25th February 2009 – The last couple of days have been mainly spent on planning the further conversion of my ship. Since several things need to be done and each of them needs the other to be finished, I had to think very carefully. Furthermore, I’m keeping the option open of putting back a bow rudder in the ship.
23th February 2009 – Another interview aboard the Watergeus about the new mooring paperwork that is coming closer to us.
22nd February 2009 – We had our official meeting for our houseboat society in Ghent and most people agreed on the fact there is still work to do before we have our new mooring papers.
In the afternoon I walked around in Ghent to admire some of the other houseboats.
21st February 2009 – In the morning we went shopping; looking for a pump, toilet, boiler and the pipes. We did several shops and most of them sell the stuff at the same price. I was expecting a bigger difference, but really there wasn’t.
In the afternoon the corridor was painted the on the front deck a few little holes were welded. While removing a light in the fore peak, I discovered several holes that were closed with some kind of paint. I cleaned it nicely and welded it as it should have been done years ago.
More then three years ago, a young couple bought an old rusty tug, the Wendy Ann II. They nicely restored the ship, repairing the hull, cleaning the ship and building a brand new traditional looking wheelhouse. She was successfully launched today and is floating again!
I have worked on many projects, but what they have realized in three years is just amazing. My deep respect to Becky and Seb!
16th February 2009 – My neighbour wanted the wood from the fore peak for his fire. I believe this was the only (good) solution for the wood. No matter how nice the floor once was, it is rotten and to dangerous to continue to be used. By the end of the evening I had an empty fore peak, ready for conservation and conversion.
15th February 2009 – After the party, I decided to stay with friends. Their barge Helena still has it’s original back accommodation, with mirrors, several types of tropical wood, etc… It had been nicely vanished. When staying there, you suddenly were back in the 30’s.
14th February 2009 – I started having enough of the slow progress on the tank. I cut out a few pieces and used a hammer to bash her out the forepeak. After 4 more hours of work the tank was no more… cut up into several smaller pieces that would fit in a car. I started removing the frames and supports, but had to stop, since a party was starting in Ghent a few hours later.
11th February 2009 – The Government, responsible for our waterways has been working on new mooring rules and paperwork for the last couple of years. There are many good things, things that will become better, but there are as many items listed that will cause a lot of trouble to us. Therefore the television and another journalist came to take an interview aboard my ship. Instead of working, I had to clean the back accommodation and make it a little more presentable…
10th February 2009 – I continued cleaning out the area, and started removing an old water tank that has been leaking for the last five to ten years… A big hole in the side has been made for smoke and pressure to leave the tank. While bashing on the metal, the pipe that connects the outlet on deck and the tank pushed the outlet op, leaving a hole in the deck. It was really getting time that the tank leaves the ship. I believe to be busy another few evenings before she has gone.
9th February 2009 – In the fore peak there will be a small guest room. Now it’s a a storage space, or rather a big pile of useful stuff. I started cleaning it out. It took me around three hours before I could move a feet or two.
7th February 2009 – While in the morning we worked on the bathroom, a friend helped finishing the boxes around the windows. My mother painted the corridor.
Since I learned my lesson last month when all the water pipes were frozen, I do now take some precautions by building two insulated walls and having the pipes in between them. This should prevent them from freezing that quickly. When there will be heating they should remain good.
4th February 2009 – I did some small work on the bathroom, finishing one wall and starting another one. It is the last big room that needs insulation and wood panels to be finished. In a few weeks, I’ll start on the water circuit and toilet / shower so it needs to be finished.
3th February 2009 – The Julie was dry-docked today. Good luck to the new owners and my respect for taking on this job.
1st February 2009 – During the conversion of the Watergeus, the real first project I did by myself, I made a few mistakes in the beginning that could become a problem later. I talked to a few people and they showed me where I made the errors. My floor exists of two levels of wood on top of a wooden frame. Between the two layers, there is insulation. When they are welding, there is enough space between the bottom of the ship and the first layer of wood. Even the wooden frame is high enough. When there would be water in the bilges, I could not be able to reach to it. Therefore I will have to make some inspection holes. My intention was to make two of them, but now I’ve decided to build several ones.
The sides of my interior are around 17cm away from the metal hull. Far enough for in case they need to weld. At the other hand I noticed this week when they were welding some of the insulation started melting a little and smoke appeared. I can look between the hull and the wooden sides, but can’t reach it. Therefore I’m now making side inspection hatches as well. I’ll hope I will never need them, but I like to have them instead of ripping out my interior if something would happen.
Besides making plans for the above adjustments, I cleaned the engine room.