Preparations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration continue as our Executive Director, James Raffan, visits the put-in point where 'Canada One' will enter the water for the Thames River Pageant. Here's the latest news from James in his words:
The crowds here are building. Even stuffed animals are lining up to see what's going on in greater London as the whole city prepares for Jubilee Weekend.
Almost twice as many London neighborhoods applied for road closures for street parties as they did for the Royal Wedding.
Our put-in point is well above the actual pageant route because even marshaling hundreds of boats to the mustering areas will be a challenge on the Thames. We're starting at the University of London Boat Club (ULBC), in Northwest London. There are many ways to get around this city. Tried one route from our team HQ near Paddington Station. 30 minutes train, 30 minutes double-decker bus, and 30 minutes on foot … not nearly as good as going home by train in another direction followed by a tube (subway) ride, 45 minutes in total.
Walking along the Thames footpath below Kew Bridge (where the window and bunting photos above were taken), I knew I was getting close to the boat club when this poster turned up on a railing …
And I knew I was actually at the ULBC when I encountered a line of cones and messages beside a walled garden. A 15m canoe arriving Friday. That's not Canada One (we're only 8.23 m) but probably a big Maori Waka dugout canoe from New Zealand. If I'm right, this is the boat that will be right beside us during the flotilla. Very exciting.
University of London Boat Club looks, at least at low tide, like a perfectly reasonable place to put in. No war ships or tugs this far up river though. Pretty calm. Lots of rowers.
It's a busy place on a Thursday evening.
And some of our sister pageant boats are already here … check these out!
The whole Canada One crew is now safely in the UK. All we have to do now is get everybody accredited. First team meeting is with the whole crew tomorrow at the put-in for our first practice on the water here. We're meeting the boat in the morning, hoping it made the journey safely from Brize Norton Air Base.