My Travel Blog

How Can We Get Rabelo Out of This Dead End Lock! | The Adventure Continues

It’s 7:00am, and we are on our own now.  Scott is already on his way to the airport. I pour some cold cereal into a bowl.  Scott and his cooking will be sorely missed.

Wilco helping Scott out in the galley/kitchen.

When we are done with breakfast we load Wilco’s car back on deck.  He fixed the crane yesterday so it is working fine now.  Apparently there was an electrical problem in the winch control.

Rabelo heads down the canal, through the set of locks that we turned around in front of last night.  In case you were wondering the Dutch countryside is very flat.  This is a good thing because the locks are much further apart, and will not delay us so much.

A working barge, and like Rabelo she is a Spitz designed for the French Freycinet locks.

The scenery has also changed.  We are on a smaller canal, and the surrounding area is not so industrialized.  Still for this Southern California boy it looks rather bleak out there without any green.  We pass a couple of parks and even a recreational marina filled with small boats.

You know you’re in Holland when you start seeing windmills.

This is my last day on Rabelo.  Like Scott I have to leave for the train station at the crack of dawn.  We will need to unload the car again this evening so that we can get me to the train station early tomorrow morning.  With so few locks to delay us we are making great time, and shouldn’t have any problems covering over 100km today.  We won’t make it to Rabelo’s winter home in Dintelord, but Jan and Wilco should be there tomorrow evening.

Note the blue ferry and the warning float that follows the ferry across the canal. The Ferry is connected to a chain on the bottom of the canal, and therefore cannot avoid oncoming traffic.

It’s been an exciting trip.  Scott was wonderful with his great attitude and fantastic cooking.  Jan had plenty of old sea stories to tell after spending his life on the water.  Wilco of course could not have been better.  He will make our travels through France so much easier because he has been on almost every canal or river.  Besides WIlco is just a great guy to have around.

It is after 10:00pm.  The wind has picked up, and it just started to rain.  Wilco called the lock ahead to find out where we can drop off the car.  They have a spot, but we can’t spend the night there.  Two 330 ft barges have reserved the spot for tonight.  We crane the car onto the dock about a half-mile from the lock.  I drive over to the lock while Wilco and Jan take Rabelo.  Our mooring tonight will be an old abandon lock next to the new one.  I get there first, and to my horror discover that the spot where we are supposed to park is a dead end.  Once Rabelo enters the abandon lock there will be only one way out and that means backing her out.  It is almost impossible to back a barge without a bow thruster.  We need to find a different place to spend the night.

I see Rabelo about to enter the old lock and try to wave her off.  She keeps coming.  It’s too late Rabelo is committed.  Once Rabelo is tied up I ask Wilco how he plans on getting her out. He shrugs his shoulders and says he doesn’t know, but he’ll figure something out.  You have to love these Dutch Men.

That night while Wilco is dreaming about how to get Rabelo out of the old lock all I can think about is the adventure that awaits us.

-Tom Miller


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.