Showing posts from June, 2017

Haarlem to Amsterdam and beyond

Monday 26th June – Last bridges

Haarlem is quite pretty in the centre and we have an early walkabout. The two red lights on the bridge picture above indicate that there's no service and that's because we're up and about so early.
Once the bridge service starts up we are able to leave Haarlem fairly swiftly.  The only bridge we've ever paid a toll for is on the way out of Haarlem. (Strictly the toll is for the lock). It's also the only bridge that has started closing down on us when we had a green light to pass. That was in 2014 and we've never met anyone else that this has happened to – except of course for Alan who was next to us then on his Yarmouth 23. We had no damage (though we weren't completely sure of that until we took the mast down the following winter) but Alan had moved off first and he lost his aerial before the cries and whistles of those behind us alerted the bridge operator.
I wouldn't have recognised the man even if he had been in the…

Navigation, steam, Haarlem

Sunday 25th June – to Haarlem – 11.6nm
We're following what is known as the Staande Mastroute, or mast-up route, north through the Netherlands. To guide us we have an excellent publication from the ANWB, unfortunately in a now rather out-of-date edition. The charts are usable although some new bridges have been built since our 2009 edition was published. Goudaaksebrug just south of Gouda wasn't in our book and nor was the Amaliabrug just to the north. Some bridges have new names just to confuse us (such as the Kaagbrug where we spent last night, which used to be called the Sassenheim) and the timetables for the bridge openings are often out of date too. It's been updated once in pencil (when we used it in 2014) and now we're using it in conjunction with a pdf file of up-to-date bridge timetables on Howard's mobile phone. Laborious but it seems to be working.

The blue boxes show yacht harbours and clubs suitable for stopovers and the red boxes are bridge timetable…

More bridges, more traffic

Sat 24th June – to Alphen an der Rhein and then on to the Kaag – 17.3nm
We had left the Hollandse Ijssel river now and were on the Gouwe which passes through some very wet country. A lot of the land around here is very low polder, reclaimed years ago from big old salty lakes and constantly being drained, but my photo of the chart plotter as we approached Boskoop shows it particularly soggy looking.

Bridges can get a bit repetitive to wait around for on a windy day, and also pretty dull to read about I imagine, so we'll gloss over those. After one of them, in the centre of Alphen an der Rhein, we stopped to have a look around and do some shopping.

It looks a small waterway and most of the traffic is leisure boats, but even on a Saturday something bigger can appear.

From the largest to the smallest users of the waterway: unless she's been cradle snatching from her chums this lucky duck appears to have brought a brood of 14 into the world. They won't all survive of course bu…

Heatwave and a poo tank

Thur 22nd to Fri 23rd June - Sweltering in Gouda
We'd had poo tank issues back in Calais as was recorded earlier in this blog. Howard had discovered a leak and had decommissioned the tank pending repairs. He needed to insert a through-hull type fitting into the bottom of the tank to replace the plastic spigot which had failed. With this in mind he'd had a 48mm hole saw delivered to Ostend by friends but had put off the work until Gouda where Rik has his boatyard. I don't think he dreamt he'd be doing this crappy job in such a heat – 30 degrees plus is hardly ideal for working below deck on plumbing, and dirty plumbing at that.

In case you thought I was just lounging about in the sunshine while he did this – well you wouldn't be far wrong really, though I did have some OGA work to do and other correspondence to catch up on. All this took a couple of days: Rik and Edith must have wondered why we didn't take a little boat out sailing on the lakes as we have done…

Bridge dash, and an invitation

Wed 21st June - To Gouda 17.6 nm
Jules and Ad came to see us off from Dordrecht and took some photos as we headed off across the Oude Maas from the Wijnhaven. Here are her pics (thank you Jules):

We had timed it right for the opening schedule of the first bridge on our way, the Ablasserdam bridge, which duly held up the traffic to let us through.

However the next hurdle was the bridge at Algerasluis which closes after the 15.20 opening until 19.20. We had allowed an hour, but it turned out we were pushing our luck, and our engine against the current to make this in time. We passed some interesting ships on the way to distract us from our slower than hoped for progress.

We approached the Algerasluis bridge at full speed and called them up, rather disingenuously asking for the time of the next opening. We received confirmation of the 15.20 and no discouragement, so we ploughed on and were there with a couple of minutes to spare.
After that it was easy going up the Hollandse Ijssel riv…

To Dordrecht via Oud-Beijerland

Monday 19th -Tuesday 20th June

It's just 8 miles from our mooring up the River Spui to Oud-Beijerland and then just under 12 more miles the following day to be tucked up cosy in Dordrecht. We're still in familiar territory here so there are gaffer friends wherever we go. Or rather we are stopping wherever there are gaffer friends...

Some sights along the way:

Oud-Beijerland is a good place to stop - the harbour is in the town with lots of shops (and bars) around. Anneke and Kees live near here and we see their gaffer Snoopy in the harbour. Kees is away working but Anneke joins us on board for a barbeque and we spend a very jolly evening - if rather hot!

Then next morning onward to Dordrecht. We're on bigger rivers now - the Oude Maas junction here is the busiest junction for river traffic in all of Europe - or so they say.