Sunday, 27 July 2014

Wednesday 23rd July 2014 Den Bosch to Helmond north. 30.6kms 4 locks.

Little Rival unloading at Den Bosch
19.4°C Hot and sunny all day with a moderate wind blowing. Winded and left at 8.20 am, backing out as we had a cruiser close to our bows and an empty commercial moored tight on to our stern. Two empties were coming down the canal towards the bridge at the end of the moorings. Just beyond the bridge Rival was unloading at the quay, as was Erato. We were overtaken by the first cruiser within the first twenty minutes. An empty was fast catching up as we arrived at the first liftbridge, Dungensebrug, but an empty from the opposite
Reconstruction of the canal at Den Bosch
CLICK HERE to have a look at the photos of the new canal and locks
direction, called Anna from Maasbracht, was at the bridge first so he came through then us and we got out of the way of Erato so he could overtake easily. The widening work on the canal was advancing towards Den Bosch and there was a new high road bridge alongside the canal carrying the busy N279 which follows the canal all the way into Helmond. They’d piled a new edge back from the original and were taking the soil out. The piling continued under the new bridge to our left that’s where the new canal and replacement lock for lock 0 is under construction. The next empty, Albertina,
Pusher pair The-An leaving lock 3 Schijndel
went past heading for Den Bosch at the end of the first long straight, round the left hand bend and Laurein loaded with containers went past heading downhill. We arrived at the first lock, number three Schijndel, at 10.05 am and tied on the waiting area. Two boats came down the lock, loaded boat Leeuw and empty C’est la Vie. Then the gates closed behind them! Mike called on channel 18 but got no reply (found out later that it had changed to channel 20). Two cruisers arrived and went on
In lock 3 Schijndel with Henmar
the quay in front of us, neither crew spoke English. The lock was refilling. A black and red tjalk bashed into the quay behind us and another cruiser arrived. Pusher pair The-An came out of the lock, by which time an empty called Henmar had arrived and went into the empty chamber. It was 10.45 am. The two cruisers in front went in slowly heading for the wall behind the commercial on the right, so we went left and went alongside him on the left wall, the other cruiser came in behind us and the tjalk made no move to enter the lock so the gates closed and we rose 3.6m, swapping the ropes on up the
In lock 4 (nr Veghel) with cruiser
bollards recessed into the concrete walls of the lock chamber. The lock keeper came down from his high cabin and gave us a new map of the Noord-Brabant and Midden-Limburg canals, a very useful basic map with VHF channels, moorings and water tap locations. Great, because we only had a small map in our ten year old ANWB Wateralmanak. Left the top of the lock at 11.05 am. Two loaded boats, Mea Vota and Carmen, were heading for the lock, followed by four
Waterways survey boat creeping along the bank
cruisers and a yacht. At the next new road bridge we met Pia, loaded, headed downhill. A tiny Waterways survey boat was trundling slowly down the canal next to the left bank. An empty called Harja went past. The water had turned chocolate coloured, the colour of disturbed peat. Traffic on the road backed up as a German lorry had stopped, broken down most likely, great queues formed as the busy road is only two lanes wide. The boat we’d locked with, Henmar, winded and went to where some dredging was going on – that explains the colour of the water. Into the new port area of Veghel (pronounced Feckle, rhyming with freckle) and there was a long line of moored boats on the left, factories and
Lock 6 - on our own
silos on both banks. Animo (loaded) was moored by the first bridge, Festina Lente was unloading by the silos. The new container port was on the right bank and a huge warehouse for the supermarket chain Jumbo was on the left. There was a row of moored loaded boats on the left, Anta, Speedy, Salem, Marja; Maurice, Swing and Novalis were moored three abreast - and little Pax (37.45m x6.52m – an odd size, wonder where it was built for?) was moored next to a larger boat called Corma, both were loaded. On the right Memento was unloading and Spessecunda was waiting to unload. Beyond them Emeraldis with a digger on board had paused from doing work on the bank piling up rocks.
Modern lock cabin now redundant, all locks remotely operated
The dividing wall that used to be all the way along the port when it was just the left side had now gone as had the old railway lift bridge. The passantenhaven in the old arm into Veghel looked full. Noted that the water point was still there opposite the Campina Dairies at the start of the arm. We arrived at lock 4 at 12.20 pm and threw a line around a stump. Mike called on VHF 20 and was told there was a boat coming down. Marian, a loaded boat, came down the lock and a cruiser called Ferres had caught up. Another tjalk, a white one, had turned into the arm. We locked up 2m with the cruiser behind us. It was 1 pm when we left the top on the 5kms pound so I made some sandwiches for lunch. It was getting hotter and hotter. We “shade chased” along the pound, keeping to
The line of moored boats at Helmond north
the right as far as possible in the shade from the trees. The cruiser sped off into the distance. No sign of him when we reached Erpsebrug so Mike called on VHF. The keeper said there was a boat “coming at us” and we could go up lock 5 with the cruiser! (He’d been kept waiting by a loaded boat called Ostrea coming down). Ferres was right up by the top end gates, we stayed at the back, calmest place to be in a lock that fills at the front through gate paddles. Up another 1.9m. Another 5kms pound, chasing the shade. We could see the boat we’d locked with fast approaching the next liftbridge and three more cruisers coming towards us and a workboat with hydraulic drive also went past heading downhill. Paused for Donksebrug to be lifted. No
Moored next to grassy bank at end of moorings
answer this time on the radio or the intercom. Made a cuppa. Eventually the bridge lifted and lock 6 emptied. A new mooring had been added between the liftbridge and the lock, it was 50m long and was a three day mooring. Half of it was occupied by a Dutch barge. We went up lock 6 on our own, rising another 2.1m. Past a factory for sale next to an ancient crane in Beek en Donk. To our great surprise the cruiser Ferres was moored on the stumps by the very busy road bridge, liftbridge Beeksebrug. The crew had been shopping and they rushed to get on board and untied to follow us as the bridge was lifting as we approached it. The cruiser overtook us as
Moored by the reeds in Helmond north
soon as it could but when it arrived at the crossroads with the Wilhelmina kanaal to the right, straight ahead the dead end of the old canal through Helmond (now used as moorings and where we were headed) they turned left on the new ring canal around Helmond. Great, we thought, they aren’t going to grab the last space on the moorings! Nope, they were already full. What do you expect at 4 pm? We made our own mooring on the end before the wooden staging. A helpful guy off the first boat came to pull on a rope while we moored on pins. Mike chopped down the high herbage with lots of nettles, thistles and brambles. Set up the TV, found no Wi-Fi and then gave him a hand to get the bike off the roof and he went to collect the car from Den Bosch. 

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