23rd to 24th of July 2013 - Blankenberge
|Crew :||Helen and Andy|
|Destinations :||Blankenberge and Bruges.|
|Distance :||19 miles|
Tuesday 23rd July 2013
We've been avoiding Belgium recently because of stories of the Belgian authorities fining boats for carrying red diesel, but earlier in the year Yachting Monthly published a letter from Blankenberge's harbour master stating that this was no longer an issue and they would assist visiting yachts if there were any problems. We decided to take them at their word so we set off in the morning heading for Belgium.
After waiting for the Vlissingen lock we were out into the estuary by 0930 and made our way down the coast in sunny light wind conditions arriving at Blankenberge by mid afternoon.
We initially berthed on the visitor's pontoon, as directed by a young assistant harbourmaster, then the harbourmaster himself arrived and after some discussion in Flemish we were told that they were expecting a large boat in later so we should follow them to a different berth. We set off following the harbour launch through the enormous marina and ended up tucked up in a side basin. There were plenty of Dutch and French boats mixed in with the Belgians but ours was the only British ensign we could see.
We never saw the rumoured big boat on the visitor's pontoon and later that day, as we enjoyed a beer in the harbour cafe, we watched the police going around boats checking paperwork. We decided it was best to have another beer rather than go back to the boat for a discussion about the contents of our fuel tanks. We wondered if we'd actually been moved to make us less conspicuous to officials who may have still been worried about British boats with dyed fuel.
Wednesday 24 th July 2013
A day being tourists. We took the train to Bruges and spend the day enjoying the architecture and visiting museums. As we were in Belgium we had to have moules frites and beer for lunch.
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