Monday, August 03, 2009

Sadly heading home

Last week Sam's cousin Helen complained of a headache and went to hospital. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour and died over the weekend. So we're returning home with all speed so that, hopefully, Sam can get to the funeral which will be in Guernsey where Helen lived.

Slight change of plan therefore, as when we heard we had just reached Dordrecht which ironically was our furthest point from the sea. After the Amsterdam night convoy we were a bit weary and decided to spend Saturday at a very pleasant marina on the Brassemermeer - we arrived about 10.30am and felt like wimps beside the Dutch people who were planning to carry on south all day. However we made up for it on Sunday when we made part of a new convoy of yachts heading south on the standing mast route, missed the rail bridge at Gouda by about three minutes and someone in the group persuaded them to make an extra opening, just for us. So we pressed on through numerous bridges and reached Dordrecht around 6pm.

Not a good arrival, although it's a delightful little harbour we last visited five years ago in Magewind. We managed to hit our neighbour's boat with our anchor as we arrived, chipping their expensive gelcoat. The Lavac failed entirely, leaving us with a blocked loo and no onboard facilities. And then Sam got the news about Helen.

Today we did a non-stop run through the Delta to Colijnsplaat, whence we hope to depart tomorrow for the UK - so far, the forecast looks pretty good. Non-stop... except for the immensely slow locks on either side of the Volkerak lake. Our neighbour in Dordrecht suggested we should leave from Stellendam instead, as it would save about four hours on the passage, and I'm sure he was right, but I have no information about North Sea passages from Stellendam which takes you straight into the inshore traffic zone and then to the dreaded Noord Hinder traffic scheme. So we went with the devil we know and headed for Colijnsplaat.

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