Here and on our website ’t Majeur we tell about our live aboard and the adventures to be as we barge trough Europe.

For a Barge holidays for a few days on board see the web site

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Friday, 30 July 2010

An article in the paper!

Today we received the email newsletter of the Schuttevaer, a paper for proffesional skippers. In this edition the article written about us is published. Coming week the magazine is for sale in stores and via this link you can see the internet version (looks good altough in Dutch).

We are now in Deventer, see google maps. We made a nice trip along the Twente Kanalen. Slept one night on the quay for commercials between the big boys, they keep going trough the night, it draws on the lines.
We passed the lock at Eefde, over 6 meters down, that lasts long in the pouring rain and then we turned on to the IJssel. We had already heard from many people that the IJssel is so beautiful and so far we are not disappointed, the rain stopped the sun was shining and the scenery left and right is wonderful. It was our first time on flowing water and it is fascinating, after all those channels so far, going so fast with the engine so low, it will be disappointing when we are going the other way.
 We anchored last night that was also the first time. We had the back spud pole down but it was unsure whether it would hold the grip. Everything went well, Michel made an anchor alarm: a string attached to a bottle that would fall when we were scratching, but we have not heard a thing. We are in a gravelpit and on the side is approx 3m deep, it's actually too steep for the poles.We had freinds over for a few days and Michel and William howled up the entire anchor chain, measured and marked it and the checked the entire installaton.
We think we stay here a few days and then go up the IJssel towards the Maas

Friday, 23 July 2010

Around in Twente

Today we finally left Meppel, one of the best berths so far that is why we stayed there about a week.
We have changed our plans and are now going through the Hoogeveense Vaart and Stieltjeskanaal making a tour through Twente, a part of the Netherlands that for both of us is unknown.

Once we are in Zutphen we first go down the IJssel to Deventer and than back down in the direction of the Maas.

Our time in Meppel was well used, the console around the steering wheel is finished and painted, the cabinet below the starboard window is almost off and painted. That makes the wheelhouse now fully operational which suits us because the next week we have friends and family coming along so nothing will come of jobs and the pilothouse is a great place to be. At the Paradise lock we lay opposite 3 former lime kilns now commissioning a restaurant and at night it is beautifully illuminated.
On one of the three towers is a stork's nest and it is used by a stork couple.
During the day I've never seen them but every night at dusk they came simultaneously or in rapid succession on the nest, and then got some time to rattle, talking about the past day and discussing what happened in the office and stuff like that, and then go to sleep.A toutching sight and hearing, especially because they were so faithfully there every night.

Sunday, 18 July 2010


We are since Thursday afternoon just south of the Paradise lock near Meppel.  For the name alone you want to stay here, it is also a lovely, idyllic spot with just enough shade and sun and a lake for Panache to swim, very quiet and green, each day we decide to stay another day.

 Michel has finished the works on the console around the steering wheel, a very difficult and complicated corner where many wires had to be stored. I can now get to paint it, I start tomorrow morning so we'll stay here another day.

The garden is wonderful, it is  good growing weather, alternating rain and sun. At the very worst storms we covered it for security to prevent crop damage. All 16 boxes now display multiple green dots in different heights. I wonder when I can start harvesting.

We have been trying for some time to think of a good solution for mosquito prevention in the portholes. The mosquitoes are not so bad but there are a lot of leaves etc coming through the open windows. We designed and tried multiple complex structures and made prototypes but nothing was really as desired.
Suddenly we knew what it was last night and, as so often with these things, in the end this is the very simplest way, we had all we needed in the house and in one afternoon it was finished.

Adhesive Velcro exactly on the edge and gauze sticked loosely over it so the porthole can still close.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Travelling again

It has been almost one month since the last blog, time flies when having fun! We were on our way to Groningen when I put the last post.
Except the first few days in town we were all the time at the quay with Willem de Vries. Last Friday we left with one last look at the Martini tower.
On the map above you can see our scheduled (because no guarantee that we actually do so) route to Zwolle, where we want to be June 18.

The period at the quay Du Bois, we spent useful. Partly by doing work ourself, partly by being there when Willem and his associates worked and partly because we spend time in Amsterdam while the ship was left at a safe place.

In the period that we were in Friesland an accident happened to a ship that regularly pasted us by.On of the spudpoles fell down, while travelling, because the cable broke, with the result of a ruptured pipe. Later we heard more of stories like this.

It scared us enough to take measures and now both the front and rear spudpole have a locking pin we put in when the pile is high (we have to take out before lowering the poles, something we both have already forgotten, at least once).At the back pole a provision is made that secures the cable over the pulley, so we avoid trouble as previously described (May 27).

The leakage in our bedroom is resolved, it was caused by a leaky weld, the steering has been improved and the upper bearing of the rudder stock renewed, a major task.

The weather was very hot and therefore it was difficult to paint. Never the less  I was, early morning and late at night, able to do some so, save the building around the anchor windlass, everything now has its final colour (bollards and upper round at the back are black, the very front upper structure is now red and the decks are gray). We also have windows in the windscreen on the butt, so we have a back view when steering inside.

For the sharp viewers some of it is to be seen on this picture (taken at the North Willemskanaal).

While in Amsterdam we moved our last things from the apartment, Steven now shares the it with a friend and we have no longer a house on shore. It is for a period of one year and than we again. This summer we sail, next winter we are in Haarlem which is close enough to Amsterdam.

We also picked up the painting from 't Majeur, made for us by our friend Henk van Loon. It is beautiful and who wants to see it has to come and look for a picture of it does not reflect what it is.

Henk stayed with us for a day and sat on the shore painting, the result of that day gave us an idea of the design, once at home he finished it.
It was a surprise to us how beautiful it has become.
We know the style of Henk and like it very much, see his website, but a picture of something so personal has an extra dimension.

Before we left Groningen, I have made a vegetable garden on the deck.
We are now known as the flower boat because there are many flowering plants on deck, not usual on such a ship but fun. When we sold home and garden in Naarden I found it a relief that I no longer  had to work so hard to keep the garden nice. Yet now, after a while I miss being involved with soil, seeds and plants but now I have the solution.

Small, user friendly with a maximum yield, that we can eat all yourself without having to throw away. Lettuce, radishes, herbs, broccoli and more. Sixteen different species in a square foot garden, planted last week and already everything is coming up, I'll keep you posted.

So now I am every evening on the deck, happily watering my garden and flowers and am very satisfied.

From Groningen, we went by the North Willemskanaal, a route that is not inferior to beautiful canals in France. Not for the first time in recent months that we had noted that our own country has such beautiful places. We stayed two days, near the A28, from our place you could see it but it was barely audible and it seemed like we were in another world than that of the motorway 50 meters above us.

When we moored on this site Michel dropped a set of keys in the water between shore and ship.
He dregged with a basket on a stick, but had no luck. Fortunately there was a curious bypasser and he went home to fetch a strong magnet. After a long while angling Michel, who has more patience than me for this kind of thing, pulled up the keys. As you can guess one of our first purchase is to be a strong magnet (if the horse has bolted .....)

Since I started this blog our route has changed indeed en now we are in Diever. Where we wanted to turn right, to go along al least part of the Turfroute, the bridge keeper told us it was not possible.
We planned the route with maps and PC Navigo and figured we were not to big and if we lowered the sunroof could pass under the 3.7m bridge. We were half way through the bridge, turning right in a small canal trough a small bridge, not an easy manoeuvre, as I said to the man that maybe we would be back in two days. He told me than that we had no possibility to turn, once we were through the bridge. Michel and I decided there and than that we would go all the way to Heerenveen and moved a bit further on in the bridge. At that moment the man said that it would also be impossible to continue because last winter they had bild a new lifting bridge near Oosterwolde and made a mistake so it doesn't come up higher than 3m and we can't come lower than 3.1m. No map shows this bridge an PC Navigo doesn't know.
So, while there was a whole fleet of little boats waiting to pas the bridge, cars waiting to cross the bridge, we had to back out the way we came in, an even more nasty manoeuvre. If I had not talked to the man he would not have said a thing and we would have had to go backwards all the way from Oosterwolde.
Here we are now, in a straight line south from Assen to Meppel.

So far our story, now we are back en route we have more to tell and I will blog more regular.