Legends from our own lunchtimes

Monday, August 29, 2022

And then there was one.
Thursday 25th August - Oudenarde to Nieuwport

We didn’t think we were at all concerned by the waterway travel restrictions, but being up and about in time to take a photograph of what looked suspiciously like sunrise seems to indicate that there may have been just the teensiest bit of tension in the air.  

A few hours later when we joined the concerned faces on the pontoon, we were greeted with the news that no commercial ships were expected today, one of the lifting bridges between where we were, and where we wanted to be was broken, and that generally we had a slim chance of being home by Christmas, but we should press on regardless, and that is exactly what we did.

As if to spite us all, having made it all the way without incident, the wind increased from unpleasant to horrible at exactly the time we were trying to dock in the confined space above the lock in Nieuwport.  By now though, our little gang brought together by our experiences (definitely not adversity no matter how tempting it is to paint that picture) we all cheerily rose to the challenge, and settled down to wait jammed in above the lock, with no prospect of movement apparent before the next lunar eclipse.

Eight hours of quiet contemplation later, we were advised that a pair of autonomous “Watertrucks” were due to arrive within the hour.  This was a little concerning because the satellite information had them arriving on the eleventh of November ,and autonomous vehicles with satellite anomalies are not entirely confidence instilling.  Never the less, hasty negotiations followed, as pleasure craft quite rightly are not permitted to share a lock with unmanned vessels.  Some arrangements were made behind the scenes and at the last moment a person arrived to supervise our passage through the lock in company with the two ships.

With an hour till dark and two hours to home, and our Navigation lights tucked in a box in the bilge, we waved farewell to our companions who seemed happy to head off into the twilight and equally happily found a berth for the night.   We hadn’t considered that we were at all tense or stressed about the days adventure, but then, safe in the knowledge that we would be home in the morning, the relief we felt was both curious and palpable.

It might be quite some time before we wake for the next sunrise!


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