The wind at Nieuwpoort delayed our planned departure for a couple of days. It did also mean, however, that we met up with Jo & Tim, Maria of Zandam, who returned from Uk to their boat. A very pleasant couple of evenings ensued – one on board Piedaleau and one in the YatchHaven bar – Tim knows all the good bars – and the barmen and the barwomen! On the last evening David entertained us on Carmen with Peter from (whom we had met in Ypres) to supper. All very splendid and enjoyable.
The next day, when we set off, was a very pleasant day and we literally had the Kanaal Plassendale-Nieuwpoort to ourselves. A kind of one way system operates along here so that the Plassendale lock opens for traffic in alternate directions. So there we were pootling along, when, you guessed it, disaster struck! I was at the wheel, went to look something up on the map, thought Adrian had taken the wheel, but he hadn’t heard me, so no one was actually driving. And Piedaleau is somewhat skittish; likes to head for the bank given half a chance, with or without a following wind! So that’s what she did; but this time she came off worst. Pranged the end of the stern quarter fender, pulling it right out – not completely off – but enough to be really cross about. I was mortified never having done anything so serious in all my boating time – she says touching wood frequently. A stupid and very avoidable mistake but things like this happen so quickly.
Moral of the story, be REALLY sure that the other person has taken over the wheel before you let go. New challenge is to find how and where to get it fixed.
We stopped again at Stalhille for the night and dined at the restaurant there so that I could lick my wounds!
David had developed a problem with one of his loos and so Adrian helped him lift the offending item out of the boat and he proceeded to cruise with a convenience on his front deck!
Then onwards the next day to Bruges where we stayed one night in Flandria and did various bits and pieces. David had a Dutch friend and his 16yr daughter come to visit. Between us we got all the shopping, meal preparation etc done so that we had another very pleasant evening. Interesting to hear about Jan piloting David & Wendy down through Holland. Some good stories.
Next day onwards once more to Deinze which we visited last year and really liked. On our approach to Deinze we saw the stork nests.
On a glorious Belgian Bank Holiday Monday we left David and headed up the ‘wiggly, woggly River Leie’to Ghent. That was fun! Beautiful river but hard work trying to avoid all the little day hire boats, kayaks, chain ferries and smart cruisers along the sides. One hire boat stopped dead in front of us to chat to someone on the bank and then turned right across our bow to join their friend there. How Adrian avoided a collision…… don’t think the other guy spilt much of his beer! But a beautiful cruise, lovely houses and lovely flowers along the way.
So we then came up into Ghent to Portus Ganda where we joined the assembling Dutch Barge Association (DBA) European Rally.