After three days of staring at the lock and wondering what lay beyond, we decided to wonder no more.
The sky was menacing, but in a “well ok just one more” sort of way, the way a mother looks at a child warning them not to take another biscuit, but maybe one more is ok.
We called its bluff and beyond the lock we discovered patches of blue and sunshine with admittedly a little more breeze than we’d like, and fishermen, hordes of them.
We don’t necessarily enjoy coming across fishermen, they make themselves invisible, hiding behind bushes and trees often tens of metres from their lines, and they tend to want to play chicken with us, waiting till the last minute to pull their lines in, in an apparent display of resentment of the imposition we have placed on their lives. None the less, we try to be patient. We smile and wave.
We try to slow a little, which considering we are usually travelling at around seven kilometres per hour, is a bit relative, and we try to at least make a pretence of moving to the opposite side of the canal. Again, given that the usable water width is barely ten metres the amount we move can only be seen as a gesture, but mostly we try. Sometimes though, like this morning, people fish from both sides of the canal and things become a little unfair.
Imagine us, slowed to a dead crawl, running the gauntlet of half a dozen fishermen on one side, happily waving as we pass, then to the other another two dozen or so, clearly a family group also happily waving, presumably thanking us for our thoughtfulness, when one of them points to our flag.
“New Zealand?” he enquired.
“Australia” we replied.
The crowd “Ahhhed”, one of them called out “WELCOME!” then they cheered a little as we waved back, as royalty would.
Come to think o fit, we rather enjoy coming across fisherman.