you can improve your time by staying as close to the side of the canal as possible. The rocks are on a 1 to 1 ratio or 45 degrees so 10 away is 10 fot of water. You will see a marked improvement in the sog by about 1 kt.
The lights play tricks on you eyes. If there are 2 or more lights out you think there is a bend in the river. Tell them I said hi at the tap room.