Haarlem to Amsterdam and beyond

Monday 26th June – Last bridges

Haarlem, looking back the way we came in

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 office where you pay your toll but as it was a woman I knew for sure she had not been responsible. I told the tale and tried to wangle a free passage through, but I think I was too nice about it and she chose to take my request as a joke. 
3.50 euros.

Pay the toll but duck as you leave

We had allowed plenty of time for the big motorway bridge at Spaarndam because if you miss an opening you wait hours. Just ask my sister Ali and her husband – they flew out to join us for a brief visit once and spent a large chunk of their precious break tied up to some staging in the River Spaarn listening to the thunder of traffic on the motorway. 6 lanes of motorway traffic on the A9 are halted just 3 times a day to let yachts through into the North Sea Canal.

This time we got it right (sorry Ali, we are learning). Time for a leisurely lunch but no more, and then we are on our way to the big city.

Another photo of our chart plotter this time showing the volume of shipping in the approach to Amsterdam. It's not all on the move of course but each purple triangle is a vessel with its instruments turned on and most of them are a lot bigger than us and a lot bigger than they look on this display. The data comes from AIS and there's an offset you're supposed to adjust so that the purple triangular "target" shows up at the bow of your vessel, not where your transponder is which might be amidships or at the stern. Many of these ships and river barges haven't set it up properly, so the "target" that shows half a mile away round the corner in a side canal can in fact suddenly emerge and be almost upon you.

Token shot of modern urban architecture

Grand Central station is right on the river

Collective noun for bikes? Puzzle for you Andy Manktelow

A fluster of ferries? We were happy to see 2 go in and one leave just now so we can scurry past

Collective noun for river cruise ships?

We have stopped right opposite the station a couple of times before - in the Sixhaven marina - but we are not looking for the city experience this time so we motor on past to the big locks called Oranjesluis, one last bridge after that, and then the sky clears and the sun comes out for our arrival at the little village of Durgerdam just around the next corner.



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