Oostende 29.6. - 2.7.
From Bruges it was first nine miles on the canals to the North Sea. After passing the port of Zeebrugge we raised the sails and it was another nine miles until we were in front of Oostende entrance. Still one more mile to go and we arrived in the habrour of Oostende.
There are two areas for boats before the lock in Oostende harbour basin. We were on a way to the Mercator marina which is located behind the lock. VHF channel 14 is used for reporting to the lock and that the same time berth is booked from Mercator marina. They don’t let anyone to pass the lock without a reservation at all. We got lucky that on Saturday evening the marina was not full and we got a nice berth for Suwena.
The harbourmaster arrived to the lock with a harbour map and a reservation confirmation. He lowered the papers hanging on a rope to Suwena. The reserved berth had marked in the harbour map and there was no need to make the normal search around for free berth in the harbour, instead we just drove to our assigned berth. Mercator is a good and well protected marina and because of the lock there is no tide. All in all it was a good place to spend a couple of days there.
Oostende is the Belgium's beach resort city. At a times the kings Leopold I and Leopold II made Oostende popular. Nowadays many Belgians arrive to spend a day on a sandy beach by the North Sea in Oostende.
There are so many restaurants in Oostende that the biggest issue is to choose one. A kilometre long beach road starts from the lock and restaurants are located side by side. After arriving to the coast of the North Sea a long esplanade starts along the beach and there are even more restaurants.
In almost all restaurants people were sitting with their own mussel pots and therefore we had to taste the local delicacy as well. The mussels can be made in many ways: natural or with white wine, garlic, cream, parsley, etc. We should eat quite a many pots before we could say which one taste the best.
At the southern end of the esplanade we were suddenly surrounded by palm trees in the beach club. When we stepped to the wooden patio we had arrived in the live radio show. Q-music has a direct broadcast from the beach of Oostende during July and August. People were enjoying their beverages and snacks and followed the surroundings on the big screens. There were several cameras showing video from the club restaurant, the Brussel's studio and from the summer studio on the beach. Studio had open access and we also went to have a chat with two cheery radio hostesses. The live broadcast can be viewed also on a Q-music live web site.
The Belguim's flag was flying at Suwena's spreader only for a six days. Belgium has merely 38 nautical miles or 70 kilometres of coastline. We managed to make three stops: Zeebrugge, Bruges and Oostende. On Tuesday on the beautiful sunshine we left Oostende behind and sailed towards a new country. Our destination was France and the port of Calais.