Weir at the Cloak Bridge in Český Krumlov
 

 Weir on the Vltava at Cloak Bridge in Český Krumlov, map
- (At the little drowned trout) - 282,5 r. km

Description :
ninth of the ten described weirs.
A paradise for canoers. The newly repaired weir is divided into four parts: on the left there is the gravel sluice with wooden blocs, then a boat sluice, a slanting main part, and on the right there is a mill-race protected by bars. Under the boat sluice, some adventurous slalom-goers put stone obstacles into the main current, which present a trap for many open boats.

How to get over the weir :
Carrying the boat over is possible on the left side, or on the right when the water flow is low. This is the weir that offers the most possibilities. The weir is not tricky, and for experienced crews it is passable. There is no foolproof manual telling you how to succeed. The water under the weir pulsates, and it is not possible to define the route according to any rule. There is a danger of an open boat with a deeper draft being swamped.

A real canoer goes over the weir in his boat. The technique depends on the condition and experience of the crew, and on the qualities and weight of the person at the bow.

Again, I recommend maximum speed. The route through the middle provides the greatest water flow, with minimal side waves and currents. We like the route one third to the right or left of the current, depending on which side you hold your paddle. If the paddle of the steersman is on the right side, go to the left part, and the other way round.

Weir on the Vltava at the Cloak Bridge in Český Krumlov

You can also go through the whole sluice sideways. At higher water level it is possible to go over the plateau. A speciality on this weir can be the route from the other side of the pillar of the sluice, in the narrow water tongue. The current has a tendency to turn your boat upside down.

Do not celebrate and do not wave to the onlookers until you have passed the rocks hidden under the water, about 15 m beyond the weir. I have seen many happy faces end up under water there.

Whoever overturns has to watch the strong undercurrent, and start grasping and rescuing his boat immediately after surfacing. Prevent your boat from getting stuck on those humanly-placed obstacles under the weir. Immediately after getting your head above water, catch hold of the boat's stern, and control it. Get it to the shore, and try again. In floods, it is possible to jump the gravel sluice on a raft boat.

And why At the little drowned trout ?
On may 15 of 1996 there was a great flood. Andrej owned a boat called Pstroužek, or Little Trout. Zdeněk didn't want to spoil my mood, so he accepted my invitation to go down the river from Rožmberk to Krumlov. He was scared so I went down the old Rožmberk weir on my own. In two hours, we were in Krumlov. On the way, we often had to pour water out of our boat, because there were a lot of waves, sometimes even 80 cm high. We gained confidence and went down one weir after another without turning over. After every weir we had to pour water out of our boat (up to 30 cm). In Krumlov, Andrej accompanied us on a bicycle along the river.

We went down the Cloaker successfully, and then decided to go down the boat sluice, and if that was also successful, we would jump the gravel sluice. A wooden barrel was tied to the boat by a 6 mm climbing rope to serve as a buoy.

Vltava River under the Český Krumlov Castle loaded with boaters, foto: Lubor Mrázek

In the weir, the water poured over us, and we went to Zdeněk´s side. After I surfaced and saw his head above the water, I tried to get to the barrel. With the barrel in my hands I tried to touch bottom. which I eventually did near the stone wall under the bridge.

"I have the boat!" I shouted.
There was a cracking noise, and then my voice shouting: "I don't have the boat!"
I let go of the barrel, and with paddle in hand, I went to find the boat. It rose to the surface about twice more, about 5 m in front of me. Then I gulped water twice, and had to take care of myself. At the wooden bridge near the square (about 300 m beyond the weir) I managed to throw the paddle onto the shore, and catch on to the barrel again. I continued without a life jacket, but with the hope, that Pstroužek would appear somewhere. I left the river after another 200 m, as it wouldn't have been possible to leave it for another kilometre after that point. I ran to the bridge U jatek. There was Andrej on his bicycle, wearing a life jacket. "There's a paddle."
"I'm not looking for a paddle. I'm looking for a boat."

When he saw my exhausted body, he jumped in after the paddle with all his clothes on. It took him 1,5 km before he could reach the shore without trees, constantly under threat of drowning. Pstroužek did not appear. Zdeněk was rescued with a ladder from the isle under the wooden bridge.

I changed, and with a bottle of Myslivec went to Andrej to arrange a new boat, and a plan for conquering the Cloaker the next day. We never saw Pstroužek again.

2nd try - the next day (the same type of boat, my Oskar)
This time I've taken a life jacket, and the boat is tied to the barrel by an 8-meter long and 10-mm thick rope, which I coil under my feet. The water level has dropped about 10 cm and I go alone. I make it, but the waves throw me close to the pillar. I am going backwards. I know it, and I hear from the shore: "Go on!" I work hard, but the undercurrent takes me back. I am waiting for the current to toss me up. It always did, previously, but not this time. It holds the boat under the pillar, and my feet are tangled in the rope. I let go of the paddle, and I am trying to reach the surface. It seems that the whirl has released the boat, and there is a chance to breathe. A great force swings me back. This repeats about three times. Then the Gods have mercy on me, and the whirl releases the boat. Air at last. And again I have to dive and rescue the boat, stop it after the wooden bridge, pour the water out of it, and continue to the garage.

"I couldn't see you, but I knew you were under water. There was no way I could help. I counted to more than thirty before you rose to the surface. Then it was a routine business, I sat on my bicycle and went to the bridge.

3rd try - day three (third boat - ferry Zelňačka)
Routine preparation. The water level dropped by another 10 cm. We won. Celebration awaits us.

The Cloaker in winter
I had an idea, I had this great idea: to go down the weir on New year's Eve. Everyone liked the suggestion and looked forward to how they wouldn't go, and how I would go on my own, and they would laugh at my winter bathing. I didn't give them the satisfaction!

(lp)

 



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