Between Belgium, France and Germany

The month of August was a bit strange for us. I had to go back to Bremerhaven to finish my work, while Esben and the kids stayed on Chip-Chip and planned to continue. As it is difficult for one person to handle the locks alone, we had asked if somebody would be interested to join them, and Maria and Asbjørn chose to come and spend a week.

They arrived in Dinant, ready to continue south in the smaller canals – and then it was announced that Canal de la Meuse, the one we had planned to go through, was closed to to a water shortage. Considering the weather this summer, it wasn’t a complete surprise, but we had hoped to sneak through. Now, instead of continuing the beautiful trip we had planned, our guests were in for a trip through the industrialized part of Belgium. But first, it was back to Namur, and from there onwards on the Sambre towards the west. Friends had told us horror stories of this part of the trip, and it lived fully up to its reputation, filthy, ugly and with big crappy locks. After a day, however, things lightened up as there were pancakes for breakfast, after which Chip-Chip approached what used to be the world’s largest boat elevator (until the Chinese broke the record of course). The Strépy-Thieu boat lift connects the Sambre and the Scheldt rivers and lowered Chip-Chip 73 meters. Finally, Chip-Chip and crew made it to France, from where Maria and Asbjørn had to go back home. Thank you for joining us! It was great having you on board.

Esben and the kids spent some days in Valenciennes, preparing their favorite foods like lasagne and pizza. And then the new crew arrived, Elise and Torbjørn, Vibe’s parents. They were a bit more lucky with the timing than Maria and Asbjørn, as sit was time to enter one of the smaller and more picturesque canals, namely Saint Quentin. Here, the locks were much smaller and more manageable, and everybody spent a week with time for sailing, school, reading out loud and having fun. Also, Chip-Chip went through a tunnel for the first time (with us anyways). This crew made it all the way to Reims and Champagne country before it was time for Vibe to come back and Torbjørn and Elise to go back home again.

Vibe took the train to Valenciennes, from where she drove their car to the small marina where Chip-Chip was moored for the night, making it easy for Torbjørn and Elise to get back home. We spent one night with six people on the boat. Cozy, but probably not great for longer periods 😉 And after shopping some Champagne for the sheep-sitters at home, Elise and Torbjørn said goodbye, and we were on our own again.

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Beautiful la Meuse

We had only just arrived in Hasselt, when the harbour master came down to suggest how we could tests the broken gear box – unfortunately we had already made those tests, which had made it clear that the problem was inside the gear box. Which sucked. Because it’s not easy getting it out, and we were gonna need some professional help. Continue reading

Starting the trip on the inland waterways; Antwerp and the Albert Canal

We arrived in Antwerp Sunday night, and had high hopes for an exciting Monday. But it turned out that almost everything is closed in Antwerp on Mondays. We took a walk through the old town anyways, and Mattis soon started asking questions about Jesus. At first we were puzzled about his newfound religiousness, but soon realized that it was due to the many statues of virgin Mary and baby Jesus. Coming direct from Holland, Antwerp really somehow had a very different feel, like we had arrived in southern Europe. Continue reading

Runa schreibt: Die erste Woche an bord

Seit einer Woche wohne ich auf Chip-Chip. Wir sind früh Sonntag Morgen von Bremerhaven losgesegelt (1. Juli 2018). Wir segelten erst nach Makkum. Es dauerte zwei Tage und eine Nacht. Erst war ich seekrank aber später gings mir wieder besser. Am Abend mussten wir durch eine Schleuse zum IJsselmeer und dann wahren wir schon fast in der Marina. Da war ein Pool und da waren wir jeden Tag baden. Jeden Abend waren wir bei einer Theatershow die Pinki und Duimpi hieß. Es hat spaß gemacht. Ich und Mama waren auch in der Stadt.

Nach ein paar Tagen sind wir nach Amsterdam gesegelt. Wir waren im Zentrum von Amsterdam, haben Anne Franks Haus gesehen und haben Waffeln gegessen. Gestern waren wir im Riesen Experimentarium.

Ich vermisse euch alle.

Liebe Grüße von Runa.

From chaos to Amsterdam

We had given up the lease on our flat in Sellstedt from the 1st of July, so in June we really started to feel the pressure to get everything ready to go. Not just the boat had some things that still needed to be fixed, but our flat had to be packed down, we had to arrange for the last vaccinations, health insurance while underway, and the many, many extra things that have to be taken care of when you leave a country for good.  Continue reading

About storage

Since we bought our Singer Heavy Duty sewing machine to make new covers for the mattresses, I have sewn just about everything you can think of – even a tool box. But usually I don’t take it that far. Mostly I try to sew things that will help us keep our stuff organized in our, after all, limited room on board.

One way we use to save space and keep everything under control in Chip-Chip is to sew small, simple bags, kinda like packing cubes, for things like toys, underwear, socks, hats etc.

I was asked for the recipe, so here it comes.

Continue reading