Saturday, April 18, 2009

Big boats in small rivers

Maastricht riverfront

The big sightseeing boats are becoming more common along the Maas, stopping overnight along docks beneath the old city walls.  I’m becoming familiar with the repeated schedules of some of the boats that ply the ply the waterway, and have tried to get a peek at the interior living and dining areas through binoculars when they park across the way.  It looks like a nice way to spend a weekend.

Early in the mornings, before the barge traffic is heavy, the crews get the day’s journey underway.  They sound horns, start the bow and stern thrusters, then, impressively, spin the boats end for end before heading downstream, blocking the whole river.  Then they collapse the superstructure just before they steam by so that they can get under the (raised) Stone Bridge.

It’s all a good show over morning coffee, waving to the tourists and watching the deckhands scurry to check the clearance at each step.

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