Sunday, June 28, 2015

And finally...

Zierikzee was, as ever, delightful. We thought of our friends Richard and Cathy whose new Arcona is too big to fit under the fixed Roompotsluis bridge, but who love Zierikzee. I bought two waterproof cushions for our cockpit, then we all went out for a very nice group meal and spent far too much time trying to answer very difficult quiz questions - Ben and I won a Harken drybag, which perhaps we might use sometime.

We left Zierikzee at lunchtime on Saturday after a pleasant morning and a supermarket shop for me. It was a rather boring motor straight into about 12 knots of westerly breeze, but at least we had the compensation of seeing a race, probably part of Delta week, coming towards us with the wind behind them. You can see jolly spinnakers anywhere, but it was rather wonderful seeing the traditional boats flying every single tablecloth and pocket handkerchief they had on board, including water sails I have never seen in use before.

Roompot Marina is big and modern and has not a lot on offer, apart from its very convenient location for departure from the Roompotsluis and a nice beach. It's surrounded by a holiday village but most importantly from our point of view is convenient from the Neeltje Jans Delta Expo, which we have failed to visit on numerous occasions despite sailing past it at least three times and, on our last sailing visit here, motoring past it in a hire car when we went from Vlissingen to Stellendam to see Guy in 2011.

It was an expensive day out - €55 a head including a coach there and back, coffee and apple cake, a guided tour of the expo and visit to an actual storm sluice, lunch and an afternoon in the rather tired Delta park. The expo includes a lecture and film about the 1953 floods and how they led to the whole Delta scheme, including the closure of the Veersemeer and Grevelingenmeer, and the late decision to leave the Oosterschelde open to the tides to retain the marine wildlife. The visit to the storm barrier was impressive, and Sam managed a staircase down to the viewing platform where you can see all the mechanisms and a storm barrier ready to lower. They only go down when a tide of more than 3m is forecast and in many years that doesn't happen at all. In addition because they were built to deal with very high tides, any rise in sea level as a result of climate change shouldn't have any effect until well after the expected life of the barrage, some 200 years. All fascinating and I'm glad we have finally seen it.

Then back to the marina to passage plan and compare notes with all the other departing crews, which started with a dispute over the time of high tide - there was some suggestion it was around 11am, which is clearly (I think) not the case, as high water was around midnight at Zierikzee on Friday when I brought Sam back to the boat, and we are now three days further on. Also both my tide tables and two different apps say 1400-ish. However I know nothing, and will let others go their own way. It looks as though we will be last out of here, as I want to take a fair tide out into the North sea and that really doesn't happen until about 3pm. A number of others are taking the morning tide with departure at 5am, but the other factor for us is that the light northwesterlies (boo) are due to die away and go easterly tomorrow evening, so although we will probably have to motor we should at least get a fair wind for part of the way. Even Travelling Light, which is heading for the Deben, goes down to Oostende tomorrow - they are talking about making the most of the easterlies on Wednesday but I'm seeing gusts up to 25 knots forecast for the UK side, and I'd rather motor in nothing than deal with force 6 plus, especially with Sam on board.

Definitely time for bed now, I need to go and do some worrying....

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