We moor overnight at the first of the five lift bridges on the river Moervaart to Lokeren.
Next morning we prepare to leave when first mate is astounded to see crowds of cruisers on this usually deserted waterway about to overtake us. They have stayed put at their moorings all over Belgium during the summer but have decided to take to the water en masse at the very end of September and head for Lokeren in this, the last official cruising weekend of the summer.
There's nothing we can do but let them all pass. Some give a cheery wave, most stare doggedly ahead.
We are recognised by the bridgekeepers who stop to chat and have a laugh about this unexpected increase to their workload. We bring up the rear, knowing our place in the scheme of things.