|Wacky lifting bridge|
|Kalessin in Leeuwarden|
|Cows and horses on the Lauwersmeer|
|Fish smoking sheds at Zoutkamp|
|Serious culture in Groningen - the modern art museum|
|Kalessin in Groningen|
We left Leeuwarden at 9am and spent the morning on pretty (and of course shallow) canals, heading towards Dokkum. We reached the edge of Dokkum just in time for the bridge lunch break and for me to rush into town to find a supermarket, and then rush out again as the nearest one was actually a couple of hundred metres further out of town than Kalessin. (fortunately the supermarket was air conditioned or I would have melted). I rushed back to the boat just in time for the first bridge lift, but we didn't make it as we were stuck on the mud. Reversing out of the berth finally got us off and into the centre of town.
On our brief encounter, the centre of Dokkum is charming, but the deeper berths set aside for yachts were not quite so charming, and after a brief lunch stop we decided to press on. Excitingly, we passed a boat fuelling stop where we were able to fill up with diesel and water - probably the first canalside filling station we've used since St-Jean-de-Losne in 2008.
Now we're in a pretty, tree-ringed marina at the entrance to the Lauwersmeer. It's so hot we have rigged the canopy, possibly also for the first time since 2008 (which must be why we argued about it), and we both went swimming in the peaty brown water.
Miles covered today: 21. In a straight line from Leeuwarden: 15 miles.
Fortunately pilot book author Brian Navin, who up to now has always proved totally reliable if not exactly chatty, recommends an alternative route on bigger canals. We will report back tomorrow, but the thought of retracing our steps and heading out into the North Sea is very depressing.
We are taking the standing-mast route across Friesland. It's not very speedy because it goes under a lot of lifting bridges and it also goes round in some rather random loops to avoid fixed bridges as it gets further north. However today we covered 17 miles in the general direction of Denmark, mostly sailing with just the jib, on a day when the IJsselmeer would have been grim and the North Sea utterly horrible. It has rained most of the day, on and off, it's cold and it has been gusting up to 18 knots or so.
We last visited Sneek in our Winkle Brig, which was a gaff-rigged trailer-sailer, 18 years ago when Ben was just four months old. We launched it from the De Domp marina on the north side of town, and the owners were really helpful and brought us cups of tea with lovely Dutch teaspoons, while we struggled with rigging the Winkle Brig in the hot sunshine, and dealing with a three-year-old and a baby. The Winkle Brig was just nine inches deep with her centreboards up, but nowadays we draw 5ft 6in and sadly we can't get into De Domp to see if they remember us.
That was a memorable holiday. At one point it rained hard without stopping for 36 hours, which is tough for two adults and two very small children on a 17ft boat. On the other hand with our tiny draft and lowering mast we could visit a lot of Friesland which we won't see this time around. I'm not even sure if we will recognise anywhere. But it's nice to be here, and hot sunshine is promised for tomorrow....
We are currently in Lemmer, which is basically a large village with a canal through the centre and at least 10 marinas. In France this would never be permitted, a single municipal or centralised authority would control the whole lot. But the Dutch believe deeply in free enterprise. I think we are in Jacht Haven Lemmer, but it was really a question of finding a free hammerhead where we could easily tie up and find some kind of harbourmaster.
The iJsselmeer likes to remind innocent sailors that it is not a sheltered lake but a proper sea, capable of being scary. We left Enkhuizen in sunshine and a light breeze but with a very dark cloud approaching. As the cloud approached it brought 20 knots of wind, from almost astern. We logged more than 9 knots on the log before deciding that discretion was the better part of valour and lowering the mainsail. Under jib alone our speed dropped to around 6.5 knots and the squall gradually overtook us, bringing lots more nice rain to wash the decks again.
Two successes though. Sam has encapsulated the starboard cockpit speaker in three layers of expensive American anti-magnetic insulation (plus about 10 layers of gaffer tape) and the autopilot now works. Also our even more expensive boom brake did an excellent job of preventing jibes.
Lemmer is a curious place. We found a Lidl, next to it a Super de Boer, and next to that an Aldi. It's not often you find a town with a supermarket quarter.
One noticeable change on our return to the Netherlands is that whereas two weeks ago the roads were edged with dry scrub, now they have lush green grass which has to be trimmed by men with strimmers. Clearly this rain has been going on for some time. The problem is obviously that we can't remember how to deal with it.
Unusually, today I am broadly in favour of setting off and Sam wants to stay. I feel that if we don't get going we may never go at all.
The coot is still sitting on her eggs under our pontoon. The grebe's nest, which was under construction right next to the coot's nest when we left, has vanished completely. Maybe the coot chased it off, or it got disrupted when the adjacent yacht left its mooring.
I like Enkhuizen, but I do hope we're not still here when the coot's eggs hatch.....
|WindGuru's view of the GFS model for Defzijl. Image added from the MacBook (I'm not qualified to do PhotoShopping on the iPhone)|
|This is the Westerkerk...|
|...and here's the view.|
|Camilla in Edam|
|Atalanta jams into the Edam lock|