Friday 24 April 2015
Woke up early and did the necessary engine checks with the outside temperature at 4C.
At 09h00 we cast off only to be held up at Schoten Sluis 10 for nearly an hour. What had happened was that as we left Schoten Sluis 9 another cruiser pushed his nose into the lock immediately we had exited thus forcing the lockkeeper to service him before coming back to us. One commercial which had been waiting at Sluis 10 was furious with him when he eventually arrived – just shows, you can’t please everyone all the time.
Then it was on to the big Albert Canal, a huge, working canal with lots of commercial traffic
but after some more sanding and varnishing, we eventually tied up at the upmarket Jachthaven Antwerpen Willemdok in the company of some very smart boats indeed.
|Ian resetting the geyser thermostat cut-out switch.|
The trip in was not without incident however: At the Siberia Brug I was soundly scolded by the lockkeeper for going under the raised bridge before he gave his express permission. Sometimes boating can be quite taxing trying to understand the local customs. At most bridges in Holland, as soon as you can fit through, you give it wellies for fear of admonishment from local waterway users for being tardy . At an earlier bridge we were almost angrily waved through even although the light was red.
At the next bridge (Londonbrug) which has specific opening times we waited in a queue with Njord, a large commercial and a hotel boat, the Rotterdam. When the bridge opened the Rotterdam went through first and then the commercial gestured to Lynn that we should go ahead of them - and to get a move on! I had just taken a shower and arrived of deck to see the stern of the Rotterdam looming above our bow with Elle bouncing around in her wake. Without signalling, Rotterdam hit the bow and stern thrusters to do a sharp left turn into the Willendok where she was to moor up (as if we should have known) and the turbulence from the stern thruster banged us into the bridge wall but the only damage was a dent to the swim platform thanks to good handling by Lynn on the helm.
|Elle versus Rotterdam|
|Lynn's Nemesis moored up.|
I think that, a bit shattered by the experience, Lynn made one of her not-so-good landings – or maybe she had her eye on the bronzed havenmeester who came to escort us to our berth, and was distracted from her pilotage?
The hard work of sanding and varnishing has shown pleasing results.
|The ladder gangplank.|
That evening Frederik arrived with the new Waeco fridge in the boot of his station wagon, stayed for a quick beer and was gone in a jiffy. Baie dankie Frederik, ons waardeer dit haartlik.
Out with the old...
And in with the new!
And that was Schoten to Antwerp!