We began our new life on August 17th 2005 when we travelled from the UK to Blauwe Kei (Blue Stone) where our new home was moored. Here we met with the previous Dutch owners, Koh and Reit, who helped us unload our very overloaded estate car with half our remaining posessions, the other half still stored for a second trip.
For the next few days we would go over the ship from stem to stern to learn everything we could from Koh and Reit who were esconced in their camper van alongside, then on the 19th August we cruised up the Kanaal van Beverlo to Kerkhoven and met Hugo the harbourmaster where we would moor for the winter. On to the canal basin at Leopoldsberg, the end of the canal, we turned around and returned to Blauwe Kei.
The next day we sailed down the Kanaal Bocholt - Herentals to Neerpelt where we provisioned the ship at the local market. The following day we graduated to working some locks, down three to the big canal junction at Dessel then north along the canal towards Turnhout where we practised some spud poling at a turning point then back to Blauwe Kei on a glorious hot summers day. Koh and Reit then left us to our own devices, however, they have bought a new steel cutter called Mon Ami moored at Kerkhoven and we have continued to keep in close contact with them. We are very lucky to have had the previous owners teach us all the rudiments and resolve all our early problems.
After the purchase of some smart new bikes, we set sail for our first ever solo trip to Neerpelt and back. On the way a large barge failed to slow when passing, took all the water in the canal and we grounded with a sickening series of bangs to our hull. It seems we have cowboys and even girls amongst the professional barging community.
We collected our friends, the Hockey's, from Brussels airport the next day, who would accompany us on our first serious foray into the wilds of Maastricht and the River Maas.