Canals, new shoes, boiled linseed

Sunday 28th cont/Monday 29th May

However many times you do it, it's always a bit of a surprise to be locking in to the Netherlands from the sea and to go down in the lock not up.
It just seems fundamentally wrong.
(Howard says I wasn't surprised at all, I was too busy gassing to people on other boats in the lock and almost forgot to ease the lines as we dropped. But if I had been paying attention it would have seemed fundamentally wrong, OK?)

There's a new system for the canal to Middelburg ahead of us which they are calling the Blauwe Golf - the Blue Wave. This means instead of lifting or swinging the bridges on demand, or roughly on demand, there is now a timetable and boats are seen through in a sort of convoy 6 times a day (at this time of the season): for those who may need to refer.

As we locked in at Flushing on Sunday afternoon we were borderline for making the 16.40 "wave". Any more shilly-shallying around at the front of the lock by a little yacht called "Breezy" (name them and shame them I say) and we'd have missed it and had to hang around for 2 hours, but luckily they pootled out of the way and there were enough yachts already waiting up ahead to slow things down a bit at the bridge (including speedy Morgaine we notice). We joined the convoy and motored straight on through.

Bridge is lifted for the departure of the 16.40 from Keersluisbrug to Middelburg - wide double-ender ahead is Cum Annexis and the tall wooden mast against the trees beyond is Morgaine

Our gaffer chums either carried on up the Scheldt estuary, or locked in and then pulled in at Flushing for the night, or motored onwards after Middelburg with homes to go to. We had a specific shopping mission which entailed a stop at Middelburg - well, that's our excuse.

So we tied up on the visitor pontoon for the night. The pontoons are supposed to be for short term shopping trips (max 2 hours) but they seem to make exceptions in the evening and for large boats that don't look as if they'll turn very well in the narrower spaces beyond the little lifting bridges.

Visitor pontoon in Middelburg

Nice dinner in the clubhouse - it's run as a restaurant now and having thrown away hundreds of old club burgees when they started they seem to be trying to build up a new collection now.

Monday 29th May

We have to fly to Finland tomorrow so there's some important shopping to do: Howard must have proper work shoes with steel toe caps. Improbably we find them in a sports shop.

And while he's at it - the last pair of Crocs is Howard's size and is offered at only 6 euros - result!

Shopping done, we cast off and motor to our secret little harbour - I don't think the photo of the approach canal will give away any vital clues to its whereabouts:

Not really Bonify's natural environment - we've even got the sail cover on

Once safely tied up, there's a job we thought we could get done here which will be all the better for not having us on board tramping on the deck for a while - oiling the deck. It's a fairly revolting concoction of boiled linseed oil, turps and wood preserver but the deck seems to like it.

Nice job in the sunshine

We could drown our sorrows at having to put our holiday on hold but luckily there are no bars here to tempt us astray - so we have an early night before a long journey north to Scandinavia tomorrow.

We'll be back!


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