Month: August 2019

Tordino – Picking up a model, books and a decoration of a rudder

31st August 2019 – I drove to Leidendorp to have a good chat with an old skipper. He was selling a model of a ship similar to Tordino and promised me to make another one next year.

In the afternoon I drove to Sluiskil were some friends had their ship. It was a nice afternoon. They had collected some stuff for me in the last couple of years. It was time to meet them again.

On the way home I stopped at some old friends, but nobody was home.

Tordino – Open Monumentendag coming closer

28th August 2019 – Open Monumentendag is coming closer. The Library is still filled up with books and computers for the event. Most of it is now sorted out.

I made some more space at the front of the ship, where a part of the archives are stored. Two weeks ago I bought some archive cupboards for and temporary put them in the back accommodation. I will move them over the weekend.

Sailing to Southampton – Day 3

23rd August 2019 – The night journey went nicely. Around Zeebruges and Ostend we had some big waves, but the ship handled it well.  When we started the crossing to Dover, daylight came and we had a good trip. Not much traffic around us until we arrived near Dover. There were so many ships we had to alter course on several occasions

The next bit was from Dover to Brighton where we sailed near the coast. Since we were over 24 meters we had to follow the big ships in the shipping lane instead of the Inland Traffic Zone. They called us on the radio, so we changed course.  At that point, we had another 15 hours ahead. Becoming tired and hungry, it was a hard bit to full fill.

Sailing to Southampton – Day 2

22nd  August 2019 – The day started in the Police station in Ostend. We delivered the papers and had to wait for another check aboard the ship before they could release us.  Not all paperwork was good, but we were allowed to leave the harbour. It took over an hour to get the second bridge working. On arrival in Bruges, Scheepsdalebrug only opened at 14 o’clock. We lost several hours before arriving at the lock in Evergem around 19 o’clock. Smoke came out of the engine room, so we reduced some speed.

At 21:30 we arrived in Terneuzen, heading for Breskens and then to Dunkirk.

Sailing to Southampton – Day 1

21st August 2019 – We left in Bruges at 6 o’clock in the morning.  Everything went well until we arrived at the lock in Ostend. They didn’t turn the lock and about fifteen minutes later, shipping police arrived to do a check up. The lock keeper didn’t believe we were seaworthy.

The paperwork of the ship was not aboard, so we got detained and had to stay in Ostend. We had no paperwork for the inland waterways and nothing for going to sea. So far  the first day of the crossing. The argument of the Belgian civil servant was to load the barge on a seagoing vessel and unload it in the United Kingdom. Even the Police found it ridiculous, but never the less we were stuck in Ostend.

The wife of the owner drove to Rotterdam to the correct paperwork for the inland waterways. Let’s hope  that they release the ship tomorrow.

A good friend passed away

17th August 2019 – This morning I got a phone  call from my  neighbour in Beernem. A close friend, William had passed away earlier this week They found his body two days ago in Moerbrugge. He was a skipper, a promoter of my museum, a regular visitor and a good friend. Somebody with a warm heart who was respected by everyone who knew him.

Every few weeks he dropped some stuff in my locker on Tordino. It was always a surprise. When he walked aboard my ship, he smiled when he noticed I had used his gifts in my museum.

I will miss him!

Watergeus – Getting some new furniture

16th  August 2019 – We went to Ikea to get some furniture for the living.  It took us two hours for shopping and another two for waiting in the queue.  In the afternoon I started dismantling some of the old furniture. When I came back from friends, I built one cupboard.

Watergeus – Getting the desk

13th August 2019 – I picked up an old desk at my parents place. It is a handmade desk from the early 30’s, which had been in family ever since. Last year, I had a chance of getting it, but no place to put it. I decided to store this lovely part of furniture temporary at my parents place until now. 

Watergeus – Office space

11th August 2019 – After a good night of partying in Bruges, I finaly started with the conversion of my office space. When I built the Watergeus in 2005-2007, I had little money so the desk was made with plywood. Behind the desk were all the cables, but nothing really finished.  Today I removed the first part of that desk, including old cables and stuff I no longer needed. As expected, I did discover several older items and decoration I was barely aware of they were still aboard…

I had several small cabinets full of documents from boats, conversions, etc.. I’ll move them to Tordino where they will be added to the archive. 

Thinking about 15 years of owning a boat…

If I’m looking back at the last fifteen years of owning barges and other boats, two of them were a success. The Watergeus, where I am still living on and the Tordino, which has become a nice museum.  Other projects were fun and were used as an investment  I had a dream or a plan, describe it as you wish,  for every project I ever took on. During the conversion, sometimes the plans changed like with the Aquarel. It started with the intention of inviting friends to stay and show their art. A kind of small residence. Then it changed into a private pub with museum, but was sold after one birthday party.

Op Hoop van Zegen had to be sold to finance Tordino, but was getting pretty close to what I really wanted to do: travelling on a small barge.  I had the same plan with the Hornblower in 2011, but I couldn’t find time to travel, and honestly, I wasn’t experienced enough.

Some people think I should make the boats commercial by running air b&b, or organising events and selling tickets. After fifteen years asking nothing, and just organising, I met a lot of interesting people of whom some became close friends. I will not name any friends by name, but I believe my best friends are people who I met through boating. Sometimes by giving advice, some by meeting them on a boat party and others by working together with them. Boat people are special but in a nice way. Like someone said earlier last week: their is not a single bone in their body that has a bad taught.

When I talk  to people about living on boat, they are all interested,  with the few exceptions of people who ask how many times you have to pump them out.

So what will bring the next couple of years? I don’t know. Half of my projects were not planned. A good party is often the one that was not planned. I have some ideas in mind to finish what I’ve started, I want to continue to socialise and meet new people, but for all, I will start with redecorating the interior of the Watergeus! After all these years, it is time to do a little upgrade and add some nice souvenirs from the past.

It was last week, when I was talking to two colleagues and friends, I started realising, I must go on with what I have in mind. A small boat to travel with, converted into a private pub where I can meet people, talk to them, make an interview and just document life on boats for a further generation. This plan could be the base for a big financial support, but since I’ve never asked any entrance, I won’t ask any money either for this!

Everytime I drive through Holland, I look at the water, the big rivers, the Biesbosch, the Oosterschelde with Veerse Meeren. Even the IJsselmeer where I had a bad experience with Tordino, are nice waters to travel. Drop an anchor or go to land, meet people, have a drink and socialise. You never know what that might bring for new collaborations and projects. Keeping an open mind on a boat is necessary!

Many people ask if a third boat is necessary.  Are there no options with the current two boats I own? Yes and no. I am not allowed to sail by myself on these two barges to start with. Secondly, the engine on the Watergeus is fine, but any other technique is outdated. Tordino is fine, but the value in the hold prevents me from moving her as a pleasure ship…


We see what the future might bring…