23 May 2019

Silt sampling - part the second

by: Bob H.

Tuesday 21st. 
A bright start to the day with a beautifully sunny day in prospect. 
With the workboat in place, four dredging team members prepared to sail to The Ocean.  Our techie guys Tom and Matt from Sanctus boarded with their many sample pots and we began taking samples every 100 Metres. 

The tide on the Stroudwater was of a Neap series and the level was rather down on normal. Great for sliding under Bonds Mill Bridge, but not the remains of “Hoffman’s Dam,” where we needed the dreaded pole!  The old Mercury outboard behaved better than normal.  Brad H. was our engine minder and did a brilliant job all through the session.

Sue C trundled the trundle wheel, indicated the sample site and an anchorage was made using boat poles by Andrew R. and Brad while the samples were extracted by Bob H. 

And placed into sterile jars by Tom and Matt and stored in cool boxes. 
We continued right down to Blunder Lock taking 15 samples and then prepared for the next phase, West of the A38 roundabout. 

Wednesday 22nd 
Another Lovely day in prospect, the team was a little smaller, John S instead of Andrew R and Brad H.  Matt from Sanctus was flying solo today.  With fantastic efforts and a masterpiece of organisation and sheer hard work, Buffs and Chris P moved our available workboat from Pike Lock Slipway to Stonepits West of the A38.  We are very grateful for their invaluable help, so willingly given. 

After the spectacular launch and subsequent pumping out, we variously motored, poled and hauled as far possible towards the A38- but we still had to walk 400 metres for our first 4 samples of the day.  John S was definitely challenged by the reeds on the first bit, under the reed mat was water. Lots of it!  And no reachable samples! 

With these 4 samples eventually in the pots, the final 6 samples were easier to obtain- but VERY smelly!  One sample looks like this. 
The tray is 2 feet long! The sample at top of the picture is the very bottom of the canal, close to the blue clay liner. The bottom brown and very smelly bit is nearest to the surface of the canal. 

Our last observations at Stonepits Bridge is that the water is. Much deeper than we expected. Normally we dredge to 4 ft. 6 (1.5 metres)  Here the possible depth is 9 feet (almost 3 metres!). 

“May all locks be in your favour.”