I left the Netherlands on the Gent-Terneuzen Kaanal, and am back in Gent in Belgium. I had a wonderful time exploring the small and the vast waterways of the Netherlands. I hope you have enjoyed the cruise (and if you want more, or have forgotten,- read back through the posts from mid-May).
From Rotterdam, I cruised along the ‘great Rivers’ route, through Dordrecht, and the ‘Hollandse Diep’, mooring for the night (noisy and not settled: ship movements and lots of wind), at Willemstadt JachtSluis. An early start through the lock, and then along the Krammer Volkerak, now a fresh water inlet: dammed and controlled, but a large and very busy waterway. I passed through the dam at Philipsdam, using a very large lock, to the Keeten Mastgat, which was absolutely covered with sailing vessels: from little dinghies to large two-masted yachts. They are much harder to deal with safely than large commercial vessels: they do the least predictable things, including tacking right in front of me… No damage to them or me, but it was exciting!
Then, along a dredged channel in the Oosterscheldt, to the Zuidbeveland Kaanal, that bisects this large peninsula. It was a lovely day, and there is always the prospects of nasty weather, so I persevered, through the sea lock (largest yet), into the Westerscheldt, a salt water inlet that is the major shipping route to Antwerp. The ships were large sea-going container ships, drilling vessels, and others, and made me feel like a little leaf floating through rapids. Their wakes are really significant, and the spray that resulted made the whole boat covered in salt.
I finished this long day, mooring in Terneuzen, a major ship repair/servicing port town, where vessels of all types are in various states of repair/service/building/reclamation. It is the entry for ships to the port of Gent.
After a nice mooring in the town center, I headed south on this major ship canal. It is lined almost the entire way to Gent with industrial works, from pet food manufacturing, to coal-fired power stations, and heavy industry of all sorts. Refineries, smelters, and steel recycling, sand, gravel, and brick-making. It is all here along this stretch of water. Not much photogenic stuff, so this description will have to do. Once into Gent, I cruised along the Ringvaart, a modern ‘ring-road’ for ships around the city. The canal has the ring road lining both sides of the canal. I am moored on the old river Leie, awaiting the arrival of a friend who will spend the next week with me as we cruise up the Leie towards France.