My Travel Blog

Finally! Lisa and I Move Into Rabelo!

We did it.  We finally did it.  Lisa and I moved onto Rabelo.

Two days latter we picked up our first guests, Lisa’s brother Jerry and his wife Arlene.

Picking up Jerry and Arlene at the train station.

Rather than going directly to Rabelo we decided to spend the day in Bergen op Zoom as there was a jazz festival going on. What a pleasant surprise. A large tent was set up in the town square for the featured bands, but there were also groups just walking the streets and playing. The street bands were brilliant.  Everything felt so impromptu as they’d stop in front of a shop and just start playing. It was one of those special days that was completely unexpected.

One of the many street bands rocking out.


The four of us enjoying a beer while listening to a great jazz band.

This little guy was really shaking his tail feathers.

Rabelo wasn’t ready to leave the dock when Jerry and Arlene arrived, but it didn’t matter as the weather sucked. Two days later we were on our way with clear skies and a partially completed boat.

Some of the trash we hauled off of Rabelo.

There are many philosophies when it comes to buying a barge, especially when the subject is size. Many recommend purchasing the smallest barge you can be comfortable on, and I probably wouldn’t disagree with this sage advice. But then there’s the problem best summed up by, and I will paraphrase, “He who dies with the biggest toy wins.” 

I win.

Lisa tells me I’m feeding an oversized ego.  I would never disagree with my wife.

A couple of the reasons for going small are the cost of operating and finding a place to tie up. We departed Bergen op Zoom and motored through the Dutch countryside for about two hours until we found a convenient dock that had shore power and water. It cost us 40 euro for the night.

This is what it looks like when you tie a 127ft. boat to a 65ft. dock. I win.

Check out the price on the fuel pump, and that’s in Euros. I lose.

The next day we went to Breda and followed a sidearm to the main canal until it ended only a few hundred yards from the town center. The turning basin was so small that there was barely enough room to turn around. Wilco did an impressive job of spinning Rabelo 180 degrees in her own length.  Like so many Dutch cities Breda has a beautiful vibrant city center. Unfortunately I forgot to bring a camera.

Lisa at the helm.


Some of the Dutch countryside.


-Tom Miller
Author of “The Wave” – 
a Chuck Palmer Adventure novel


About the Author:

Tom Miller graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Geology. He is a consummate adventurer with over 1,000 dives as a recreational scuba diver, and an avid sailor who has traveled 65,000 miles throughout the Pacific including the Hawaiian Islands. Miller has also cruised the canals of Europe on his canal barge and given numerous lectures on cruising the canals of Europe, as well as sailing in the South Pacific. Piloting is also an interest of Miller's, and He has completed over 1,000 hours flying everything from small Cessnas to Lear jets.