Legends from our own lunchtimes

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Wednesday 24th August - Brugge to Oudenburg

Our plan, if that’s what it could be called, was to tackle our journey back to Diksmuide one lock at a time, waiting as necessary for that one commercial ship that was our ticket to use each lock.  Given that we have a few weeks up our sleeve before we need to leave the boat, and three locks to go, time, we thought, was on our side.

The concerned faces on the Harbour Master and the crews of the other boats in the port heading in our direction told a different story however.   Meetings were being held among the Authorities, and there was a concern that Monday could bring a new round of measures which MAY make our return through the last lock (in Nieuwport) impossible.  Therefore, they had decided to beat a hasty retreat and we decided to join them.

There was a ship on the way apparently.  Our passage through the lock in Bruges was assured, and we’d been asked to wait in the lock to save a bit of time after it’s arrival, so the five of us entered the lock and huddled together in the far corner to await its arrival.  With all eyes scanning our “Vessel Finder” apps, when the approaching ship stopped for the day a dozen or so kilometres away, the collective gasp from within the lock could possibly have been heard on the moon.    

For the first time within living memory, there was not a ship to be found within a day’s travel of Bruges.  In the absence of options we settled in for a day of quiet contemplation.

Three hours later a ship appeared from nowhere.  Without notice, the lock began to drain, which caused something of a scramble, and even a little panic for those who had been happily sitting on the park benches waiting but it all worked out in the end as these things have a habit of doing and our little flotilla was on its merry way. 

The Plassendale lock our next obstacle, was open at both ends so presented no problem.  We arrived in Oudenburg in a state which was just a little short of euphoric.  With just one hurdle left to jump, our little group, now brothers in adventure, spent the night in quiet celebration of what would in other circumstances have been a very pleasant, but unremarkable day. 


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