Legends from our own lunchtimes

Friday, July 08, 2022

Stress!
Thursday 7th July - Oudenburg to Brugge


It all looks so calm and innocuous, but when the cross wind is sufficiently strong that the flag on one’s front flag thingy is a rigid horizontal sheet and directly at right angles to the direction of one’s intended travel to boot, this is generally not a particularly good thing, even if at the time the waterway is relatively wide.  

Our boat doesn’t have much to grip on the water’s surface and it does have quite a bit above it for the wind to get a hold of.  Once, when caught by a rather hefty gust, we clocked ourselves moving at 8km per hour SIDEWAYS.   Mostly like today, these conditions just need a bit more concentration and a bit of luck and it all works out in the end.

Mostly unlike today, we’ve checked the windscreen wiper is working before we set out at the beginning of the season too.  When we’ve done that, when the squalls arrive as they always do just as we are in the narrowest twistiest waterway in the confines of an ancient city with lifting bridges that require moving in close company with ships carrying thousands of tons of cargo, we can see just a little.  Without wanting to overplay the danger, it got so difficult that once or twice, one of us had to put his coffee down and stick his head out the window into the thick of it.

Much earlier this morning when the front came through, we (well, one of us who worries about these things while the other sleeps blissfully unaware) woke for the first time in memory by the change in motion of the boat, which is to say there was some hint of motion in the boat where normally there would be none.  Forty knots of wind briefly whipped the water on the twelve metre wide canal to a frenzied maelstrom with ten centimetre high white caps.   

We thought of nights long ago in another life, spent awake on anchor watch, and others spent dragging a drogue across an angry ocean to steady things down a bit, and giggled ourselves back to sleep.

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2 comments

Clive H said...

A great adventure, plain sailing as the saying goes would be boring!

Don and Cathy Jo said...

And that is why we describe inland barging as “cruising without the constant fear of death.”

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