
In the afternoon we leave for Quivvy Waters. A kingfisher accompanies us. On the Quivvy Water the channel, where other boats have gone through, can not be seen because of the increased water level. A couple of hundred metres beyond marker 21A we get into thick weeds. Every 5 metres is the propeller completely blocked by weeds. We don't want to risk becoming rudderless and so we turn. We drive back into clear water and up the Erne to Belturbet.
Here we are visited by a group of Greylag Geese together with one domestic goose. One of the Greylag Geese is suffering from a slipped wing also known as angel wing or drooped wing. It can also affect both wings as in this case. Wrong food with too much protein and genetic defects are presumably the cause for this deformity. The disease can often be observed in areas where geese or ducks are excessively fed bread. Although unable to fly poses this disformity no direct danger to the goose, the town is a safe refuge.
It's getting sunny and so we enjoy a peaceful trip to Crom Castle in the evening . Again we spot a kingfisher north of Belturbet.