Well here we go, after a winter moored up in Flandria, and then most of the summer in the same situation as a result of the pandemic that dare not speak it’s name, we are actually going out for a couple of weeks cruise around north Belgium, principally before we forget what to do !
Our friends Cath and Alan on their Piper barge, Plan B, are also moored in at Flandria, having sailed across the channel on her a few weeks ago. Alan enjoys fishing and telling a tale so we have lots in common, Cath loves a gin and tonic so has everything in common with Nicola! So, it seemed a sensible move to work out a route together for our late summer cruise. Hopefully over a couple of week we will visit Ypres (and pay our respects at Menin Gate), visit a few bars and bistros and have a decent look at some Belgian canals and villages.
We pulled out of the marina in a break in the weather which soon closed in again with the rain bouncing off the water as we headed to our first overnight stop at nearby Moerbrugge. As we were paying up to €20 to fill up our fresh water tank in the marina, Alan and I had been looking at alternatives. Our preferred option was to travel under 1 bridge and for about 5 miles to the afore mentioned Moerbrugge. Here there is free potable water, generally used by the huge freighters that plied their trade in these parts, but freely available to us pleasure bargees. We duly topped up our water just before being joined by a 85m long, 1850 tonne behemoth.
Speaking to the skipper, he was planning to leave just after 9am the following day so we decided to follow him the the lift bridges on the canal around Bruges, this is good etiquette really as when the bridges lift they cut off major routes into the city centre, so if we go through the at the same time as a commercial it helps everyone. So the plan for tomorrow is a couple of hours cruising to Jabbeke – let’s see how to works out.
We gave Alfie a walk around a nature reserve right next to our mooring and then to the small village close by. Here we found a spectacular memorial, made from the parts of a destroyed WW2 tank, to the fallen of the Canadian Armed forces who lost their lives here in September 1944 in the Battle of Moerbrugge.
Tomorrow it’s off the Jabbeke, see you there!