CRUISING THE BARGE FOOD & WINE

The New Adventures of Old Meanderer!!!

Well — where to begin? I’ve been very lax on writing blogs so I’m more than a year behind! There is so much to tell. To start I should say that the past two seasons were great. The 2012 season ended with a final cruise where we took guests to Paris. A first for us with guests on board. The reason we offered that cruise was because we had to take Meanderer to Ghent in Belgium for her 5-year out of the water survey. We can’t believe that it had been five years already since we bought her!!!
The journey itself was amazing — seeing things that we’d never seen before, cruising through Paris with friends and family on board, seeing giant commercial barges that are four times (maybe more) bigger than Meanderer……Wonderful!
It took us about 12 days to get to Ghent where Meanderer went into dry dock. Now that was incredible – seeing her sitting on the blocks and being able to walk underneath was quite the experience. Then the work began…
Firstly she had to be washed with a high pressure water machine to get all the loose paint off and all the “gunk” growing underneath so that the inspectors could come and test the hull for thickness. Then examinations of the propellor and the shaft and various other things that I have no clue about!! The water washing made the boat SO dirty! She looked as though she’d never be clean.
The good news from the inspectors was that the hull was in great shape so no new panels needed, which can be very expensive to replace. As a result we decided to sandblast the hull down to the bare steel and completely redo the paint, and take out a dent that we had inherited. You’ll see from those photos why you really are grateful for a hull in good shape because you never know whether the cabins might need to be totally redone after that! In fact when the welding is done, someone has to be on fire duty — which means sit inside the area being welded with a fire extinguisher!!!! Yikes! Oh, and speaking of dirt….you have NEVER seen such a mess from the sandblasting!!!! It’s done with this black sand and it just covers EVERYTHING!!! Fortunately my brother had made the suggestion that we tape all the windows and doors to minimize it coming inside….So happy that we did that!
All went smoothly and then the painting was done layer by layer…..And then was completely finished just before the season. Meanderer has never looked so pretty. We changed her paint scheme a little and she just looks incredible. We had a spare propellor in the engine room and George had a great idea to bring it out and display it on the deck. It has been polished to a blinding shine and we had it installed where people can see it but in a way that it is secure!!! A bronze piece like that is worth a lot!! It looks spectacular…The main prop has a big chunk taken out of one of the blades — most likely from hitting a large log…it was sent out to a special place in Holland to be repaired and now it too looks perfect. Here are some before, during, and after photos….The order is a bit random but you’ll get the idea.

Click on the photos to see a clearer image…

And here are a few with family and then Meanderer in her new colors….she seems pretty pleased with herself!

 

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