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12th June 2008 - Next trip

Are all booked and ready to leave as usual on the 6 pm ferry tomorrow night, the first of numerous alternate weekend trips between now and September. Sadly the forecast is not looking too great, but do we care? Well, yes, actually - but we'll no doubt have a good time whatever. Are thinking of going up to Middelburg but that might well change. Report (and no doubt a video clip) to follow early next week.


14th June 2008 - Live Report From Middelburg

Amazingly it is 8.30 pm on Saturday and we are moored up between piles in a lovely, peaceful little spot. After a few thundery showers this morning, it has turned into a beautiful day/evening.

Middelburg is a beautiful place to visit lots of 17th century houses along the many quaysides. Sort of Goes does Zierikzee with a touch of Veere.

There are miles of these quaysides and numerous opening bridges with some old but still fully functional "Victorian" ironmongery:

We had a great sail to get here, with lots of short tacking (sorry Kim), some deft lock work and close-quarters boat handling (nothing phases Wendy now - not even a 40+ foot racing boat full of Belgian men getting in her way just as she wants to turn between the piles!). Roll on tomorrow for part 2!


16th JUne 2008 - A Tiring Weekend

Another short and frantic weekend break. This one was particularly tiring Friday night, after both Wendy & Kim had had busy weeks, with Wendy only finishing work half an hour before departure and little time to prepare properly.

We set off on Saturday for Middelburg via Veere and the Walcheren Kanal, without having been shopping and thus not properly victualled. Lunch was the sandwiches bought for the ferry crossing, but not eaten and the plan was to go out for a meal Saturday night in Middelburg. After walking around Middelburg, which was very pleasant, we discovered there was no suitable restaurant near to the mooring that had any space, so it was back to the boat for Fray Bentos, tinned veg & Smash (again!).

After some heavy rain overnight, Sunday dawned rather cloudy, but soon cleared up into a bright sunny day. We had noticed on arrival yesterday at the Havenmeester's office, that there was a holding tank pump out facility, easily accessible so decided to try pumping out. After moooring up, we then found it didn't work, so the mysteries of pumping out the holding tank remain.

We then had a very pleasant trip back up the Walcheren Kanal to Veere Sluis.

The lock , however was not such a pleasant experience. We were first in and went for our customary "port side to". The lock at Veere has an offset bay to port and we were right up the front staring at a brick wall on the nose. We decided, when exiting, to let everyone else out first - there were a lot of boats packed into the lock. We then motored back a bit to give us enough room to make a dogleg turn to line up with the exit gates. However, we didn't reverse back enough which, together with the wind, made the turn all too tight and some frantic use of fenders was required as we bounced our way through the lock gates. Going through on Saturday, we had been on the other side of the lock which is not offset. Anyway the lesson for Veere lock is to let at least 4 boats in first and then raft up to someone.

The trip back home was mostly with the wind abaft the beam so we got lazy and just used the genoa. Even so we still got speeds up to 4.8 knots. The weather remained warm and sunny, except for when the sun dissappeared behind a cloud, Kim still managed to get a bit burnt and all the usual suspects were present.

Got back to the marina at about 2.30pm, went down to the campsite shop to get some rolls, ham & cheese for lunch, had lunch, packed up and were away by 3.50pm - a bit later than we would have preferred, but still arrived in Dunkerque with time to spare.

Norfolk Line have recently introduced a table service restaurant that is not really any more expensive than the cafeteria, so we tried that and had a very nice meal which made the crossing so much more pleasant than it usually is.

Finally back home by 9.30pm - knackered !

As a result of this weekend, we are begining to think that, out Friday night and back Sunday night is a bit much at "our age" and perhaps we should use some holiday so we can have long weekends. That way we could go out in the morning which would be a lot more relaxing.

The next trip is in a fortnight's time with Maggie, James & Zach. That will be a real short taster for them as we are going out Saturday morning on the shuttle and back Sunday evening. Let's hope for some good weather so that little Zach can get off and have a run round while we cook his favourite sausages on the BBQ!


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