The Log of Inevitable 2015

December 3rd, 2015



09-15am we leave our winter mooring in Ghent for Bruges on the first leg of our journey to meet up with Bill and Vickie on Eugene. 09-49 we turn onto the Ghent Ringfart and pass Passé Lagom on her way down stream.


After 5h 30min we arrive in Bruges and moor in VPF Coupre having covered 47km


07/042015 09-15 am we depart Bruges for Oudenburge passing through the system that bypasses Bruges town and tie up at 12-15. There is a slight breeze with moderately sunny spells. We book our passage through the one way system for the following morning destination Nieuwpoort.

bruges 2015


08/04/15 07-41am. Depart moorings good passage until St Joris sluis where there was no response to VHF after phone call eventually passed through to moor in Westhoek marina to meet up with Eugenie we will stay here for a week.

15/04/2015 08-43 am Depart for seasons cruising heading back to Oudenburge. We stay for two nights. This is a good mooring with free electric and water.

17/04/15 depart for Bruges but this time we moor in Flandria Haven at 12-45 pm. Staying here for three nights.

20/04/5 09-30am slipped mooring at for Deinze arriving at 15-20pm we have now covered 200km

23/04/15  09-29 St Georges Day depart Deinze for Kortrijk at Sluis Herellgem Bill lost a fender entering and there was much hilarity and encouragement from the lock keeper as we picked it up as we entered for our turn.

27/04/15 09-29 am slipped mooring at and turned onto the Kannal Bassuit Kortrijk the first pound was very low after vandals had opened the paddles overnight we finally moored above Sluis Bassuit at 13-45pm.

28/04/15 09-10 left mooring passing through the sluis on to the Hauit Escuit entering the Kannal De L Espierres 10-11 mooring at the small village on the border between Belgium and France we were met by the Mayer who took Photos of both boats at the Sluis. We moored at 12-45 on the village of Liers- Nords moorings free electric and water. They made us very welcome we were the first boats of the season to pass along the Kannal and next morning we were in the local paper. We both took the opportunity to fuel up here 110 litres from the garage in the village it is quite a walk but with a good trolley or sack truck very doable. We all had a great meal in the small restaurant also owned by the mayor though not on the menu we watched all the locals ordering steaks so we asked if it was possible. It was and when it arrived was huge great value.

L Espierres 2015

L Espierres2 2015

L Espierres3 2015

01/05/15 08-30am Depart mooring cross into France 08-31 canal gets very shallow and weedy have to clean raw water intake filter 6 times and weed hatch lifted to clean intake and remove Plastic from around the prop. moored 15-45pm above Ecluse Marquette before Duel.

02/05/2015 08-30 Depart for Lille arriving at 12-00hrs behind the Citadel this mooring is not very well known and has no services although there is a tap for drinking water if you fill by container. However it is a stunning mooring in the center of Lille and is secure with good access to all amenities’.

Bill 2015

Grotto in the park next to the boats

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Citadel Garrison Lille

08/05/2015 09-40 VE Day Depart Lille and on passing through the port we come across an interesting conversion pictured below

interesting conversion lille port

we moored at Don at 11-45 on the new pontoons.

09/05/2015 depart Don 09-32 and arrived Courcells Du La Lens 12-45 having covered 24km to find no harbour Master no services absolutely Nothing but stunning mooring and we became the talk of the village as we are the first boats to use the new moorings. More pictures taken for yet another paper.

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10/05/2015 dept. 09-23 bound for Arleux to moor in the Basin at the base of the Canal du Nord on the East side. another 21km

east side du nord east side2 du nord garlic capital

Arleux promotes itself as the Garlic Capital of the World

11/05/2015 09-32 Dept. Arleux  destination the Bassin Ronde a distance of 17km arriving at 11-35 we both moor on the Halte having it all to ourselves. since the last time we were here there are considerably more Permanently moored boats that have taken over the majority of the Bassin.

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12/05/2015 09-06am Depart Basin Ronde arrive Maryognie 16-41 having done four Ecluse and 47km and crossing back into Belgium. Both underway below.


13/05/2015 09-27 depart mooring destination Ecluse Pommeroul arriving at 13-30. this used to be a route into France but due to silting has been closed for some time although the lock is operational and you can arrange to enter the lock and take on water. there are no services but it is a popular place to work on/paint  your boat with good access.

Eugenie and Inevitable

14/04/2015 10-02 depart for Mons intending to moor in Grand Large. we arrive and moor in the marina at 12-08 we have now covered 426km. we spend two nights here to give us a chance to replenish stores and take on water.

16/05/2015 11-01 After watering up we depart for the Ascensier De Strepy Thiu. ascending 70 odd meters of the lift at 13-43pm  the lift  happy crew we finally moored for the night below Ecluse 3 Vesville at 17-17 on a low wall after covering 46km.

17/05/2015 09-25 am Depart mooring and travel for 36 km passing through five locks and mooring up in Auvelais here we took on 334.64 litres of diesel which we hauled from the garage cost Euro 385.32.

18/05/2015 09-35 depart mooring it is very windy today and there are long waits at the locks especially Ecluse Salzinnes as there is considerable commercial traffic. WE finally moor in Namur on the Quay at 15.00hrs. we will stay here for eight days at a cost of euro 74 including electric and water.

inevitable namur puzeller balloon close call fire demo Demonstration against cutbacks by the fire service

26/05/2015 09-42 Call Ecluse La Ponte on VHF 20 to request passage and Depart arriving in Profondeville at 11-30. here we met Varleyon who we last met up with in Dockum Netherlands. lovely mooring this with two small pontoons, it was a beautiful evening with the cliffs opposite illuminated under a cloudless sky. loveley evening

2 7/005/2015 09-45 Depart for Dinant we are entering a beautiful part of the river here as can be seen by the Photos

muese valleychurch we moor at 13-09 on the town moorings three nights here for euro 35 with electric and water. the town is the birthplace of Mnsr Sax and is overlooked by the Citadel.

view from the Citidel view from the Citidel2 down the valley Inev and EugDSC_2349DSC_2344

30/05/2015 0936 We depart Dinant on our journey southwards and pass back into France at Les 4 Chemmes after our papers are checked we are issued with zappers for the locks and arrive Givet mooring on the quay at 14-08pm 584km pictures of the river and Givet below.

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31/05/2015 09-45 Depart Givet pass through six Ecluse and moor in Fumay at 15-15 will stay here for two nights.


02/06/2015 09-12 depart Fumay destination Laifour arriving at 13-40 to moor on village moorings this is a beautiful little mooring well looked after by the village which unfortunately has suffered decline in the recession.

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whilst here I decided to add an extra VHF whip Ariel and to fit a proper through deck VHF port to tidy things up a bit and save me lifting and dropping the large 3 meter Ariel  this done and was all tested and working.

04/06/2015 09-23 Depart Laifour destination Charleville Mezieries arrive on mooring at 15-44. this is a very beautiful town with a fantastic square . there is a grand harbour for visitors unfortunately when they constructed it they failed to provide sufficient height on the pedestrian bridge over the entrance so most boats moor on the old pontoons where we moored.

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07/06/2015 09-15 depart from the mooring and travel 29km to Sedan where we moored on the wall. facilities in the camp site which is also administered by town after paying mooring fees hooked up to electric over fence. Missy our Dog became very ill here one of the staff took us to the vet who diagnosed heart failure, but it is hoped medication can control it. In the evening two old Morgan cars arrived on the campsite with a support vehicle an their way back to Calais after attending a rally. we stay here for two days weather great.

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09/06/2015 09-01 depart mooring and moor in Mouzon at 11-50 17km put 60 litres fuel in tanks 78.63 euros  mooring cost euro12 a night inc water and electric.

10/06/2015 09-23 depart Mouzon destination Stenay a distance of 25 km arriving 13-50

11/06/2015 08-57 depart mooring and arrive Dun sur Meuse 11-30 13km it is a beautiful day and the scenery is absolutely stunning.

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12/06/2015 09-01 depart Dun Sur Meuse arrive Consenvoye 12-14 and moor in harbour 18km

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14/06/2015 Depart Consenvoye 09-01 for Verdun arriving in Verdun 13-20 and moor on the very end of the moorings some difficulty in securing but manage to pass long line to shore where there is a small ring 24km . We will stay here for 4 nights to enable us to visit some of the battlefields’ the fort of Verdun and the National War Memorial this really makes you pause for thought, the crypts under the building are filled with bones and skulls of recovered but unknown fallen. The trip round Verdun fort was well worth doing there is an automated  train that takes you round all the underground chambers whilst the story of a soldier that fought there is told through the media of sound and film in your own language.

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18/06/2015 08-34 Depart Verdun for Ambly-sur-Meuse a distance of 20km arriving at 13-10pm and mooring in the small ancient harbour next to the village playing fields. We notify the lock keepers that we will be staying overnight and will leave about 9am the following day. You need to do this on some canals in France as the lock keepers have to come out and turn on the locks for you and set you off. they need to know who is on their section at all times. It is another hot day and we put the shades up.

ambly sur meuse

19/06/2015 Depart the mooring at 09-10 there is a scramble as two cruisers had arrived last evening and had not booked passage and this morning took off like rockets when they saw the lock keepers. because of this there was a 40 minute delay while we let them get out of the way. they had a ticking off as they went through the lock.we ,moored in Sampigny. Another hot day but a wonderfully shaded mooring and a pretty if run down village.

sampigny1 sampigny2 sampigny3 sampigny4 sampigny5 we have since found out that the reason a lot of buildings look so run down is because the government taxes buildings on the state of the exteriors. So if it looks good you pay more tax, gas ran out today change bottle.

20/06/2015   depart mooring 08-41 and arrive Commercy at 10-33 10km and moor on the old commercial key now VNF no services but secure


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This building used as a Napoleonic Prisoner of war prison commercy3 commercy4

21/06/2015 depart Commercy 08-34 crossing the aqueduct at Troussey 11-11 am  and moored Pagny-Sur-Meuse at 11-58

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22/06/2015 depart Pagny sur Meuse after turning to retrace steps to junction  at 09-00 moored on quay at Void.

23/06/2015 depart Void at 08-56 arrive at Tunnel entrance Mauvages at 12-43 and moor to await passage. Enter Tunnel at 13-16 and moor at Junction PK 85 at 14-33 having covered another 19 km. there is a problem with weed here the water is exceptionally clear aiding its growth but it does threaten to close the navigation if not addressed. It not only wraps around the propeller but on raw water cooled engines like mine blocks the water intake and causes us to stop and clear this every km or so.

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24/06/2015 Depart Tunnel mooring at 08-57 and moored at Treveray at 13-00 when I stopped the engine it became apparent the starter motor was jammed in and was spinning, I had to isolate the battery power to stop it and after some investigation found that the solenoid was stuck. Judith tapping with a hammer finally freed it, an old trick but one that often works.

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25/06/2015 Departed 09-00 and moored Ligny at 14-34 we have now covered 916 km

28/06/2015 Depart Ligny at 09-06 and travel for 15 km to moor in Bar-le-Duc a nice mooring by the station with 4 amp electric. another beautiful town with original 14th century paintings in the church.

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30/06/2015 depart Bar-le-Duc at 10-44 and moor on VNF Key above lock 52 Rivigny  at 15-45 after a further 16 km

vnf key

01/07/2015 Depart mooring Rivigny 09-17  and moor Pagny on the village mooring at 13-56 a beautiful spot yet again outside a restaurant the cost 9 euro for two nights including water and electric bargain!

another great day crew just too hot

just too hot for both of the crew. Missy finds the coolest spot in the boat. the Bridge in the lock lifted and then they all went for Mange (lunch)

so nothing for it but to put on the kettle and make a sandwich.

mangee village log store weedy aproach

03/07/2015 we depart the mooring at 09-03 and at 12-26 we turn on to the Champagne et Burgoyne Canal.after 18 km we moor for the night in Vitry le Francois. 10 euros including electric. more heat so rigged the sun sails.

happy crew

04/07/2015 we depart the mooring at 11-13 as we only need to travel 14 km today to get to our next mooring Orconte.

05/06/2015 Depart 09-06 and travel for 15 km through 5 locks to arrive St Dizier at 12 36 and 1000 km on the log .


06/07 2012 Depart St Dizier at 09-09 through 8 locks  mooring at 14-27 below lock 50 Chevillon for the night.

07/07/2015 Depart mooring 08-36 weather very hot clear blue skies  and arrive Joinville 11-16 decide to moor here for 4 nights.

11/07/2015 Depart from Joinville 08-43 and moored at Donjeux 11-56 tight fit here for us and Eugenie because of narrow boat style wide beam who refused to move but we managed, but as he left the following morning he deliberately cut the electric supply not only to us but to the camping site as well.

riged for the heat

13/07/2015 Depart 09-06 destination Froncles arriving 11-42 .It is a great place to stop, The village has many interesting buildings one which many villages in this region have is the wash house shown below.

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15/07/2015 Depart Froncles 08-57 and covered a further 27 km mooring at Chaumont  Port de la Maladiere 14-45 after passing through yet more stunning scenery. Another village with a wash house.

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18/07/2012 Depart 08-45 and pass through eight locks mooring at 13-00 hrs in Foulain.

19/07/2015 Depart Foulain 08-43  and pass a further seven locks to moor in Rolampont at 11-45 am you will notice that we do not cruise a long day especially when in company . There are several reasons for this the weather is hot, It is always sensible for a boat of our size 21 meters long to moor either just before lunch as today or mid afternoon as we are more likely to be able to moor on a decent mooring, and finally we like to explore the villages and countryside as often as possible. as you can see a picturesque village.

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20/07/2015 Depart Rolampont 08-40 and moor Langres famous for its cheese at 11-55 on the Quay it is somewhat away from the Fortified  town which sits on an escarpment in a commanding position overlooking the valley. we will stay for two nights here to take advantage of giving the town time to explore. The mooring is good with free water and electric this comes on three times a day for an hour each time.

langres humming bird moth langres moth langres scouts langres langres1 langres2 langres3 langres4 langres5 langres6 langres7 we took a cab to get into town and while there decided to take the guided land train ride along the walls and through town meeting some French scouts along the way. whilst waiting for our taxi back to the boat I managed to get a couple of pictures of a humming bird moth feeding on nectar from the geraniums.

22/07/2015 Depart Langres 08-39 trough two locks and then transit the Balesmes tunnel it is controlled by lights to keep you at a steady 4 km p.h. if you go to fast the next light ahead stays red keep to the correct speed and they turn green in front of you. Bill went to fast and got told off by radio and when exiting by the tunnel keeper who asked if we had traffic lights in the UK. you can see the green light above the boat and in the distance the light is red. the tunnel is 4800 meters in length and we entered at 10-32 exiting at 11-36.

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continuing on through another ten locks we moored on the halte nautique  in Piepape a wonderful name for a village, at 15-30 a distance of 20 km. we all walked up in to the village past the Chateau, the village now looks deserted it only needed some tumble weed to complete the picture is a medieval village which must have been built at the same time as the Chateau to serve the estate.  The small church is delightful with intact wall paintings and an updated heating system that consists of a very large wood-burning stove in among the pews with a chimney Heath Robinson would have been proud of.

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23/07/2015 Depart Piepape 09-07 pass through fourteen locks and moor on the Halte Nautique PK 181.6 at Cussey  at 13-15 odometer now reads 1161 km



25/07/2015 Depart 09-06 and moor Poully PK 197 at 12-26 We decide to stay here for two nights

26/07/015 depart mooring 09-00 through eleven locks and moored on old silo quay next to a winding hole PK 214.5 Cheuge. Bill decides to do a Brie (BBQ) I go off hunting for black berries so Carol can make the desert. while out it decides to start and rain and by the time I return is hammering down. Bill has the joint of ham in his Cob on the front deck and later on we join them on the boat as it is still raining. Bill goes to retrieve the joint and we hear a terrific crash, realising he has fallen I rush outside to find him now gazing over the side at the joint which is now making its way down the canal. seeing my meal trying to escape I through myself on the ground and manage to scoop it to safety. Dinner is saved (after some washing with boiling water) we all sit down to a great meal and a good laugh.



27/07/2015 depart Cheuge 08-43 and after passing through three locks we arrive at the last lock on canal Marne a la Saone / entre Champagne t Bourgogne and here we deposit, (return) our telecomander before we turn on to the Saone.


we call all traffic on Ch 10 before we exit at the junction and enter Ecluse sur la Saone Heuilley back on twist rod controls. we travel downstream and moor in Pontailier-sur-Saone 2.00 hrs we will stay foe two nights.

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29/07/2015 Depart Mooring at 08-57 and moor on the town moorings n Auxonne at 11-25 with Eugenie, 1224km on the log.  we stay for three nights there is electric and water but you have to walk into the centre of town with the number of the electric plug you are connected to  and pay at the Tourist office they then turn on the electric and water for your plug.

while we were here we went to the Son et Lumiere play at the castle not really knowing what to expect e sat right at the front, (these seats being oddly vacant) and waited for the spectacle to start. it was the first night and after some delay it got under way. It was a storey of the 1st World war and the life of soldiers in the trenches. We found out why the front rows were not taken the play was on gravel and the action going on led to clouds of dust covering all who sat in the front. Lesson Learnt we also discovered that this play was to be in almost real time! about two and a half hours in there was a lull and the friends we went with started to get up to go I stopped them and explained we are in France and watching a spectacle so it wont be finished yet. I was right and we finally left at one in the morning.




01/08/2015. Depart Auxonne at 09-04 heading for St-Jean-de-Losne there is no room on the town quay so we go into the H2O marina and manage to secure a mooring for bot boats in boxes a little tight but after turning we reverse into the box and secure the boat. Bill joins us in the next box after he has refuelled at the bunker quay. the cost here is one euro per meter plus electric.

03/08/2015 mooring 09-56 and proceed back upstream to enter the Canal du Rhone au Rhin mooring at 12-45 in Abergement la ronce Jura. Great little spot.  but quite narrow as we found out when a Hotel boat of maximum width came up. it was so square tat when it entered the lock above us it had great difficulty getting in because the water in the lock could not be displaced easily round the hull. we arrange our passage with the lock keepers for the next morning as there is a section passing trough a chemical works in which it is forbidden to stop.


04/08/2015 depart and enter 1st lock as arranged at 09-06 and after 5 locks we moor at 11-55 in Dole the moorings are quite full and we are to large to moor with Eugenie but we re welcomed alongside  Swiss Luxemotor. we will be here for three nights and are able to move when another boat leaves mooring free and free electric for the next two nights. A wonderfully picturesque town and the birthplace of Louis Pasteur.

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06/08/2015 Depart Dole 09-07 leaving Bill and Vickie on Eugenie  and proceed back down towards Auxonne again as we are going to leave the boat in Port Royal to go back to the UK for our Sons Wedding to Shelly Barnes. We moor in Choisey 10-00

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07/08/2015 depart Choisey  08-6 and moor back in St Jean H2O at 12-35 we need to Bunker but it was closed so will do tat as we leave. we stay here a further three days

10/08/2015 depart 08-39  and fuel up at the Bunker station taking on 350 litres in the main tank and 60 litres in cans, 1.253 a litre cost 438.55 Euros depart here 09-36 and arrive Port royal 12-29. after mooring the boat we start to prepare to return to UK for the wedding some pictures of which are below . left to right john with his best man John and Shelly all the men carol with our great grandson Noah the room and Noah and his mom Becky seated.

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20/08/2015 Depart Auxonne Port Royal having ben joined by our friends from our Narrow boating days Garry and Ruth  and turn once again downstream and travel for 34km mooring in Seurre on the pontoon net to the small harbour entrance. The pontoon appeared to be taped off with hazard tape and a no mooring sign however the lady in the permanently moored boat there came out to explain that they have done this to deter the hire boats from mooring there and preventing larger craft from taking advantage and that we were welcome to moor. this we did and it is another great overnight stop.

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21/08/2015 depart 09-10 and moor I Chalon sur Saone around the back of the island against the bank on the starboard side  you can’t get right in here. but we are to big to get in the harbour. the two girls and Garry head off to re supply and I stay behind to get some jobs done. this is when tings started to get interesting. The gardens opposite on the island were being mowed by a large sit on mower and suddenly the driver lost control on the wet grass and the mower and driver gracefully slid down the bank and n to the river. Luckily the driver managed to get clear as he went in and scrambled back out on to the bank with just the back end of the mower showing above the water. there was now much scratching of heads s the ret of the team arrived to see what had happened and about half an hour later two barges with a crane appeared round the corner.

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above some pictures of the trip down and arriving Chalon, below the Garden Incident when they were swinging it ashore with the crane the first attempt failed and it crashed back in nearly sinking the small boat that was assisting.

barge1 barge2 barge3 barge4Red faces all round I don’t think the driver will be getting his Christmas Bonus!

22/08/2015 depart Chalon and enter the Canal du Centre passing a derelict barge  there is a 1.5 hour delay at lock 30 as it is Kaput! and another at 28 things not going to well finely Moore in Chageney after covering 20km We meet up with Bill and Vicky again here and stop for three nights. great little harbour not over used and room for one boat of our size with facilities. but there is good mooring over the other side of the Canal on the wall with room for about three barges but no electric or water. while here we check the station and train links as Garry and Ruth will go back to Auxonne by train.

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While here we all take the train in to Baeune  this town in the centre of the Burgundy vineyards’ and renowned for its wine auction but we were going to look at the town and its Hospice. The roof of which is covered in glazed tiles common in this region of France.

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very advanced and comfortable and ahead of its time heated, and built over the top of a running stream which cleared away waste.

25/08/2015 depart Chageney 09-21 and moor in Santenay another place famous for its wine. beautiful mooring just outside the village when settled we walk in to the village and bought two cases of wine, even better they will deliver to the boat!

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26/08/2015 Depart Santenay and moor in St-Leger-sur-Dheune this a is a boat hire centre and  a lot of the hotel barges turn here so it can be difficult to moor but we got in ok.

27/08/2015 depart at 08-52 and Moor Moulin St Julien we will turn back here and leave Bill and Vicky to return to our winter mooring.

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28/08/2015 We wave good bye to Bill and Vickie and set of to retrace our steps 08-44 mooring St Leger

29/08/2015 Depart 09-52 and moor in Santenay 12-55 will stay two nights.

31/08/2015 Depart o9-04 arrive Chageney 10-05 sty tree nights.

02/09/2015 depart 08-40 and moor Fragnes 12-27 now have 1,469 km on log stay here for two nights, nice spot with plenty of moorings full facilities.

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04/09/2015 depart mooring at 12-50 in Verdun having phoned ahead to book there is only one place for a barge (although it looks like yo could moor two boats it is very shallow because of the slipway. there was stone directly in front of the boat just under the surface) with electric however it is possible to moor on the wall further along  just behind the tree you can see in the picture,without electric or water

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06/09/2015 depart Verdun sur-le-Doubs 09-02 and call the lock on VHF 20 at 10-35 finally moor Seurre PK 187 a before tape still in place. stay for two nights

08/09/2015 contact the lock on VHF22 to advise tat we are departing and move off at 09-05 and arrive H2O St Jean 11-32 wind speed is 19.1 gusting to 26.2 knots we are directed round to an end T mooring quite difficult to get to as is in the middle of a load of Lilly pads.

which you can see in this picture we stay for a week.


15/09/2015 we depart H2O with the intention of taking on fuel from the bunker dock but it is full so we decide to moor on the empty town quay, this is the first time we have seen room on here. stay her  further three nights as we are in no hurry. whilst here we manage to but a new folding gang plank great deal cost us £168 normal retail price would be  £599. also order new name decals for the boat for when she is painted next spring.

18/09/2015 leave town moorings and after fuelling up 275.5 litres cost 340 euros we leave at 08-45 arriving on the town moorings Auxonne 12-20 stay three nights.

21/09/2015  Depart Auxonne 09-44 and travel to Pontailler-sur-Saone arriving 11-50

22/09/2015 Depart mooring 09-47 and moor port Saint Pierre 11-15

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Depart mooring Port saint Pierre at 09-33 and arrive Montoche at 11-43 moorings are completely empty so we have our pick very few boats on the river now.

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24/09/2015 Depart mooring 10-00 moor in Grey 10-52 electric and water free

25/09/2015 depart Grey 09-37 moor saint Pierre and fixed hanging points for fenders on port side.

26/09/2015 depart 09-05 and moor on public quay Pontailier at 10-25

27/09/2015 depart mooring 09-19 turning into Port Royal at 11-20 and finally tied up on winter mooring at 11-43 1,645 km on log  main engine hours 1500.4

Engines all serviced ready for the winter ant freeze renewed gear box ATF oil and filter renewed  checked all belts and topped up remaining led acid batteries. 26/10/2015. we are going to be lifted out of the water in the sprig for work on shaft rear bearing which has some play and anti foul renewed then we should be good for another three or four years.

















December 30th, 2014





The route


On the 14th of April 2014 at 09-45 hrs we left our winter mooring at Dukra marina Zaandam for the last time.


Our aim for this seasons cruising was to head for Belgium there to spend a year before heading further south to France. Our first call was to the bunker boat on the confluence of the Zaan and the North Sea canal, where we took on 237ltrs of fuel filling our tanks to capacity before we set off on the year’s adventure. From the North Sea Canal we turned on to the Spaarn to be held up at Spaarndam Sluis, this was a little hairy as there was an extremely strong cross wind blowing off the waiting poles. Divers were down in the lock doing an emergency repair because of the wind it took three attempts to enter the lock. Late afternoon saw us in Haarlem and we spent the evening and next day here.

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On the 16th we slipped our mooring and headed towards Braassemermeer to meet up with friends Ruud and Trish and Ad and Tineke on their barges. passing through Gouda on the way it was  on a routine inspection of the stern gear that I found we had a leak yet again!

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Luckily the harbour we were to stay in had a crane. Next morning we were lifted out and it was found that the repairs we had done in Zaandam had failed the weld had cracked. It appeared that the steel used was not heavy enough a repair was effected but we were told it would fail again and that when it did the whole thing would have to be replaced. 423 euros later we are afloat again, we considered ourselves lucky that it happened when it did the yard Meerzicht owners were so helpful and considerate and sorted us out straight away. 18th April we said good bye to our friends and headed off across the Meer at 10-14 mooring on a free 3×24 hour mooring in Alphen on the Rjin.

alphen on de rijn eddited  Alphen on de Rijn

The next day we covered another 17km before mooring again. 22 April saw us cover another 21km and we stopped in Montfort overnight, moving on next morning crossing the Lek at 12-41 and mooring in Vianen good moorings here with water and electric although not free.


24th April slipped mooring and made our way to Meerkirk free moorings this time, and the following day 25t we set off with the intention of stopping in Woodrichem an historic harbour on the Waal. We crossed the Waal from Gronichem this river part of the Rhine is wide and used by commercial, cruise ships, fast ferries, and pleasure craft alike. Arriving in Woodrichem historic haven we moored up at 12.00 hrs distance covered to date 146km. We stayed here for 3 days taking the ferry back to Gronichem for a look around the town.

The busy Waal, and Woodrichem historic harbour

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28th saw us on our way again towards Den Bosh to give it short name and we arrived at the Gementhaven passing under a low bridge and mooring at 13-29pm. Having spent the evening here we left the following morning and took the opportunity to follow a commercial through the one way system saving some time as the bridges were opened with no delay. Having covered another 30km 9 bridges and 3 locks we moored for the night 208km now on the clock. 30th April on our way again 09-30 we ended the month after another 27km at 237km mooring on a DB recommended 3×22 over 17 meter mooring.

1/05/2014 on our way by 09-41 we are now within reach of the Border with Belgium and at midday we crossed the Border and on reaching the Sluice at Bocholt in company now with Nils and Torild on Pase-lagom we entered the lock and went to the office to but our licence for Friesland. By taking the route we had we were to save over 30 euros as both the Belgium and Netherlands governments gave a subsidy to promote the less used waterways and help keep private boats off the major waterways. We discovered that it was cash only and had to lend Nils the cost of his licence as he had only a card. Tried to moor in Bocholt itself but there was no room so ended up on St Huibrech town moorings, here we found a memorial to soldiers killed during the liberation of the town. the moorings were

The Mooring in St Huibrech.


free but no services so next morning we moved on to Neerpelt just 4km and moored on the jetty having been met by the townspeople who were very welcoming. Apparently the jetty was built for a hotel trip boat which no longer existed and we were welcome to stay as long as we wished. Great place to stop free electric, and shops in the town close to hand. 4th May left the town at 09-08 and 33km later after a 30 min delay at one of the locks we now had 308km on the clock. Next morning we left at 09-20 and were soon on the Albert canal for a short time this has flat walled sides so as with other waterways of its kind tends to be a little choppy from reflected waves. However we were soon off and into Viersal sluice and a much quieter waterway the Netekanaal. We finally moored at a VPF club site on the outskirts of Lier just short of Sluis Duffel having covered 35km.

Left to right- The clock Tower Lier, Believe it or not a blacksmith made this, The approach to town, A flock of steel sheep.


after mooring we walked into town a very pretty place with some wonderful buildings and Museums, they also have a speciality tart which looked so good we bought 4 to enjoy at leisure the next day. They turned out to be quite disgusting at least to our taste, and to the swans that were invited to eat what was left. Here we had to make some tidal calculations as we were about to enter the tidal section between us and Gent. 06/05/14 the calculations told us we had to leave to go through the Sluis at 14-30 to get the tide down to Ruppelmond on the Bovenshelde where we would have to wait on a mooring for the next favourable tide to take us up to Gent. Still in company with Passé we left the lock and had to make a dash through the lock approach to avoid a commercial coming upstream. (AIS Automatic Identification System) is useful in these situation.


We arrived at Ruppelmond 17-15p after a fast trip down with the outgoing tide, and moored on the jetty just managing to get on. The harbourmaster met us and gave us some tips on how and when to depart the next day, and also warn us that the passing commercials cause meter high waves to hit the mooring. He was right, much to Carol’s disgust we had quite a rough night. Further calculations told us that we would have to catch the tide as it turned and that would be approximately 8am however we knew from the advice given by the harbourmaster that the best time to slip was as the buoy adjacent to the mooring came upright, slack water because we had to clear the old light ship moored directly in front of us. I got away clean but poor Passé got caught by the flow as h backed off and was flung around twice before regaining control. To explain there is no slack water here it goes from ebb to flow almost instantaneously. We knew we had it right when two commercial boats left at the same time so we took the decision to follow at a distance as they would know the channel.


It turned out that we would not have been able to stay ahead as Passé was restricted in speed due to a liberal covering of weed and zebra mussel on her bottom, top speed 6-8k hour. We arrived at Sluis Merelbeke where the tidal section ends and you join the Gent Ringvart at 14-38 seven hours later and entered with the three commercial ships here we were asked if we had our Licence and sent on our way we had booked a mooring in Portus Ganda marina Gent and arrived there at 15-50pm a total distance of 70km we stayed here for 5 days and met up with our friends on Eugenie who had travelled down from Eeklo.


We were to travel together now until after the DBA rally in Diksmuide which was being held to commemorate the outbreak of the 1914-18 war. We decided to take a touristic route to the rally at a leisurely pace and so planned to take the Leie down to Deinze then up the Afleidingskanaal left on to Gent Oostende kanaal into Brugge on to Nieuwpoort, Veurne, (here I took on Diesel from a Lorry at 1.185 euros ltr) mooring overnight just short of Fintele at Fortumbrug where we had an excellent meal in the Old Brewery Museum cafe.

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Old Brewery Museum cafe.                       Fintele Mooring
Leaving for Fintele on the 1st June and onwards to Ypres

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On the 4th, and finally Diksmuide. This would take us up to 11-06-14 having now covered 635km. We had a great and thought provoking time at the rally visiting Ypres and attending the last post where the DBA laid a wreath, and a trip to the Death Trenches where the Belgium army faced the German army and lost many men.

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On 17-06 we left Diksmuide and headed for Nieuwpoort mooring in Westhoek marina at 11-55 during our stay here we were boarded by the Water Police who checked all our papers and insisted we needed to do a Schengen paper. Now you only need this if entering the Schengen area of Europe from a non-Schengen country such as the UK not when crossing borders within the Schengen area. When we first arrived in Dunkirk from UK I tried to submit my Schengen papers and no one wanted to know. Now having come to Belgium from the Netherlands when no papers are required I had fill one in that’s EU thinking at its best. 19th 06 we left heading for Gent and moored for the day in Oudenburg an old Roman town on the Plassendale Nieuwpoort kanaal the following day we moved on to Brugge and reversed into the Coupure moorings off the ring kanaal at 13-55pm.

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We stayed here for eight days to enjoy the town while we had a visit from our Daughter and Son I Law Emma and Steve and set off once again on the 31-06 at 09-50am to join the tail of the convoy heading for Gent, arriving here at 16-00hrs in Gent Centrum and paid for a weeks stay. We had now covered 741km.
On the 8th July we again headed for Brugge this time to moor in Flandria as we were expecting a visit from some friends we had not seen for many years we wanted to sus out the train connections as this is how they were to join us. The marina is adjacent to the main station about a five minute walk and so more convenient than Coupure. Our visitors Bill and Grace arrived on the 9th and left here again on the 12th back to Gent Centrum so as to give them an idea of what life is all about when you live on a Barge.

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15th July we again left for Brugge each journo is 46km and by now we had covered 878 km. Bill and Grace then had the chance to explore both of these Medieval City’s, and the culture they have to offer and they left us for the UK on the 16th. On the 19th we left Brugge to explore the rest of Belgium before the autumn. Next stop Deinze then on down the Leie through Kortrijk and its one way traffic system ten we moored in Menin 14-15pm staying here for 2 nights. Leaving here on the 23rd we head down to the Bunker boat at Comines reaching here on the 23rd refilling our tanks again we returned to the arm at Menin to overnight, before setting off next morning towards Kortrijk we booked passage through the junction lock on the Kanaal Bossuit-Kortrijk. When we arrived at the control point I radioed for permission to enter the one way system and was told to wait for a commercial coming the other way when I could proceed. On arrival at the junction I again contacted traffic control on VHF 20 to inform them I was clear of the channel and we waited a few minutes for the lock keeper to start us up through the first flight. We moored above Sluis Bossuit 14-00 hrs having now covered 998km. 25-07-14 09-37 saw us underway again heading for Sluis Herinnes which is the border between Flanders and Wallonia. Here Carol had to climb a tall ladder to take our papers to the lock keeper for checking although there is no Licence in this part of Belgium you have to log your journey and have a MET number we already had one 4569 so they found us on the system quite quickly, though they do like you to have a planned route as Carol explained we liked to explore all waterways they put us down as (le grand tour) but that we were eventually heading for Namur. Now on the Haut Escaut we passed through Tournai after some delays as Commercial Traffic takes precedence, through the ancient arched bridge

DSC_1912 DSC_1915 DSC_1920 DSC_1928 DSC_1930   te old bridge and Industrial ruins  old Lime Kilns

and tried to moor on the Visitor moorings but decided we were a bit too heavy and so moved on and Moored in Antoing on the quay at 15-45 1024km. 27 th Leaving at 09-42 we travelled 18km mooring in the port de pleasance de Pervweiz at 12-12.

DSC_1964  our Friends on Avonture leaving the Grand LargemonsmonkeyMons


Next morning we set off at 09-30 down the canal Nimy towards Mons arriving at 13-30 in le grand Large and mooring against the wall by the slipway, 26km covered. We booked in for 4 nights and on the 30th late afternoon were again boarded by the Water Police who wanted our papers again this time we gave them everything we could think of fuel log, fire inspection sheets, Life jacket maintenance records and all ships papers to look through all in order so after 45 mins they left happy. It seems to make no difference that you tell them you have already been inspected, they still insist on checking.31-07-14 and we set off at 09-05 heading for the Ascenseur de Thieu this monumental structure is a boat lift that lifts you and your boat 70 metres vertically and is a must do when in Belgium.

historic DSC_1974 DSC_1981  going-up DSC_1998Pictures the Historic Lifts Out of use now and the New lift there were four of us in the lift which takes 20 minutes to accend

Leaving the lift we turned off the Canal du Centre on to the Canal Charleroi Bruxelles and after traveling for 45 km we moored for the night under lock 3 versville. Here when doing my usual checks I found we had again got a leak around the stern gear, the weld had failed on the other side. Panic! We are at least 60 km away from help and this is a serious failure. The Canal we are on and the River Sambre beyond have concrete banks with deep water to the side so in the event of complete failure you cannot put the boat aground. We are in trouble! Frantic phone calls and postings on the DBA Facebook page and Website eventually we phoned Ray Bowen who built our narrow boat and who delivers boats by road to Europe. He was cruising on the Mosel with a friend who is also a surveyor and said hang on a minute and I will get back to you. Within 5 minutes he was back in touch with a recommendation we contact the shipyard in Namur the Meuse and Sambre this we did first thing next morning and they were very helpful, though the yard was officially closed for Holidays they would get us out of the water first thing Monday giving me a few days to limp down to them. I have never sweated so much in my life it was the most nerve wracking time if the weld had failed altogether we would have sunk.

01-08-14 we left with trepidation and reduced revolutions at 09-13 and at 10-45 was blue boarded by a commercial I replied with my blue board and altered to port to pass on his starboard side. We started passing through Charleroi at approx. 11-30 it is a city that reminds you of Hades’ dark, grimy, with steel mills and furnaces belching smoke and flames and you pass right through between the blast furnaces. 14-52 we decided to moor next to the railway bridge marked on the map as a designated stopping place and found it a secure and good mooring if a little noisy. They were working on the bridge grit blasting and repainting until after 7 in the evening. On checking the leak I found it to be worse and decided to try and reinforce / slow it down with some plastic metal I had in the tool kit, this did help a little and served to stiffen the metal. Next morning off again at 09-19 we eased our way to Namur


and with great relief moored alongside just inside the confluence of the Sambre and the Meuse at 15-00 having now covered 1170 km we now had two days to wait before going to the ship yard for repair.04-08-2014 we left the mooring at 06-57 clearing the lock and arriving at the shipyard 07-30 a brief wait while they prepared the trollies and on the signal I meneuverd over the top and we started to lift out of the water at 09-20 great relief! We would be out of the water for four days while they worked out the best way to do the job and fabricate the parts. This Yard builds Viking River Cruise ships so I now have a lot more faith in the job you will see from the pictures what the problem was.

DSC_2045 Up the sideways slipway

DSC_2041 Cracked weld

DSC_2050 - CopyDSC_2052DSC_2055DSC_2057 Shims to hold shaft in line

old bearing cut out new part fabricated and ready again for the water.

The cost of repair here was far less than originally paid for the botch job done in Zaandam. 8th August back in the water and after a wait to make sure the welding was waterproof we waived goodbye to the staff on the yard and went back to Namur to await the arrival of our friends Bill and Vicky. We paid for a week and settled down to de stress and enjoy the town. Once again on the 13th we are boarded by the Police who insisted on checking our papers, so once again out they came this time they physically checked the VHF sets and asked us for zee little book we could not understand what they wanted and in the end we said we were a British ship and did not need zee little book. It was not until they had left that it dawned on me that what they want to see was the Part one Bienavaart Police regulations which we are required to carry and do have on board. At last we heard from our friends who were now running a few days behind so we arranged to meet them in Dinant. 15th slipped our mooring at 09-15 to travel upstream to Dinant no problem through locks 9-8 and 7 but on reaching Ecluse 6 Hun could not get a response on the VHF and after hovering around and repeated calls eventually had a response which was Ecluse Kaput! Returning downstream managed to find a mooring in Godinne a low steiger, pontoon, jetty, whatever you like to call them with 3 of its 4 cleats broken so secured to some posts and my own mooring spikes. 19km run a light day. Next morning off again to try the lock this time no problem and we were through by 10-03am then on up to Dinant. We moored on the town quay at 11-38 this town is famous for being the birth place of Mr Sax inventor of the Saxophone. It also has a Citadel perched high above the town.

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After meeting up with Eugenie we headed back downstream on the 19th in company mooring that evening in Profondeville the town has two small but fantastic moorings for visitors.


20th August we both moved down to Namur staying here until 22nd. 09-31 and once again we are on our way turning into the Sambre heading back upstream we ended the day back on the mooring at the railway bridge or Pont de rail. Here we had a barbeque in the rain.1261 km now on the log. 23rd off we go again back through Charleroi

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and on to the Charleroi-Bruxelles canal passing through the first lock we find lock 2 closed with a coffer dam across the entrance. We managed to moor for the night on a high wall commercial mooring with a big climb up a ladder to get off the boat. Myself and Bill walked up to the lock and talked to the keeper who we thought told us it would be open again at 6am. Next morning we walked up again and saw that the dam was still in place with much activity and welding going on in the lock, more discussion and we found out that it would be closed for another three days. Now what to do? So we decided to backtrack and travel up the Sambre to a mooring shown on the map this was a good little mooring worthy of mention as it lies alongside a public park just above a church boat. No electric or water but safe and secure nonetheless. 26-08-14 we set of at 09-32 to try again and although there were a few commercials that had also been waiting we were through lock 3 by 12-50 and arrived at the Streppy boat lift at 18-02 to find a big backlog of boats waiting for the decent, we covered 52km that day mooring below the lift. Next morning 27th we left at 09-16 with fishermen setting up all around and impatient to see us leave. That afternoon we turned into the disused arm at Pommeroeul and moored up against what would have been the lock waiting moorings at 13-30. This could be a great way into France the lock is modern and manned but the French did not complete the link so it is now declining again. 28th we left at 08-09 to meet the team who were to take both of us up the canal Blaton-Ath we went through 14 locks and then broke the journey at 14-45 in Laduze 1391km next morning leaving

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01-09-14 at 09-02 the team met us at the next lock and we continued for another 9km mooring under lock 21 here arrangements were made to meet the next team the following day to take us on. 2nd September continued along this very pretty canal for a further 20km mooring at 12-00 on a fantastic grassy bank mooring with power and water. 04-09-14 on our way again by 09-00 another 24km and mooring by Church in Denderleeuw 13-00 hrs 5th Sep having done our tidal calculations we arrived at slues Dender 12-30 an hour before high water and enter the Boven Zeeschelde once again and shoot up with the tide to Gent. Passing through Sluis Merelbeke and onto the Ringvart we moored at Konnkluke Gentse pay for Electric Water free 16-15 now covered 1505km 60km today. 6th left the mooring at 09-20 and travelled to Brugge mooring yacht haven Flandria 14-40 43km later. Next morning we leave passing through Brugge towards Nieuwpoort and moor at Stalhille Brug for the night. 8th Sep 09-42 off again passing through Sluis Plassendale 11-23 and right down to Veurne mooring in the harbour at 17-39 we stay here for 5 days and refuel from a Bunker Lorry taking 711 ltr White Diesel at 1 Euro 18 ltr we have now covered 1599km so far this year. 13th on the move again to moor 15km later at Fintele leaving at 09-22 next morning and arriving in Westhoek marina at 13-15 another 30km we stay here until 17th the fish here in Nieuwpoort is to die for. We say goodbye to Bill and Vicky who are putting Eugenie to bed for the winter here on a very foggy morning I radio the lock and we gingerly make our way by feel into the lock visibility is about 100ft we make our way to the first bridge and wait for the convoy north on the Plassendale the fog clears as we set off 10-15 mooring in Oudenburg 12-15. Staying here for a couple of days we visit the town a good walk away and on the 19th set off towards Brugge mooring again by Stalhille Brug 10-47 we enjoy a meal in the hostelry next to the Bridge. 20th and we leave 10-56 in the morning arriving Brugge Coupure at 14-15 and reversed into the harbour under the lifting bridge to moor. We stay here now for 10 days and get to fully enjoy the City that’s when you can get past the tourists! On the 30th September we say goodbye to Brugge and head for our Winter mooring in Gent arriving at 13-58pm we tied up for the last time this year having covered a total of 1731 km the engine had another 258hrs on it and we had run the generator for a total of 95 hours.


Our Mooring in Get

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Our Friends Marg and Dave on their visit in October




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Mobile Entertainment and This is the way to do a pub crawl


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DSC_2140   Inevitable at rest

2013 A Year to Remember

November 18th, 2013

We left our winter mooring on 8th April 2013 with a Plan! we knew we needed new batteries for our Domestic bank , the old cheap as chips lead acid batteries had had a hard life. For the first two years the charging system unknown to us had not been working properly so they had never been fully charged , they had done remarkably well to have lasted the four years. So we had ordered 10  new Gel batteries which we were to have fitted in Grou on the 4th May. We also realised that  in order to Cruise in Belgium the following year we would have to arrange for an inspection of the boat for the TRIWV ( Certificate Communautair ) the European safety certificate. Required for ships over 20 meters but more on this later. First stop the Bunker boat and after topping up all our fuel tanks we were on our way north to Alkmar arriving on the 9th we decided to stay for  a week. It is a beautiful Town and one of our favorite stops, the quay (Steiger) is convenient and easy for mooring a vessel like ours and at this time of year a deal can be done if you stay for a week. Still this is not a sight you expect to see floating past your window. During our stay

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there was an incident when a boat moored behind us which was unattended discharged a large amount of contaminated bilge water with huge amounts of diesel in it. We and several other people reported it to the Harbor Master and then we had a visit from the Water Police and had to make a statement. The owner apparently denied anything to do with the Vessel but had been aboard on Sunday frantically cleaning the inside of the boat with a pressure washer, in the belief that as no one worked on a Sunday the Police would not be able to do anything if he removed the evidence. The Statements from all the witnesses proved he was there and that it was his boat so in the end he had to hold his hands up that cost him.

leaving on the 16th April  we made our way to Medemblik mooring twice along the way and arrived on the 19th mooring in the Miden harbor. Then a walk to the Harbormasters office for the latest weather forecast after getting this we decided on a Sunday crossing.



21st April weather fine slight swell which reduced even more as we crossed the Ijsselmeer bound for Stavoren. as we left there was a slight haze so ran the radar you can see on the chart plotter an orange blip which is the boat you can see through the window.



After spending two days in Stavoren we made our way up the Johan Friso Kanaal and moored Fluezen on one of the islands where we watched some kite surfing beautiful weather but high winds.

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Now we made our way to Sneek via Hegg mooring in the oesterhaven Spent 4 days here visited the train museum and enjoyed a water day festival whilst we were there. Note the steam powered hot tub .





Next on to Grou where we moored on PR 511 on Grou mere  ready for our batteries to be fitted after the weekend. During a regular check I found water where it ought not to be in the prop shaft tunnel and after some digging found a pin prick hole in the Generator wet exhaust rubber hose. WE moved into Grou passenten  haven and went off to the chandlers for some hose and joiners (I thought I could execute a simple and quick repair) an hour later the offending so I thought section removed and replaced I fired up the generator again,all looked OK . after an hour all was not OK the leak had moved along the pipe . Another hour and a bigger section inserted generator started all looked ok until I went down into the engine room .We now had a leak behind the generator and not in the prop tunnel I gave up the whole rubber hose had gone brittle so decided due to my inflexibility I would let the engineer replace it at the same time as the batteries. Mooring and ships Dog relaxing in the sun pictured



Monday and we moved to the yard for the batteries all day sitting waiting for our turn engineer arrived 4 pm and decided they needed  some adapters for the connections so rather than sit on what was a unsatisfactory mooring we moved back out on to the mere. Back next morning,, no where to get in to the side, after much deliberation and moving around of boats I managed to get within a meter and a half of the bank. gang plank down new batteries by the side  and the engineer walking the plank with the old ones two a time. Both jobs completed and 3619 euros and 50 cents later we left with a revitalized battery bank. Next destination Dokkum where we met up with Eugene. arrived 20th May Moored here for a week  as you get a deal and it is a beautiful place. 274 km covered to date.



27th May We decided to continue North and headed for Lauwers00g this is a very pleasant cruise however there was a hold up at William Laursluis  whilst they had Divers down inside the lock clearing a jammed gate. Arrived in Lauwersoog 11.35 on the 28th May and moored on the outer mole of the harbour. We were sitting in the wheelhouse enjoying a well earned cup of coffee when suddenly we hear gunfire and the boat becomes cover for a platoon of soldiers exchanging fire with another group across the water. WE appear to be in the middle of a military exercise.




leaving next morning we head for Zoutcamp and moor in the harbour 316 km covered now a very pleasant meal in the restaurant finished off the day On to Groningen  we moor next to Eugene again 350 km. Two days on and off we go  down the Nord Willems towards Assen, passantenhaven overnight the following day sees on the Dretsche Hoofdvart destination Meppel. Arriving on 4th June 424 km on the clock, some  pictures below of the journey down and the boat festival which was held the week we were there.

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After an enjoyable week of festival and barbecues and a visit to the Bunker boat to replenish fuel 353 litres  we headed of for Kampen thinking that after the rain in Germany enough time had passed for the levels to drop on the rivers. After spending a night in Hasselt we hit the Ijssel , as you can see still a little above normal and with the current running with us at about 6 km we shot down the river doing a good 15 km an hour. No problem until we were approaching Kampen and passing under Hoogteschaal Molenbrug just before the town as I came under the arch there was a cruiser on the wrong side of the channel making no attempt at taking any action to avoid a collision. We had to make an emergency maneuver to Port something you should never do but the only option left to me . He waived cheerily as we shot past each other at over 20 km an hour.  I was to busy swearing to wave back. We had phoned ahead  to book a place in the small harbour and I called on VHF as we turned to enter it was an interesting entry and had to be timed carefully because of the eddies in the entrance and the strength of  the stream. We entered like a champagne cork leaving the bottle once the current let go of its grip and moored on the service pontoon the harbourmaster had reserved for us.

OOh erwheres the bankKampen harbour


13th June back out onto the river strong stream still running with wind over current on reaching the Keteldiep there was quite a chop on the nose and we had to make a sharp port turn into Vaargeul and Vossemeer the inside passage of Flevoland. This brought with it the usual protestations from the First Mate who does NOT like anything beyond a flat calm. Still, it was only a moment and we were round safe and sound there was a casualty however down below, carol had been charging her toothbrush this had become detached from its charge base during the turn and was now embedded brush down in the bristles of the Toilet brush. Guess whose fault that was! we moored for the night on H 278 492 km. Next Morning 14th and in to Elburg a trip of only 4 km. Good moorings here alongside the road on a long linear Steiger. Pictures of Elburg below

bridge and gate cottages Elburg 1 fishing fleet old cottages elburg shrimp pan taking a break the boss the old town


Whilst  here we had some Rope fenders made and left on the morning of 17th destination Amersfort first mooring overnight at the moth of the Eem there are good free 3 x 24 hour  moorings here.some pictures along the way.

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Next morning we set off for Amersfort down the Eem arriving in Eemshaven at 12-15 on the 20th June. Met by the Haven-master who was most friendly and helpful we settled on a pontoon opposite the Party boat, 625 km now covered. This weekend was the water festival here and we had a most enjoyable stay until we had a call with some very bad news. In Zaandam we had made some very good Friends Gery and Gerard Baaker who when we left in the spring had been having some health problems that the Doctors had been unable to diagnose. On Friday we had had a call from Gerrie to say they finally had a diagnosis and that they were sure they could get on top of things. The next day she called again to say he had died suddenly in the night she was  absolutely devastated as were we and we decided straight away to return to Zaandam to see what we could do and attend the funeral. I rang Guss the owner of the Marina next day  to make sure that was OK and was told that another of our Dutch friends had died that morning so it would be two funerals not one.

Amersfort is a beautiful place as you will see by the following pictures. Just don’t stand for to long like this chap

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24th June we leave for Zaandam mooring again in the moth of the Eem then on the 25th to Almere Haven where we stay over  26th at 09-30 we are off again passing through Orange Sluis  12-13 and turning onto the Zaan 13-11 we are moored in the Haven by 13-40 having now covered 690 km. A Very Sad Time!

Pictured below through Amsterdam along the Ij and Noordzeekanaal

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Both funerals were held on the same day at the Crematorium  one after the other and were well attended they were relaxed and a little different from what we are generally used to . Plenty of time is given for the no so much a memorial but a celebration of loved ones and was followed by coffee biscuits and a chance for memories and a chat. The staff did look a little confused when we left the first one from the rear entrance just to walk to the front and enter again.we told them the coffee was so good we wanted another.

Our Very good Friends  Gerrie  and Gerard Bakker in happier times, we miss him greatly always cheerful and generous always remembered.


6th July  Underway again after spending 11 days in Zaandam we entered the north sea canal heading South this time at Km mark ten we turned into the Zijkannal C  through the Sluis at Spaarndam and on in to Haarlem after calling the harbourmaster on VHF we were allocated a mooring on the Passenger ship moorings because of our size. After mooring we went ashore to explore, Harlem is a typical Netherlands town, very pretty and full of life.


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7th July south again on to the Ringvaart  Van De  Haarlemmermeerpolder  kannal  through Lisse and on to a very busy Kagerplassen  we were hoping to moor here but had made the mistake of trying on a very fine Sunday it was so hectic, we gave up in the end and moved on. Pictures show the trip down the Ringvaart and.

A very busy Kagerplassen

Don’t overload your Vessel!!

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Bypassing Leiden we took the Oude Rijn  and finally moored in Alphen a/d Rijn for the night. Now at 771 km. 8th July destination Gouda another great day cruising through some very interesting and pretty countryside.  moored up at 13-15 Now at 771 km. once again meet up with Eugene.


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Leaving Gouda on 11th July we traveled up the Hollandse Ijssel mooring overnight in Montfoort.

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From here we continued up  the  Hollandse Ijssel to Nieuwegein where we crossed the Lek into Vianen and moored in the passentenhaven  for the night the following day 13th July we moved to Meerkerk  staying for two days then on down to Gorinchem across the Waal one of the Great rivers of the Netherlands to moor in Woudrichem in the Historic harbour, a beautiful place to stay with beaches on the Waal for the dog to swim. Whilst we were here we took the ferry over to Gorinchem  to explore this historic place.

Pictures of Woudrichem and the Waal crossing .

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Gorinchem the ferry, harbour, town square, bridge flowers and a glacial boulder cut in half .

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17th July we set off again down the Andelse Maas  and out onto the Bergse Maas turning towards the Biesbosch  arriving there at 15-40 we moored at JH Vissershang a small harbour approached with caution as the depth in the Biesbosch varies with channels having to be followed carefully otherwise the risk of going aground is high. the following night was spent right in the center of the National Park it is a breathtaking place , with deceptively  wide open water hiding many sandbanks. Not the place for speed careful plotting is needed as you have to weave in and out using the channels. I was glad of the depth sounder and my chart plotter here. the channels are meant to be marked with withies  (twiggy sticks ) but many were missing. We had to approach our second mooring in a wide ark cruising well past and cumming in on the inside of a sandbank less than a meter from the waters surface. From the picture’s taken from the mooring shown below , it looks like a wide open and  safe piece of water. the top six pictures show some of the narrow channels with small beaches where the preferred method of mooring is to run on to the beach. the last three show the view from our mooring on the second day. we spent a third day at anchor in a little backwater with the stern alongside an old quay. the dog has to get ashore.

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having spent a few days in the Biesbosch we set off heading for Werkendam  here we took on fuel from the bunker boat 450 ltrs  at a cost of 683 euros before venturing out onto the Boven Merwede and crossing in between the commercial traffic to the Merwede towards Dordrecht . Passing the small vessel in the Picture .


Skirting Dordrecht we head up the Noord then turning starboard  on to the Lek , the current here was very strong with water pouring in to and across the mouth of the Noord. we moored in Fabriekshaven  haven for the night passing the entrance and turning into the stream to enter it is a pleasant little harbour, if a little tight for a boat our size. We had now covered 944 km and we spent two nights here. 22nd July and off we go again Down the Lek with the flow making good time we soon covered 50 km and were approaching the crossing with the A’dam -Rijnkan  changing from VHF 2 the channel for the Lek on to VHF 60 the A’dam- Rijnkan control channel I called for clearance to cross which was granted with a( good afternoon sir all is clear you are safe to cross ) having thanked him we crossed and entered  Duurstede  Gemeentehaven . we were directed to moor on the wall where the Harbormaster came over to us and gave us a Discount on the fees for being such a nice looking boat. You don’t get that in the UK. We are now on 997 km having covered 53 km that day in six hours 20 mins. The following day 23rd we continued down river to Arnhem where we spent 3 days enjoying the History of the Airborne landings and Museums the center of Arnhem is quite pretty but the outskirts of the city suffered from the fighting. Pictures of the trip down the river and  Arnhem follow some of the city and the Airborne landing museum the Memorial in the Cathedral which was so badly damaged along with many other buildings. You can see this from the old mixed with the new, and one other museum we visited with one mans lifetime collection of ladies underwear, ( don’t ask) .

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Noah’s ark  colour coordinated sports car on back deck and watch out for the swinging ferries anchored in the center of the river they swing back and forth with their cable supported on floating barges. you have to weave in and out

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Approaching Arnhem Airborne memorial on the heights and passing under Peggasus  Bridge the sight of heavy fighting.

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Memorial in the Cathedral and the Unbelievable Underwear collection of one Man !! and there was much more than this .

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Leaving Arnhem on the  27th we exit the Marina onto the Neder-Rijn pass under the New Brug and turn into the Gelderse Ijssel  which we follow to Zutphen mooring in WV De Mars arriving in a Thunderstorm with high  wind and torrential rain.

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Passing 1,111 km


Next morning we turn into Twentekanaal and run off the charts as we enter the smaller canals running close to the German border as we again head North  for Meppel  having made our appointment with SRF in Harlingen for 2nd September  for the TRIWV inspection and Survey.a Picture of the  cruising ring is shown below our route shown in yellow.

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Arriving in Meppel we entered the harbour on the 31st July it was so full we had to moor alongside a commercial which itself was moored alongside a trip boat  so only stayed one night. 1,251 km covered to date. 1st August  it was back to the Bunker-boat and another 375 ltrs at 1-46 a ltr.  then on to De Wieden mooring at Schtssloter. 2nd  August  heading for Lemmer we arrive at 12-00 hrs on the 4th August.and moored next to the bridge on the yacht-haven side we stay two days.DSC_1026DSC_1025 DSC_1028 DSC_1031 DSC_1032 DSC_1034

6th August and we are off again and over the next 4 days make our way back to Grou covering another 43 Km we  have now done 1356 km this year moored in the Gement-haven for one night to water up and fully charge the battery banks. the following morning we move out on to the meer and moor on PR 57 a whole 3 km.  11th and we move again around the corner to PK 40 another 4 km big days these.

12th August on the move again to National Park Oude Venen and moor in Earnewald 1369 km. 14th August off to Leeuwarden mooring on the offside bank in the Park  at 13-45 1394 km. Stayed for four days here its such a lovely spot and a nice town .

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18th August back to Dokkum and another stay of a week this is another of our favorite places. Cost 76 euros with electric thrown in for the week and I know there are lots of boaters who pride themselves on never paying for a mooring but we think that they are missing out on such a lot.

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Here we turned to retrace our steps back to Leeuwarden and then on to Franeker mooring on the 29th. the next day we took the train into Harlingen as there was a fishing festival over the weekend Harlingen is a wonderful old fishing town on the coast of the Waddenzee that has lost none of its charm plus it has the most fantastic little chandlers where you can get traditional bronze fittings. There were all sorts of activities and displays both ion the harbour and in town the children had spent two days building  small boats which they then were able to race for a prize. Pictures below.

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Sunday 1st September we move up to SRF for our TRIWV  appointment 1464 km , and now the fun starts the following morning we move round to the rear of the yard to wait for our turn to be lifted and the yard foreman visits the boat to discuss what we were to have done. a couple of days later out we come on the crane I had asked them to renew the anodes and repaint the hull but once we were out and washed off it became apparent that there was a problem with the steel surface. Most of the Protection I had applied the year before at considerable cost came off and the steel shiny in places and rusty in others showed through what was left. On inspection we were told that although they could repaint the hull they would not, because it would not last a year and that the only realistic alternative would be to grit blast and then repaint. They could recommend a company and would get me a price. This was done and suffered in translation I thought they said 30.000 euros but when talking later it transpired it was 13.000 plus tax just over 16.000 euros. I knew that we had no alternative but to have it done and we made the appointment at the Company back in Sneek. In the  meantime the surveyor arrived and started the inspection . He soon decided there was no point in doing any more ultrasound to the hull as it was recording more thickness than the speck , so the boat went back in the water and the internal inspection and Maneuverability and navigation test was done on the water. You have to prove that the vessel is capable of a speed of 13 km and hour and that it stops reverses and turns within prescribed limits. All this passed but there were some small improvements we had to make. Alarms on the bilge pumps nav lights and fuel tank two more fire extinguishers and shutters on the engine room air intakes, to enable the air to be shut off in case of a fire. A sign for the back with our EIN number tonnage and size of vessel . So we arranged for this to be done when we came back after the Hull work and got ready to leave for Sneek. You can see the problems by the Pictures below.

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As you can see the steel has no surface for the paint to cling to. The people on Veranderan who we had on board for drinks worried us we had followed them in the spring and they had come to SRF for a few jobs then and were still here ! So how long was it going to take us to finish? Anyway on the 6th September we were on our way down to Van Harinxma in Sneek for the job on the hull and as we k new we had to be off the boat for two weeks made a booking at a guest house which had an apartment. this turned out to be the right thing to do and was a great place. Pictures of the work and result along with those of the apartment follow.

When we arrived they were not sure if the crane would lift us as they had never lifted a boat as heavy 47 tons as us but took the chance to book a crane inspection at the same time . It did lift us and as a result they have been able to upgrade the cranes rating  and can now lift up to 55 tons.

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Finished and ready for the water again and work under way The company kept us informed all the way through and emailed me the pictures at every stage. The boat now has a guarantee for the underwater work paint system which is International 2 pack  epoxy system

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WE went back into the water just after 8 am and checked for leaks all OK but depth sounder was not working lifted again so it could be checked. It had been partially painted over a quick clean back in again and we were ready to go. 09-01 we reversed out of the dock and set off again back towards  Harlingen and SRF. we passed this on the way it was massif compared to us though still small compared to what you see in Amsterdam.

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After a five hour cruise and 57 km  we moored in  Franeker 14-14, 1598 km now covered. Re stocked the food cupboards here and next morning set off at 09-47 arriving SRF at 10-29. here to remain for 11 days until all the work was completed. Pictures of various stages and of some of the work that goes on in this shipyard follow. This  old ship was in need of some serious re bottoming, it had passed us a while ago on its way to the shipyard when they surveyed the hull with the usual hammer and the holes as big as your fist started to appear we wondered how it had stayed afloat. You can see the condition of the hull before and after work. The steel was shaped at the side of the ship on rollers and pulled the last bit with wedges and what look like bearing pullers welded on the inside before being welded into place . you can see from the last picture that it looks exactly like it would have left the shipyard originally but for the absence of the rivets. It should be good for another 100 years now. and will look like the other two master shown below when fully restored.

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This Vessel has taken 4 years to restore and will be taking part in next years tall ships race which starts in Harlingen. You can read about this Tall ship  AVATAR on its website its well worth a look as it contains pictures of the refurbishment.

The following pictures show some of the work done to our boat. The alarm system which warns us if a bilge pump is activated, if one of the Navigation Lights fail, and lastly sounds if the fuel level in the main tanks falls to a quarter on the gauge.  there is provision for  five more alarms if we need them in the future. I had 2 automatic dry powder and one Halon replacement gas extinguisher in the engine room but decided to replace the dry powder with a new Fire-pro  system whilst the work was being done. Not really necessary but more for my piece of mind (if dry powder went off whilst underway the engine would suffer possibly terminal damage) that is the big red box pictured. The powder is replaced by a solid block which is activated by what is essentially a charge firing into it from the arming device on the right hand side. this then emits a smoke which binds to the free radicals in the flame and putting out the fire. It is non toxic does not deplete the oxygen making it safe to enter afterwards and makes no mess like dry powder. After a fellow member had a fire in his inverter  I also installed  fire-pro disc extinguisher which is small enough to fit inside under the lid of the inverter. armed with thermocord this will go off in if there is an electrical fire well before enough heat builds up to cause and damage beyond the inverter it self.


I made the sign for the back of the boat whilst we waited for the other work to be done

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10th October all work completed bill payed and we set of for the journey back to Zaandam and our Winter mooring as we pass a bunker boat we take advantage and take on fuel again ( I like to keep the tanks full as you get less condensation that way) a total of 450 ltres in both tanks ( you can only buy white diesel in the Netherlands now) and a gas bottle we moored at 16-15 having covered 47 km total now 1652. next day on to Sneek to replenish stores on the 13th we moored in De Weeribern next day we took a free mooring and arrived in Elburg  on the 15th . We left Elburg in a slight mist which turned to thick fog after we had covered 10 km so thick that I left the channel and anchored it was dangerous to continue though we saw loads of small boats doing so.  The commercial boats were still running at 13 km an hour clearly visible on AIS  but in a channel only 20 or so meters wide never safe. we remained at anchor for over two hours when the fog lifted enough for me to move to a safe harbour we had passed just before it really closed in. I had just paid for the night  29-90 when it lifted completely. Sods Law, Next morning in a slight breeze off we go heading for Almere Haven our last port of call before Zaandam. The breeze became quite a blow and Carol gripped the bench until her knuckles turned white, the wind was on the bow so not uncomfortable though water was breaking over the wheelhouse. I knew that when we arrived off Almere  I would have to turn side on to the waves  which by now were over a meter high. Nothing for it in we went I increased speed and the boat settled shooting into sheltered water and the harbour. WE finally arrive back in Zaandam after an uneventful day and moor on the Steiger having covered 1884 km a fantastic if expensive year.

NOVEMBER .Sat 16th

Santa Clause arrives in Zaandam, by Steam Boat Certainly would not be PC in the UK and is now causing much discussion here but Everyone takes part .

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Cruising the Summer!! through

October 3rd, 2012

We have, despite the somewhat fickle weather had a wonderful summer cruising the waters of North Holland and Friesland this year. Now we are back in Zaandam and I have the time and reliable Internet connection to be able to update the Blog. We left Zaandam in the Spring and travelled to Alkmaar to experience the Cheese Market. Some of the locals advised that we get there early so as to find a good position well that was an understatement an hour before hand and we only just found a place with a good view. It certainly was a spectacle watching the runners with the cheese sleds. After a week we left intending to travell through the cannals of North Holland to the Isjlemeer and then over to Friesland but when entering the canal we saw a notice indicating that we would not get under the bridges. Plan B was to go to Purmerend  to Amsterdam and on to the Markermeer.  Our route took us  in order to! Almere on Flevoland, Riviera Beach, Smient which was the swimming beach for the World Jamboree in 1995 where I was a Unit Leader. Much reminiscing that night.  Then we crossed Ketelmeer moored in National Park De Weerribben where we witnessed the Storks flying in to feed. Then on to Echtenerbrug ,crossing Tjeukemeer, and on to Lemmer. We stayed here a week once a fishing village now relies mainly on Tourism. Leaving here we went to Sneek. A picture of the water Gate to the left. Another lovely town  to explore. From here to Leeuwarden to moor in the park in the shadow of the Leaning tower., pictures below We met our friends from Norway here  and spent a lovely few days with them cruising up to Franeker  another fantastic place with the oldest working planetarium in the world..Next stop was Harlingen right a lovely old town on the coast of the Waddenzee that was at one time a Hansiatic trading town with links to many parts of the  world .from here through the former fishing village of Zoutkamp left we arrived here the day after the fishing festival  and all the normal moorings for a boat our size were taken , however I noticed  this mooring inside a small box next to the restaurant and was watched intently while I slipped into the space. The whole town had a hangover! The furthest east we reached this year was Groningen , much damaged in the war and rebuilt in the early sixties with the usual concrete buildings of the period which at first sight masked its charms. On further investigation however many of its fine buildings survive in the Old town. Other towns / villages  visited in our meanderings were Burdaard , Dokkum, Lauwersoog, Bolsward, Grou, Workum and Stavoren  from where we set off back across the Ijsselmeer. It was a moderately rough crossing and we had to head directly into the waves until we were close enough for the land on the other side to give us some shelter and we could work our way up to Medemblik .

June Pictures


 Odd and Astrid visit Odd at the wheel


Mad cow


Odd and Astrid outside Mata Hari’s house


Cows in misty sunset


One of the Free Moorings


This is how to mow the lawn

July Pictures


Milk Carton Boat! I Kid you not


Sailing Clog






The Village of Grou


All sail set


returning with the Beer


Dressed ship


Sails in the Meer


Had one of these on the Farm


Blue throat’ed robin





Box Mooring Grou


Scout Boats



August Pictures


 The Old lady of Stavoren



 Stavoren Harbour


Approaching Medemblik


Medemblik Harbour


Sea Scout HQ


Harbour Entrance Medemblik


Fire Fighting arrangements



The Castle


Inner harbour




















In November we had to come out of the water as last years attempt to stop the leak failed the problem was in the housing where that bearing screwed into. The picture shows the problem, inside the housing is a short length of thread that was insufficient to hold the bearing hard against the flange. The solution was to cut out the old housing and insert a complete new bearing and housing with internal seals instead of a packing gland. This is common in the Netherlands but less so in the UK in future it should be easier to maintain as new bearings can be fitted from the outside of the vessel







June 1st, 2012

Well we are in Friesland and the weather is great, I can only update the blog when I can find a decent WiFi so there may be Gap’s in the blog. I have installed a Digital Yacht WiFi Booster system with Inav connect on the boat and this allows me to find free WiFi as we travel. In good conditions we can find a signal up to 5 miles line of sight. WE have covered quite a distance so I will put as many pictures up as I can at the Moment we are moored in Groningem and I have a very good signal.

Leaning Church Tower Leawarden


Concept Super Bus








Flower Market Leawarden It was 2 miles long


This is how to mow your lawn















15000 bikes 240 miles in one day some event!!


WE held up the race whilst we went through the bridge



Lemmer Harbour and a boat called Otter



This cow gives Blackcurrent milk


Scouts at Camp


Lemmer Town Hall









Repairs Painting and the start of the cruising season

May 15th, 2012

March 30th 2012 and we left Dukra for the ship yard to be slipped so that I could make some repairs alterations and Anti Foul the bottom of the boat.  We  arrived at the yard early afternoon and tied up on the waiting Steiger (jetty) to wait for them to take the boat before us off the slip. When this was done and it was our turn we pulled the boat into position and the trolleys were slid beneith us. Ist attempt failed because of the shape of our hull and the cradles had to be modified. Second go and we rose from the water untill about half way up the slip and the first cradle left the rails and started off to th right. All Stop! Much scratching of heads later and a jack was employed to add weight to the trolly and hold it on the rail. This worked and we were now secure. With a heave the stairs were put into place it was now 6-30 pm so we decided to call it a Day.




















A Few More Pictures Zaandam in winter Brrrr

February 8th, 2012


Christmas Visit a comedy of errors

December 13th, 2011

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Zaandam December 3rd.

It all started so well we were on time for the train and made the Airport with time to spare. The baggage was deposited into the automated system and we went through security with plenty of time for a relaxed cup of coffee. We boarded the plane on time and had a decent flight with KLM landing on time at Birmingham.

This is where the fun started! We phoned our son in law to say we were just off to get the baggage and he said he had just seen us land and would meet us in arrivals.  we stood with all the other passengers and waited, and waited, all of us watching the belt going round.Nothing! then came an announcement, will all passengers from Amsterdam please go to the desk in front of belt 14. We arrived to be told that non of the baggage had been loaded on to the Aircraft as the automate system in Amsterdam had broken down. Well you can imagine the result of this as some passengers were there for connecting flights all over the place. forms were being handed out to be filled in but no one had a pen! All of our Christmas presents were in the luggage: we were told that it could take up to 5 days so we let instructions that they be sent to our Daughters not the Hotel in case we were back in the Netherlands. So after getting to our Daughters picking up her car and booking into the Hotel it was off to buy shirts underwear etc for our stay. The luggage eventually arrived whilst we were preparing the Christmas meal so at least we were able to dish out the presents.

The Flight back was even more eventful. The Taxi was early so we set of for the Airport, on arrival we were told they could fit us on an earlier flight but that was delayed due to high winds at Schiphol  we got our boarding cards and headed for the security check in. Well this is where the trouble started Carol set off the alarm so back through she went again the alarm sounded so the wand came into use. It turned out to be hairgrips and bra strap. Meanwhile I sailed through and was collecting my hand luggage when we noticed Carols had been taken to one side. Out came the knickers in which she had wrapped a present from my Brother and sister in law. embarrassing! it turned out that they were looking for organic blocks they thaught might be cemtex that had shown on the xray  four of them, on getting down to the blocks it turns out that our new  buisness cards look like Cemtex so we were allowed on our way and the armed officers withdrew. We had now to wait for the delayed flight again and again the board went to five minutes gate open and then bounced up to ten. eventualy we were boarded and told that we were to wait on the tarmac for a slot into Amstrdam airport which had all but one runway closed. We took off after about 40 minutes and landed very bumpily 40 minutes later in very high winds

Birthday Girls! Grandaughters Bekky 18 and  Freya May 1


Blow Hard!


Winter Base

October 8th, 2011


Gues who!

Well we have arrived at our Winter   Mooring at Yacht haven Dukra in Zaandam North Holland. WE are right in the centre of town here within a few minutes of all the shops and cafés. WE will be here for the next six months and now have a wifi connection to the web so I will be able to update the blog on a more regular basis. We have had a wonderful time since leaving the UK and have travelled through Northern France, briefly through Belgium, following the Meuse which turns into the Mass river and then into the Netherlands. The weather has been at times a little mixed but on the whole has been reasonable. Everyone we have met on our travels have been friendly and keen to help, this has made the journey fly by.We ended having covered 1359 kilometers

typical French Lock


Quick lunch


Chilled Out Ships Dog


Along the Meuse



boats at Dinnant from the Citidal





Pont-a-Bar the start of 24 locks


Mars Gate Reims


Reims cathederal


typical town moorings








Moored in Woodrichem



Now we know we are in the Netherlands


Den Bosch Cathederal





One for John


Traffic on the Waal



Update at Last July 29th Reims

July 29th, 2011

Hello to all

It has been sometime since I updated the Blog and the reason for this is the cost of connecting to the internet. Once we have arrived in the Netherlands we will take out a contract with a service provider or use Wi Fi at the marina if they have it and then I will be able to put up some Pictures as well. However we left  Teddington on June 14th destination Dunkirque with a Pilot and did not stop until 20 hours later we arrived in the outer harbour. The trip was uneventful with only a small swell and very little traffic in the channel. Our route took us straight out of the estuary and directly across in a straight line to Dunkirque after a few days we joined the canal system having bought a VNF licence for 30 days our first trip was to Burgues a delightful town at the end of its own canal. It is well worth a visit from here we went back to Dunkirque and on to Watten mooring in the port l’ Emitage this proved to be very susceptible to passing Commercial traffic causing an inrush of water which then leaves just as fast. Care must be taken if mooring here otherwise you could find yourself adrift. We have visited Armentieres  a short trip into Belgium for fuel at Barge Neptuna,Warneton,Lille,Harnes’, Bason Run on the Canal St d Quintan and we are now in Reims where we will stay for a couple of days before heading off through the Ardiens and on through Belgium and the Netherlands to overwinter near to Amsterdam.