Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Saturday, September 10, 2016

On to The Netherlands, August 25-28

People we met along the way had told us to stop in Visè and as it was the required 2 hours travel time from Liege we thought that sounded like a good idea. 
Just north of the Liege, the Albert Canal, which heads off into Belgium, leaves the river. There are about 9 kilometers of navigable river paralleling the canal until the lock just after Visè where, to continue north, it’s onto the straight, boring and very busy Albert canal. 
We had been told that the small marina in the village was very nice. That may be the case if you can get one of the good spots but they were all full. We ended up down at the end of the treeless and pretty desolate quay with the geese and their “leavings”. Geese are a real problem around here. There are far too many of them (there were literally hundreds of several different species in Visè) and they have no natural predators. Since food is abundant, they don’t migrate as there supposed to. They’ve become pests. And it was hot. We walked up to check out the lock onto the Albert canal, which is in a nice shady park, and spent a little time there then retreated to the boat for the afternoon. About 9:15 Friday morning we entered the lock and 5 minutes later joined the Albert Canal headed for the Netherlands. 
Right at the Belgium-Netherlands border we entered the Sluis Lanaye with it’s 45 ft. drop along with three commercial boats and, after the lock, made a sharp right turn into the Recreatiecentrum Eijsden, a giant lake with two swimming beaches (one that featured a thumping loud dj on Friday afternoon) and an island in the middle with a small quay with room for three boats. The quay was empty when we arrived. It was going to be hot and sunny for the weekend (swimming time!) and school was back in session starting Tuesday so we figured the place would be pretty zoo-like. We were not disappointed.

Luckily the two other boats that joined us on the quay belonged to retirees so there was no huge party there but a five boat raft up decided to drop anchor for the weekend right out in front of the quay and put their giant stereo speaker on top of one of the boats. A peaceful weekend it was not! Saturday night did feature a giant thunderstorm, however, the raftup dragging around the lake in the howling wind and pouring rain with the boaters with their headlamps and flashlights trying to reset their anchors.

The lake with the lock in the lower left and the island at the top.
 If you look closely you can see a small boat tied up on the quay.

Sunday morning we’d had enough so about 10 am we made the 1 hour trip to the big city, Maastricht.

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