Big brother is watching you


Past readers may recall that early on, when we were first looking at Neo Vita, we found that she could be seen at her mooring in Medemblik in the Netherlands using StreetView.

Google StreetView of Neo Vita moored at Medemblik

By the time it came for us to ‘find’ her for the first time, she had moved to nearby Middenmeer, a nearby, cheaper mooring.


Sometime later, while reviewing our trip using Google Earth, we were looking at the satellite version of Middenmeer, and Neo Vita was there too!

Neo Vita at Middenmeer - the solar panels on the wheelhouse and stern bimini are distinctive
Neo Vita at Middenmeer – the solar panels on the wheelhouse and stern bimini are distinctive

We can almost exactly pin down when we were snapped from space, it was in the late morning the day after we had taken possession, just prior to our first solo cruise. The position in the moorings, and the boat moored just behind are determinative. This was taken within an hour of our –

First solo cruise

The cruise we were just about to take was not one we blogged about:

We intended to turn slightly to port as we left, heading up the simple canal (to the left of the photo) we had travelled the day before with Paul and Marianne (the previous owners). This day however, the wind was coming from that direction, and blew us to the extent we could not make the turn. So, the Helm (in this instance Ian) decided to let the wind have its way, and instead make a broad turn starboard, and loop around the three-way junction and then head out.

Poor decision.

The perspectives on what followed vary slightly. Helm/Crew differ somewhat in their recollections.

The wind prevented any sort of sharp turn. Barges have lots of windage, and no keel, so they are almost at the mercy of a breeze. Thus, as we started the starboard turn, we were drifting right towards the Havenmaster’s cruiser – with him watching.

Encouraged by voluble commentary/useful suggestions from Crew, Helm turned harder.

This allowed us to miss the Havenmaster comfortably/by a whisker. With the wheel pretty much hard over, we now headed as intended/careered towards the vessels on the other side of the junction, just up from from where we had been moored.

Paul and Marianne were watching.

Paul was shouting lots of encouragement/advice – usefully in Dutch. Marianne had her hands over her eyes. Crew however, was now waving gaily/screaming in panic to the onlookers.

Calmly/as desperate last resort, Helm ‘put the pedal to the metal’, and we cruised neatly/scraped past the line of cruisers – and headed up the canal confidently/a shaking nervous wreck along our originally intended route.

Neo Vita heading up the canal, taken by Paul and Marianne on shore.
Neo Vita heading up the canal, taken by Paul and Marianne on shore.

First of many lessons!


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    7 Responses

  1. Great description of an event that by now must be amusing. For us readers it certainly is

    1. Yes, great to look back on these events. Hope we continue to be lucky while we are learning!

  2. Hi, We had the same thing happen with Noorderzon, on Google Earth she was in Medemblik, and I have just checked, she still their, but on Street maps she is in Hoorn. I suppose the saterlite is quicker than the little man in the van.
    In actual fact she in Harlingen, getting ready for our first cruise.
    And as I’m sitting on her now, I know this to be true.
    Happy Chugging, may see you on our travels, as we plan to go to Groningen sometime in April.

    1. Small world! Perhaps Neo Vita and Noorderzon were moored in Medemblik together some time last year.

      We’ll not be leaving Groningen until July, so we should keep our eyes out for you. Let us know if there is a blog or something we can follow to find out where you are. We’ve been watching your FB postings, and seems you have a very nice barge, and good history. Hope we catch up sometime.

  3. Very small, we put down the deposit on Noorderzon late September, she was at that time on the far side of the Canal from where Neo Vita is in your picture.
    I was checking on her everyday from the UK, as the yacht club webcam just showed her on her mooring.
    I did start a Blog, but have been a bit busy sorting out moving out here, and doing some much needed alterations to the master bedroom on Noorderzon.
    But I will start it again before we begin our cruising.

  4. I have just been looking at the pictures given to me by the Brokers, and Neo Vita is in the background, It was taken on the 22nd of October 2013.
    So yes they were both their together.

    1. Cool.

      I’ve been looking closer at Noorderzon, and she is the first barge I’ve seen with ‘low’ portholes. I’m interested because, with some trepidation, we agreed to have a pair of portholes cut in ‘Neo Vita’s’ bow to provide ventilation to a small bedroom we are having installed at the moment. We thought it might look strange, but I’m comforted that, although you have many more, it does not look untoward on Nooderzon.

      And BTW, a photo of Noorderzon that we captured about a month before you arrived, while we spent a night in Medemblik before going to find Neo Vita.
      Eurmacs see Noorderzon

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