De 4 Vaargetijden - How did it all start with "The 4 Vaargetijden"?

How did it all start with “The 4 Vaargetijden”?

How did it all start?

The guests ask that very often! But of course that was long before my time…

Meanwhile, I had become curious and dived into the archives. Unfortunately my predecessors, first Boef and then Dief, didn’t keep a blog. Maybe their paws were too thick? Or didn’t they understand anything about the internet? Luckily Boef had told Dief a lot and so Dief informed me about how it all started!

In 1998…

After a long planning, my owners had decided to change tack. They were going to sail with guests on the inland waterways! And because 1 day is much too short to really enjoy, it had to become a hotel ship for multi-day trips. A lot of puzzling about how many people at the same time and how big the boat could become…

With these maximum sizes in their minds, they drove down town and country, and another country… And finally they found what they were looking for just across the Dutch border. This is what they saw:

Don’t you think it’s a beauty?

Begin 1Oh, don’t you think this ship looks very much like a comfortable passenger ship? So did their friends, though they were wise not to say it out loud! But the dimensions were right and the price was reasonable. This ship was built in 1924 in Muntendam, the Netherlands. For a whole life it transported all kinds of goods and thus made a living for its owners. The last owner named the ship Thijs, after his own son. When he retired, his wife finally wanted to feel solid ground under her feet. And so they moved to a small house ashore. For more than 20 years their ship was moored motionless, because the old skipper couldn’t sell it! This is what the wheelhouse looked like at that moment:

Oude stuurhuisDo you recognize the steering wheel?

But one bad day 2 teenagers entered the deckhouse (= the house at the back, the white part on the picture). It was cold so they tried to light the stoves with old clothes. They were close to setting everything on fire! That scared the old boss after all. It was high time to sell the ship. And just at that moment my bosses came to inquire about the price. That’s how important coincidence can be!

Even Boef looked at everything thoroughly, because his life was going to change as well. And he had already been through something! Started with a family, after 2 years brought to the shelter, soon came to Olga & Maurits in their new home, in the weekends to the sailing boat, and now this!

Boef looked to see if everything was okay…

The old boss hadn’t taken his ship out of the water for many years, but the hull would still be in fine condition, he assured us. Just to be sure, the ship had to be taken to the shipyard to inspect the hull as well. A tug came and very carefully they brought “Thijs” to the slipway:

sleepboot High and dry on the slipway…

Arriving at the transverse incline, Thijs got 5 trolleys under the hull and was pulled sideways on dry land. With the high pressure hose all growth was inexorably sprayed off… …as well as whole slices of rust. That can’t hurt, because 1 mm of iron gives 1 cm of rust (Maurits knew).

But what would the inspector think about it? Was the “Thijs” fully worth his money?

It’s a long story and actually my writing paw already hurts. Or maybe I’d like to keep you in suspense… No, this time I won’t wait so long to tell you the sequel. It’s coming next week, I promise!

I’ll be back by then!