The grand plan is to take the boat via the River Trent and River Humber to Hull Marina where the boat will be craned out of the water and into ‘dry dock’. The boat’s hull will then be shot blasted (by a shot blaster) and then repainted (by Martin). We are also going to have a new, more efficient and horrendously expensive new engine fitted. Once this is all completed, we will make our way down the east coast of England – eventually to Ramsgate and from there make our foray across the Channel.
We have asked for guidance on this trip from via the Dutch Barge Association forum – we have had various advise; e.g. to just head straight out over the North Sea (I don’t think so – I would like to be able to see land at least 80% of the time we are at sea), don’t do it (not an option) and we have had several offers of help from more experienced mariners. Thank you DBA – they really are genuinely lovely people.
Once in Europe (via either Holland or France) we will head roughly east to the Rhine and then the Danube – passing through Germany, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria – then leaving mainland Europe into the Black Sea, south via Istanbul to the Aegean and south again to Greek waters where we are hoping to stay and island hop for a few years.
So January 2020 sees the end of an era, but the start of our adventure. It will be hard leaving family and friends for a while but with modern technology there is no excuse for us not to keep in touch.
I have many very dear friends – some (you know who you are) have been there for me over some very hard times. There have been those who I thought would be, but when the chips were down – they are nowhere to be found. But I am a believer in fate, in just deserts and the old adage ‘you reap what you sow’ (as my very dear friend Karen used to remind me, when the days were very dark).
However we still had a couple of obstacles to get round – the biggest one we thought being Brexit and any restrictions or paperwork this would create; little did we know!