Wet passage to Oude Tonge

Thursday 15th June

Bergen op Zoom to Oude Tonge - 27nm

The Osterschelde might be hemmed in by dams now but it's still a sea. It's tidal and very deep in places (we see a reading of 37m at one point). Wind over tide kicks up the waves just as on the sea. (For anyone who hasn't experienced this delight it is wind blowing one way and the tide running the other. Recipe for a choppy sea and lots of water on deck).

First we have to cross back over the Scheldt-Rhine canal with its busy traffic of laden barges.

Look right, look left:

Look right: These barges are heading north towards the Rhine but we can't go this way as there are fixed bridges with only 9.5m clearance and our air draft is over 15m.

Look left: barges heading towards the River Schedlt and Antwerp

We choose our moment and motor full speed across the canal and pass through the Bergsediepsluis into the Osterschelde. This is where it starts to get splashy. We motor west into a head wind that might be 20 knots with the tide under us. For the best part of 3 hours the decks get a good soaking which reveals a few little leaks - in particular both forward corners of the cabin top. At least we know where to position towels next time.

Once we turn the corner at 2pm to head north it is calmer and with the wind on the beam we are able to sail for a couple of hours. We negotiate the Krammersluis (lock) and soon enter a different world. We motor slowly up the entrance channel to Oude Tonge surrounded by families of birds. Coots, ducks, geese and swans all in little family groups. The only babies I didn't see were the grebes but Howard says those chicks were sky and all ducked at our approach.

Oude Tonge approach channel

Hang about: whatever happened to ugly ducklings? Cygnets in the UK are not this colour.....

Great berth: it doesn't look like the town centre.....

...but this is the view from the foredeck. Hollandse Nieuwe available from that fish van in the square (raw herring - mmmm).
I rather like the look of that steel yacht opposite - better start putting up my "Bonify for Sale" notices


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