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River Dendre, Belgium,14th to 19th May 2008

After leaving our winter mooring at St Job in T'Goor on 13th May, our first target was the canalised River Dendre which would take us south towards France.  We had heard that the River was pretty silted up and that it only had about 1.2m depth in places.  As we entered the first lock we were asked what our depth was "1m" said John confidently.  The lock keeper informed us that there were places of around 1.1m depth so we should be okay.  About 60km further upstream, we encountered frantic waving from two lock keepers as we neared a lock entrance.  We were again asked for our depth.  "1m" repeated John.   The lock keepers told us that we would have to turn back because in some places the depth ahead had lessened in the past week to 80cm. Hmmm, I wonder if we'd said our depth was 80cm, we would have been told that the depth was 60cm? Undeterred, we said that we would prefer to carry on.  They shrugged their shoulders and uhappily told us that they would not be held responsible for any damage to our boat.  It was a Sunday and the locks were closely packed and manual. (Could these facts possibly have had something to do with their reluctance?) They grumpily locked us through.

Sure enough, however; after three more locks just before the town of Ath, we came across a small section of silt which we duly ploughed through, sending up a swirling black stink of methane in our wake!  Nice. After the final lock there was another shallow section but we didn't even touch bottom that time.   We were told that in 2009 the River is to be dredged back to a depth of 1.8m.

The River Dendre is a very pleasant, quiet (unsurprising!), shallow in places, way to get from Belgium to France (or vice versa), with pretty towns and villages en route. 

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Mooring at Aalst

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Sculpture at Ninove

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The moorings at Gerardsbergen

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Our mooring at Ath

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Unusual duck at Ath

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Fishing at the lock

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A pretty Aak about to go under a lifting bridge

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John, happy on the helm

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