In a couple of days The Keeper of the Purse and I are off to Holland to begin what we suspect to be the final chapter of our not very illustrious boating career.
We have a short-list of 11 - 12m motor cruisers to look at from which we will select one with the intention going forward of spending 6 months in NZ and 6 months on the inland waterways of Europe, mainly in France.
We are looking forward to it very much but I would be telling big porkies if I said it was not without a considerable degree of trepidation, I don't know why, but I expect its an old age thing. This canal boating business has been an on again off again affair, mainly off again, for the last few years because we kept running into what appeared to be insurmountable problems. As a minor example, a roaming cellphone is just too expensive for 6 month so we thought to buy a plan from a cellphone services provider in Europe. But in order to sign up with a cellphone network you need a bank account. And in order to open a bank account you need a permanent address. And in order to have a permanent address you need to be registered with the local council, and in order to register you need to have permanent residence status... etc.etc. You get the picture. And everything is like that.
But thankfully the Keeper of the Purse, time to reveal her real name, Joke (truly) made an executive decision committing us to the project and over the last weeks has spent literally hundreds of hours on the computer reducing beauracratic mountains to molehills in a truly incredible display of unrelenting tenacity, helped no doubt by the fact that she is Dutch, multi lingual and very stubborn. I always knew that my investment in her would pay off one day, although my involvement with the Dutch is a family affair. For many years my ancestors used to go viking down the coast of Holland, pillaging and carrying off the women although in my case I didn't steal anything and I did invite her nicely aboard my ship to go sailing.
So thanks to Joke, we think we know enough to get this business up and running. I have completed my CEVNI which seems to be a requirement for operating a boat on the inland waterways, I have upgraded my vhf license to the MSROC standard and I have my ICC for inland and coastal waters. I am not sure if all this studying was required but Joke made me do it. If there's one thing that annoys me about Joke, actually there'd lot of things that annoy me about Joke but her being a real stickler for doing things properly is right up there near the top of the list. So, needed or not, we are all systems go.
And finally, I need to acknowledge the invaluable help I have received on this forum, particularly with my interminable questions relating to diesel engines, gearboxes etc as we struggle to make the transition from a real boat to a mechanically propelled one. And in regard to help received I am particularly indebted to Matt aka Island Time for providing me with a motor boat and crew in which to do the practical elements of the ICC exam.
As a future motor boater I am probably continuing on this sailing forum under false pretenses, but neither do I want to go - you're and oddball lot but I feel very much at home here so I guess I must be one too. So if you see any value in it, I would like to contribute the odd post and pictures of canal life as it happens now and then, good, bad, warts and all.