Got our licence - yippee!
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It is another sunny morning, which is lovely. We wonder how much longer this will last. After breakfast John went into Gent to see if he could get our licence. We find it strange that the Belgian authorities are hot on the use of red diesel, but not the licensing, at least not in the Flanders region. When we crossed the border into Wallone area they checked our paperwork and issued us with a number for free. Isi keeps thinking if we get as far as Zeebrugge without one, they might fine us, but on the other hand we could easily get away with it. It is our conscience that is not letting us. Isi meanwhile did the usual tidy and clean up. It is amazing how much debris we have on our decks from the horse chestnut trees that we are moored under. It is the old blossom that has fallen off together with a few leaves. So far we have managed to avoid any entanglements with trees this year
Hooray!! We have a licence which cost €25 for 6 months (1st Jan – 30th Jun) which is the minimum they do.
We had to stick it on our stern on the port side and so we decided to see if we could get the dinghy on our roof and see how it fits. Last time we did it we put it the front which covered our hatch and it is not a good idea with this heat as we need all the air inside we can get. It was easier that we thought and so far, both our backs have survived. It fits across ways and it is restricting our view for steering a little, but not too much as we normally stand up if we need to concentrate on a situation.
We cast off at 11.45 from Gent along the river Lys which is pretty considering it is in the leads to the town centre and then we joined the Gent Ringvart canal which is extremely wide and their equivalent to a ring road/motorway. What a contrast to yesterday with big barges again and nothing spectacular with the countryside
We saw 2 working barges on this canal being loaded in different ways, within a mile of each other 1 being chute fed and the other being a grab bucket (see pictures).
We had been told this morning that there are no free moorings in Belgium so we made for Beernem which is half way along the Gent Ostend canal. When we arrived, we tied up on a pontoon and John went and found the harbourmaster. He came back to the boat and said we can stay where we are or move to a pontoon for €12 but told us of 2 free moorings seeing as we didn't need electric or water. That was really nice of him.
We cast off again and made our way to the disused lock where there was a wall he said we could moor on immediately after it. Our hearts sank as we saw 2 barges there, but then we realised we could get in too as there was a ring and a tree for us to tie up to
We could have carried on to Bruge but we were finding the canal a bit boring today, except when John decided to have a nap, Isi had a barge overtaking and 3 small boats coming towards us which were overtaking a moored barge. John woke up with the change of the engine pitch, so he didn’t miss the excitement. The other bit of excitement was when we arrived at the lock where we were going to moor, we thought we could see the other side and all clear, but just as we lined up, we saw a big barge lining up on the other side, so we did a quick about turn and let them go through.
After dinner, we had a game of Rummikub and John did some passage planning whilst Isi typed up our social diary.