Big rivers and big boats

I really can’t be more blunt about this part of our journey. The Meuse in the Netherlands becomes the Maas, and of course as with any rivers, it becomes wider as it meanders to the sea. It is also a busy commercial route with 2 very deep locks. A lot of people asked about the traffic on the channel, but that was a walk in the park compared to the barge traffic on the rivers.

In one lock, we were called in as the second boat, wedged between 2 110 meter barges. As in all locks, once the lines are secured, it is important to control the movement of the boat as the water is let out or in as the case maybe. The next challenge is to hold the boat secure and not to be thrown around, as the boat in front motors off. As the big commercials throw out a lot of wash this can sometimes be quite a task.

Philip Island in front of us
The barge behind us

And Karen still has to smile for the camera!

But big rivers and boats aside, back to a commentary on our visits along the river Maas and Waal.

We had a lovely 4 days in Maastricht moored in the historic harbour (the Bassin), close to the city centre. Wednesday and Friday were market days, and the best thing in the market, the cooked fish stands!

Our new bikes also got a bit of a work out, as we travelled further afield than the historic centre. Not that the suburbs were exciting, but we did find a watchmaker to fix my broken watch, at a very Christian price, €0!

The next European heat wave was starting to kick in as we headed from Maastricht to Maasbrecht. Fortunately all the marinas along the river are equiped with power, so once moored up, we kept cool in air conditioned comfort.

The 2 day stop in Maasbrecht was to accomodate a visit to Linnson boat builders, which only confirmed that we preferred our Piper boat, not only for the cost, but also the detailed fit out and finish.

From the Maas we turned onto the Waal, which is the Rhine in the Netherlands and travels to Rotterdam. We motored upstream a few kms to the port of Nijmegen. Even at this time of the year, with a reported drought, the river was flowing at 2.5 to 3 knots, that slowed our uphill passage quite considerably. Just as well it was only a few kms! Nijmegen sits on a bend in the river, so the commercial barges were indicting to pass on the starboard side, instead of port. Quite a challenging traffic situation.

The interesting town of Nijmegen is the oldest town in the Netherlands, being settled by the romans and boasts the ruins of a castle built by Charlemagne. It was also the home of the medieval painters, the Limbourg brothers, who produced 2 book of hours, and are considered to be the fathers of Flemish art.

Spotted our first windmill
Black swans, where did they come from?
Barge traffic

And if you asked what Peter did on his birthday, it was navigating from the Maas to the Waal, dodging the commercial barges and battling a strong current.

Happy birthday Peter

The port in Nijmegen

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