Thursday, July 02, 2009

In the trail of the Snail

Today was one of those days that will live long in my memory.

It started off as a disaster and ended as an adventure with new friends. The disaster was that the Hennie Ha could not be craned onto dry land for its much needed repairs. When Koos arrived at the yard this morning, the helling boss started the process of lifting it out of the water and then stopped. His on-board computer told him that our dainty little barge has a weight problem. It tipped the scales at a serious 19 tons, nearly double what we had estimated; the bad news was that their crane has a maximum lifting capacity of 15 tons. Even worse was that it had been towed to Zelzate yesterday because the oil cooler was leaking like a worn out tap and the repair to the steering had lasted about five minutes and then broke again. Now it would have to be towed back again to Sas van Gent as the only chance to get it out of the water again will be up the slipway in October. Our luck really sucks sometimes.

Our good angel-cum-volunteer for the task turned out to be the famous Wandering Snail of my previous post. Annie had picked up my note last week and sent me an email to say they would be in Zelzate visiting friends, and sure enough, there they were in the marina. Koos had already made contact, so when I arrived from Rotterdam, we both went onto their gorgeous narrowboat to meet them. What a charmer it is and what really lovely people they are too. They showed us around..or I should say along, because it really is very narrow... but it is beautifully fitted out by Oll, and exactly in the style that I love with quite a bit of canal boat art as part of the decor. Anyway, to cut a long (and narrow) story short, they offered to tow the Hennie Ha back to Sas van Gent for us, which they did, along with Koos and their two friends. I had to do shore duty as transport driver, photo taker and rope catcher, but I was very glad to be able to take these photos of a somewhat unique sight on the Belgian waterways! It was quite an adventure for the Snail, which looked very proud to be acting as tugboat to the stricken Hennie Ha. I think all concerned were also rather pleased with the neatly executed manoeuvring at the end of the journey (remember the Hennie H has no steering).

Well done and thank you so much Oll, Annie, Rikus and Nelleke. You were all stars. We are so very glad to have met you and are honoured to have been towed by such a waterways celeb ;-)


  1. I absolutely love these 'stories' of real life!

  2. Oh Val! I really didn't mean it when I wrote that "barges are nothing but trouble" on Koos' FB page...
    I should exchange that for "nothing but adventure"!

    Nothing happens without a reason and your experience is proof of that.

    Happy (snail) trails to you...
    Until we meet again...

  3. you life is just one adventure after another Val.
    I am glad this day turned out alright though. You guys seem to have 'good luck' in that it all works out in the end.

  4. It was a pleasure and lots of fun.

  5. Thanks String, real life is sometimes more lively than anything you could dream up, isn't it?

    Dale, bless you, there has been quite a bit of worry and trauma as far as the Hennie H is concerned, but it has also given us lots to remember and , as you say, some great adventures.

    Grace, good luck has two sides doesn't it? Our meeting with the Snail was the best!

    Anne and Olly, simply.... thanks

  6. Disaster turned to good in the end! Much better than the other way around, isn't it?

  7. Haha, yes Maria, it is! Thanks for dropping in dear x


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