Hunts District Council has a nice, new boat. It's not exactly a gin-palace for the staff to use at week-ends, it's a real work boat, made in Suffolk from aluminium. It looks like a small landing craft, complete with dropping ramp. On the back there is a Yamaha 20hp outboard engine, which seems adequate. There is also an electric pump, which is just as well as the door leaks like a sieve! It will have to go back to Suffolk under guarantee. Actually, it doesn't matter much if it leaks as there is a lot of built in bouyancy under the floor, so it can't sink.
We used it for the first time on Sunday and, apart from the leak, it performed really well, carrying a mower, brush cutters, rakes and volunteers out to the islands in the sailing lake. Oh, and bringing them back again afterwards.
This was all in aid of the Friends of Paxton Pits Nature Reserve's annual weed bash where we try to remove all the vegetation from both islands in advance of the nesting season. The islands are particularly important for terns and waders, but we now get a black-headed gull colony as well as a few ducks and geese, so it's well worth the effort.
Ranger Matt Hall was our skipper for the day. He seems to be quite a good helmsman, which is just as well since he owns a narrow boat.
Thanks to Ray Matthews and all the volunteers, and to the sailing club for providing safety back-up and a second boat.