I left the last story with Joie de Vivre moored up in a marina at Zelzate. What was planned to be a 2 day sojourn ended up 8 days while we waited for the part for the hydraulic steering to be delivered. In desperation we caught the bus and train back to Brugge to pick up the part which had been sent there in error
The trip to Brugge was in itself a truely terrifying experience. As I boarded the bus I was comforted on seeing a sign designating the seating plan. With social distancing the bus could safely accomodate 9 people. Well that’s okay. And of course everyone was required to wear a mask. We commenced the journey with 5 hearty souls. First stop another 3 stepped on board, next stop 4 then to my horror next stop 6! This pattern continued for the next hour with no policing of the number of people on the bus. Standing room only and jammed in like sardines.Then of course the mask rule was slack, with masks worn on chins, one guy even had it on his arm. The train was a welcome relief, with first class tickets purchased and only 4 in the compartment.
So other than risking life and limb on the corona express, what other delights did Zelzate offer?
No Twinset here, but I was able to purchase Covid self testing. A great idea, especially after running the gauntlet on our trip to Brugge
As the marina was just off the canal we passed the time ship watching.
A large supermarket similar to Costco offered a great selection of french wines to stock up the cellar
Pre dinner drinks on the back deck
No it’s not a restaurant but dinner at Chez Joie de Vivre
Our next drama was some information obtained from some local boat owners. Apparently the harbour had been infected by a steel eating bacteria after an explosion in February at a nearby factory. We were advised to leave the marina as soon as we could. Thankfully the hydraulic steering had been fixed so we scuttled north up the canal to the port city of Terneuzen
Through the lock and onto Terneuzen on the West Schelde
The West Schelde is in the province of Zeeland and is the only estuary of the Schelde offering direct access to the sea. It is an important shipping route to the port of Antwerp and Belgium. Our mission, planned for the following day, was to cross the West Schelde to the seaport of Vlissingen.
The harbour at Terneuzen was an arms length from the shipping channel, which made for a very rocky night onboard.
We also had a visit from the local police to check our passports and our vaccination certificates. This was the first time since we arrived in Europe that we had been asked to provide any information.
With the wind at 5 to 7 knots we were off across the estuary in the morning for our 22km journey. Luckily we were running with an ebbing tide, that quicken the pace. And I do mean luckily as we didn’t consult the tide table before leaving or notify the port authorities!
Our track across the West Schelde
In through the sea lock to the port of Vlissingen
Vlissingen is historically known in English as Flushing, and is the third most important port in the Netherlands. Because of its strategic position over the centuries it has been marked by invasion, oppression and bombardment. Today it is a popular tourist destination for the boating fraternity and marks the entrance of the Walcheren canal.
The port is also home to Amels the famous Dutch boat builder who specialise in building luxury yachats. This is one of their newest offerings.
One night in Vlissingen, then we were up the canal to Middleburg. But that’s a story for another day