Okay, here we go. As this is a new blog, you won’t know me. Here’s some of my story…
As mentioned in the first blog, I’m a soon-to-be retired oceanographer. I’ve had a great time but now want to start something new. I spent considerable time and energy researching sailing in the Mediterranean, but that didn’t pan out. It sounds like a wonderful life but the paperwork and hassle involved were horrendous! First and foremost, the Schengen Area rules don’t permit a Canadian (or most other non-Schengen individuals) to stay more that 90 days out of 180. There are very limited ways to change that. None, actually, for me. This would mean I’d have to move out of the EU area for 90 days every 6 months. The options of where to go are somewhat limited, most of them being kind of sketchy (North Africa, Turkey, etc.). Nothing against those countries, I’m just a bit chicken around AK47s.
Plus, if I was to get my boat over there, after 18-24 months I’d have to pay VAT on it (about 20% of it’s value). That’s a lot. For me, at least… Add to that the cost of getting it there. Even sailing it around from the west coast of Canada (which would likely take over a year in order to avoid hurricanes etc.), the outfitting and rigging would be expensive. Shipping it would also be prohibitively expensive on my pension.
So, what’s the alternative? The thought of a canal cruise in England was always in the back of my mind. When I started looking into it, I realized this might be what I wanted to do instead of the Med! Relaxed, no serious danger of dying, beautiful scenery, lots of pubs, and something I can afford. Oh, did I mention lots of pubs?
Hence, I’m preparing for my narrowboat adventure. Here comes A Canuck on the Cut!