The first big ecluse after Douai heading west had rising bollards at plaisancier distances - heaven we thought, but the next one only had one working and the next none working. Big double chamber ecluses but still not having to share.
This commercial pulled out behind us and started to overtake us as another commercial came the other way - it was between two bridges and with a rocky side so nowhere to go - barely metres to spare, not sure being in the right would have compensated for going under his props!
We found a nice mooring in the old canal bypass at La Bassee - heaven after the mainline - but must be autumn as lots of misty mornings so late starts. Near Arques the surface weed starting building up and up which caused a lot of filter cleaning (at the worst moments).
|Fontinettes ecluse - about 13m which surprised us|
|Fontinettes Boat Lift (a copy of the UK Anderton lift)|
|Barges, first hauled by people, then horses, then diesel locomotive|
|Canal de Bourbourg|
|Weed and more weed.|
|Last French ecluse with river running at right angles under the ecluse|
Angie wouldn't let Peter stop at the first Belgian canalside Frituur (mental cruelty) but despite pushing on we still got stuck on the outskirts of Veurne by a liftbridge (the Belgian sluiskeepers had knocked off for the weekend - at 5pm) so we tied up to some wooden railings and settled in to wait until the Monday.
Half an hour out of Veurne on the Lokanaal our power control cable failed - no phone coverage to organise a replacement so we overnighted on a village quay - where the village bar had closed since our last visit 4 years ago - sob!!
The next day we limped into Diksmuide using a combination of a piece of string on the straight bits and Peter in the engine room, manually operating the throttle, on the tricky bits (like Fintele sluis).
|Back in windmill country|
|Fintele sluis - sloping sides and a wooden windlass|
|Coming into Diksmuide (the boat in the middle) courtesy of Johanna|
|Flemish War Memorial - Diksmuide|
|Plassendale sluis - the widest sluis basin we have seen (though rarely used/needed)|
|Gent - Oostende canal|
|Jabbeke lift bridge - interesting design|
|Oostende Marthon - we enjoyed the jazz band next to the pontoon serenading them.|
|The annual bath|
It was a good run in to Brugge, had to dodge a few commercials at lift bridges but we weren't held up anywhere even at the final 'round' town sluis. Angie reversed to the end of the Coupure mooring without difficulty (Peter claims it is down to his training, Angie claims it s despite it)? Aidy and Lorna (fellow Kiwis) on 'Ariana' had preceded us and were still mooring up.
|End of the line|
|Peter's target -not the horse but the Frituur at the back.|