|Early days in the Oude Haven|
But it was in fact great good fortune that we arrived at all given the fragile state of the axle. What we didn't know and never checked was that it was completely rotten and water was seeping steadily through the flange into the engine room. During that journey, we were unwittingly in constant danger (no exaggeration) of having the whole propellor drop off and the barge flooded, but luckily we had no clue. We'd have been in despair if we had.
We only found out how bad it was and how much water was coming in when the Vereeniging was on the slipway. That was also when the inspector turned my lovely boat into a colander (again, no exaggeration) by bashing holes in the bottom, which he did with uncomfortable ease because the old iron was perilously thin. I went cold thinking what could have happened if we'd hit anything hard or sharp on the way. I still do. I mean you would, wouldn't you?
So it's made me think how often we've been spared by not knowing that something was seriously wrong. Well, maybe not spared as such - it's always resulted in some kind of heavy cost - but at least blissfully ignorant.
For instance, even before this frightener, we'd done a long trip to Lille on Koos's barge before finding out his gearbox was on its last legs. You wouldn't credit it, but we managed to cross all the major stretches of water between Rotterdam and Antwerp, and travel down the Belgium river and canal system into France. I'd left him at Lille but his son was with him when it finally packed up. As chance would have it, his guardian angel had prompted him to have another gearbox on board so he and his son changed it while moored up along the canal side. But weren't we lucky it didn't decide to expire while crossing the wide waters with no handy spots to tie up? And how glad I am we didn't know at the time!
|Koos's Luxor, which he sold three years ago|
However, being in the mouth of the canal and close to the locks, he was able to get help and a tow to Sas van Gent, but it thoroughly unnerved him. Come to think of it, maybe this time it would have been better if we'd known about the problem. We'd never have set off from Rotterdam in the first place - not until it had been repaired in any event. I only have to see the Westerschelde to shudder at the risk he took.
|The Hennie H. Ready to go? We hope so!|
As things turned out, the Henni H has taken a few years to get right, and it's only now we are even thinking of taking another real trip in her. Next year is when we hope it will be.
And the destination?
I think I'll keep you all guessing for now. Have a good Sunday everyone!