Monday, June 12, 2017

Preparing to go

In the coming two weeks although I'm not exactly sure when, Koos and I will be setting off on another adventure. The reason I'm not certain of the departure date is that much will depend on the weather. Our aim is to head north and from there, into Germany. But that will mean crossing the mighty Westerschelde, the tidal estuary that leads from the Channel (or Het Kanaal, or La Manche, depending on who's talking) to the huge harbours of Antwerp. I will admit to being terrified of this prospect and Koos has promised me that we won't do it until it is like a millpond, which could mean waiting a while. 

Terneuzen is under the sattelite icon. We have to
head for Hanweert, a distance of about 25kms

You might well ask why I am terrified. Well, there are several reasons: one is that it is essentially the sea, with waves and currents that inevitably make me sea-sick; the second is that the last time the Hennie Ha did this crossing, the steering broke - I really dread this happening again as you might imagine; the third is that it is a very busy shipping lane and if anything, but anything, happens to Koos, I am neither licensed nor equipped to deal with such an emergency. That said, I have a deal with myself that every year I do something that scares me, so I guess this is it for this year. And it's a biggie. The photos below are of barges and ships that come from the Westerschelde through the locks at Terneuzen on their way to Ghent.

A barge entering the harbour and locks at Terneuzen from
the Westerschelde

The Westerschelde - otherwise known as the sea

Sea-going ship on the Terneuzen-Gent Canal

Tugs needed to guide the ship safely through

I love these tugs!

 I just hope there will be another smally like us doing the same crossing. It would be great to have some company of the same size! After that, we will go through the locks at Hansweert, into the Kanaal door Zuid Beverland and then into the Oosterschelde. This too is a wide water, but it is only semi-tidal as it is protected by the amazing Delta Works project, meaning that it is not a sea lane. The Oosterschelde is actually my favourite place in Zeeland. I love its mud flats, oyster beds and sea birds. It is home to wonderful wildlife and it has a feeling of remote wilderness that appeals to me immensely. We will enter it at Wemeldinge and cross over to the lock next to the name Reimerswaal. We will then follow the canal up between Brabant and Zeeland.

The Oosterschelde

Koos at the end of a jetty on the Oosterschelde

The Zeelandbrug, a five and a half kilometre bridge
over the Oosterschelde

After this will come my nemesis in the form of the Hollandsch Diep (you see where I'm going with this), the third of the wide waters and the one on which the Vereeniging broke down in 2003 and before that, Koos' Luxor was nearly driven into the rocks during my first ever trip with him. After that, I can hopefully breathe a sigh of relief as we'll be back on normal rivers and canals as we head towards Utrecht and the north.

The Hollandsch Diep - we will enter it from the canal
at the bottom left hand corner and leave it at Willemsdorp
As you might imagine, there is a part of me that would much prefer to be going south to France, and indeed, if the weather turns bad, we might do that anyway, but I love the idea of going through Utrecht, a truly beautiful Dutch city, and travelling north to Groningen, which is where the Hennie Ha, a Goningen Snik, comes from. We will then head east into Germany and see what to do then when we get there.

Much of this plan is flexible and who knows, we might end up in France anyway, but that's the beauty of living in this part of the world. The whole of  Europe is just a canal or river away. Whichever way we go, there's still a lot to prepare for and I'll be sure to keep posting! The Hennie Ha will doubtless produce a few more stories for you all!

The Hennie Ha in Belgium last summer
Have a lovely week, allemaal


  1. Some trip eh Val ?
    See if you take ginger while on the sea lanes it lessens the chance of sea sickness and avoid drinking coffee during that period of time, instead drink a herbal infusion - white or red tea rooibos.

    1. Thanks for the advice, Mel! I drink Rooibos daily, so I'll keep that in mind. I didn't know about the Ginger either. Excellent tips :)

    2. I concur with Mel on this one - ginger biscuits, ginger cake or even crystallised ginger are all fabulous for sea sickness xxx

  2. Hi Val - and then you need to do the return journey? I'd be daunted too - but I'm sure Koos will have taken all possible precautions ... so good luck as you move towards decision time and where to go .. lovely photos ... cheers Hilary

    1. I think I can make a case for coming back a different way if necessary, Hilary. I must admit I hadn't thought of that. As for precautions, that's my area. Koos tends to be a bit relaxed about these things!

  3. Think how wonderful you'll feel when you've done it!

    1. Ah, Jo, I think relief will be the strongest emotion! That's if we do it at all :)

  4. You are amazing and amazingly courageous, Val! What a great life experience in store - not to mention more wonderful, marvelous blogs. Can't wait to have a smiling Val back with photos and a sense of "Bravo!" because she did it!

    1. Thanks, Steph. I hope it all works out! Bless you!

  5. Oh, that does sound a bit challenging, but the adventure factor will win out! I can't wait to see photos of the wildlife in the Oosterschelde, and everything else besides. Here's to a safe and happy trip with perfect weather.

  6. It sounds wonderful, Val - even the scary bit! We're in two minds about doing the trip up the Lancaster Canal, which means crossing the estuary of the River Ribble, but share your kind of worries. I look forward to reading about it!

  7. An adventure awaits you! It indeed sounds exciting and although you are a little anxious now, just think how wonderful you will feel afterwards.
    Have a great break.

  8. The planning stage is always exciting. I envy you your gateway to Europe, our gateway inevitably means crossing the Channel or North Sea and these days I would rather do that in a ferry :) xxx


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