Where are the holiday snaps?
To come, if we have time – but we are so far behind with the cruising aspects, that we are concentrating on that material first.
Here’s a taster anyhow:
The same as the last one.
retracing last year
G & G had about ten days more to spend with us, after we returned from Germany/Austria. and were all very keen to get to Amsterdam. We had travelled along this route last year, so we decided to pick up the higlights and try to get towards Amsterdam, or even beyond, as this would be a convenient spot to drop into the city, and set us up for the next phase of Catharina’s cruise after G & G leave.
Graham and Ian changed the fuel filters and cleaned the air filter on the main engine. They had some concerns with the setup that they saw on disassembly, but everything worked fine after the servicing.
It was also a good opportunity to apply the letters for Catharina’s home port – Wormerveer. We had worked hard to get ourselves an address there so it could go on her papers, and so we were keen to get this success displayed in tangible form.
Ian hung off the stern and applied the letters one by one to the ‘boeisel’ and despite our old lady having a bit of dimply backside, the result was excellent.
Next, as the weather was not too bad, it was time for some underwater checks. Ian had bought his mask and flippers for this purpose (and in case of rope snags around the propellor) so on with the bathers for the first swim in the canals of Europe. The main aim was to check the draught, quoted at 1.25 m in our sale documents, and with the stick held flush against the lowest part of the hull (the ‘skeg’ next to the rudder, and breath held, the stick showed that 1.25 was just about right.
Then Ian did some checking of the operation of the rear spud pole; how it moved out of the opening under the hull as it was dropped, and satisfied with that, emerged from the canal – very muddy.
Luckily we were filling the tank with water at the time, so were able to give him a solid hosing down before he was allowed anywhere near us or Catharina.
On the road again
First on the list was a trip to Giethoorn – the ‘Venice of the North’ but first we traveled, in rainy weather to the town of Blokzijl. This is a pretty port, and has a nice sized lock, with a bit of a rise/fall – to give a better idea of what it is like in a country like France. It also has a nice brasserie right beside the lock so you can relax and watch the activity. So first we went through the lock, observed by the patrons, and found a quiet mooring for the night just outside the harbour.
Then we trotted back into town and took our places at the afore-mentioned brasserie and watched some more boats come through the lock. It was also time to try the next round of beers – so much choice and nowhere near enough time to make a dent in the massive selection. By this time Graham was doing plenty of the roping with Lisette giving close supervision. He had also been starting to take the helm. Gillian was holding ropes also, and running alongside taking photos.
Next day we were off to Giethoorn, so back into the harbour and through the lock in the other direction. Ian and I had visited Giethoorn last year and thought it very beautiful, so we were keen to take others there. The afternoon was warm and sunny, so it was no hardship to stroll along the canal, and stop for a beer (naturally) and a bite to eat, seated right beside the canal. It is hard to do justice to this place with any photographs, but here are a couple…
The old town is only accessible by water – very narrow canals, where you can hire small boats to take yourself through – or walking, which is what we chose to do. Very steep wooden bridges allow you to cross from one side to another, the senses assaulted with vibrant, colourful gardens, and neat, thatched-roof houses, bordered by bright green perfectly-manicured lawns that run down to the water’s edge. If you think this sounds a little storybook perfect, you would be correct.
We had already decided we would not stay the night here so we took off to see what we might find. First choice was some moorings in a nearby lake system, but there was nothing left that late in the afternoon. So we continued on, and came across a set of pylons near a small, inaccessible lake. Hence we had ourselves a wild, not to mention, free mooring.
G & G explored a little, after we set up ropes to hang onto, and put the gangplank across to the island.
The following morning, a group of beautiful horses came to drink just behind us – our own Mustang Sallies.
And back through the lock at Blokzijl for the third time. While waiting for our turn in the lock, we were joined by a lovely big ginger tom who tried repeatedly to board. When it was time to untie our ropes and enter the lock, he hung onto the ropes, swinging up in the air! Nice and friendly as he was, we couldn’t take him with us.
Approaching a bridge at Vollenhove, I remembered from last year that it is unmanned, and you have to call to ask for it to be lifted. Pretty pleased with myself, I successfully navigated a complicated automated phone system (completely in Dutch) while Ian kept the boat hovering. As we cruised away, we heard a booming voice reprimand a small boat that was attempting to go though the raised bridge, while the lights were against it! So they are watching, even if they are not sitting in a high box at the bridge itself.
We pressed on and finally decided we would moor up wild once more, again against pilings with no land access. So we had essentially been off the land for about two days. We still had plenty of beer, wine and cheese on Catharina, so this was not an inconvenience.
And onto Elburg, one of my favourite places from last year. G & G got to see a different aspect of locks. The Roggebotsluis on the way there, where the rise/fall is a mere 15 cm, but this lock is a lot busier. Last year, we had a chap playing the guitar in the boat in front of us – sadly, no serenade this time.
We had planned our cruise to arrive pretty early, around 1 pm, but Elburg was busy and almost packed. We cruised slowly down and finally saw a faint possibility. This saw Ian’s most masterful mooring yet! With Graham and I on ropes, and some assistance from a guy already tied up (no bollards to lasso, only metal rings set into the boardwalk – and you can’t get a rope through those without getting off your boat) we managed to get 19.75 m of Catharina into 20 m of space. Without so much as touching either of the two boats moored fore and aft. Passersby stop to watch this all the time – I’m pretty sure we could sell tickets if we wanted to!
We split up in Elberg, the boys went touristing, into a church and climbed 352 steps for a view of the old town,
and the girls took off to buy some gifts.
Keen to give G & G some time in Amsterdam before they had to return home, we decided to leave Elburg early the next morning, and take a long cruise towards, then through Amsterdam and continue on to Zaandam, a town about 8 km north of the city.
But that story will keep for the next rainy day…
An amazing thing to do with your life.
Great scenic shots.
Looking good, you have had a better time of it than us, got off to a bad start, being knocked over by a cyclist in April, hit and ride, which has left me needing new hip, so everything is a struggle, but we have had a few days cruising, currently on a wilde mooring near Dokkum, on our way to winter residence in Groningen.
keep on cruising
Gary & Jill