Humber Barge Waterdog
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2016

Our French and Belgium neighbours came to see us off

Depart Prepare for sea At sea Night at sea Landfall UK Arrive UK Woodbridge

In 2016 there was a definite change of attitude in Belgium to us Brits after the Brexit vote, maybe not deliberately or directly but a cooling of relations. The locals that had included us in events for years, were suddenly excluding us from the few events that were organised in our harbour. This soured the atmosphere and made us feel unwelcome in Erquelinnes. That, together with the continuing difficult working environment of a troubled Oil & Gas industry led us to talk about returning to the UK with the boat until things settled down, our very own Wexit!

We had searched for moorings in southern England 10 years previously, with little success, so we weren’t over hopeful this time. We contacted lots of marinas, boatyards and also friends on barges in the UK. We finally struck lucky when friends in Woodbridge, Suffolk, who told us of a space coming up on the town quay due to another barge moving on. It looked perfect, although it would mean sitting Waterdog on the tidal mud for each low tide. We travelled to see the mooring in August and then committed to taking it ASAP. We just had to get Waterdog from southern Belgium to the north coast of France or Belgium and then across the sea and the Thames estuary up to the Suffolk coast and 8 miles up the River Deben. Lawrence’s work meant that the earliest we could start the voyage was September which was getting late in the year to expect calm weather for the sea crossing, but we were so keen to make the change that we decided to have a go.

During our visit to the UK to see the moorings, our gorgeous dog Tilly sadly died due to a combination of illnesses. We miss her dreadfully every day.