Wambrechies to Zelzate
We arrived back in Wambrechies in the middle of the afternoon (18th Sept) and tied up in our ‘usual’ spot. After a beer at the bar we slept very well & enjoyed croissants on the upper deck in glorious sunshine for breakfast the next day. The guy in the architect’s office opposite later commented that he’d seen us on deck that morning and wanted to come over for coffee – but we hadn’t met him then!
We spent most of the next 2 days dismantling the woodwork in the back cabin & hunting for the leak! Joys! We even had an endoscopic camera delivered to help with the process.
Friday evening we arranged to meet Brigitte for a drink at the bar. With Brigitte its always an occasion. She seems to know most of Wambrechies – particularly as she has just retired from teaching and so knows some from when they were in her class. Similarly everyone seems to know Brigitte and come over to say hello ……
On this particular occasion a guy called Jean-Luc was with Brigitte. He’s an artist and he sketched Virginie whilst we were all sitting outside. Impressive!
On Sat 21st (after more dismantling of woodwork) we set off again heading back to Zelzate to complete some more stuff on the boat and, hopefully, the leak.
We stopped at a place called Commines – lovely new pontoon – but a slightly strange place. One side of the bridge is in Belgium and the other is in France. Never seen so many tobacco shops – all on the Belgian side because the duty is significantly less! Apparently (so Brigitte reliably informed us) many french people stock up with fags in Belgium.
Next day we headed to the first lock ready for it to open at 10am (Sunday hours) and were first through along with a commercial. We kept going all day and stayed overnight at Schipdonk lock so that we were ready to head for Zelzate on Monday 23rd Sept.
We got through Evergem lock with 3 commercials and headed down the huge waterway to Zelzate. Saw a peniche loading a car into its hold …….
Not my favourite stretch of water but all went well – bridge opening for the H U G E ships
That is until the maritime police came alongside and boarded us! Just a check of papers by a really nice young female copper but an interesting event ………. She sat at the table on the top deck, whilst her colleague pootled along beside Piedaleau. She was happy with our papers, wished us a safe journey and went off on the police speed boat!
Stuart asked me what we did to ‘look dodge’? I was at the helm when they approached so it must have been me dark glasses and hat that made me look as if I was going incognito!