Departure Sassenheim 30 June
Finally sailing again . . . . After a long winter with three extra months of work, everything has to be back in order and the budget has been increased again. I leave on Sunday 30 June from my winter port Jonkman in Sassenheim with destination Denmark.
I opted for the upright mast through Amsterdam and on Monday I sailed out of the Oranjesluizen (Orange Locks) in the direction of Stavoren. What initially seemed a relaxed crossing with wind 4 from w/zw, eventually became uncomfortable due to the rising wind up to 6-7. The Asmara was booming again and I had the feeling I wasn’t ready for it yet. With only a full Genoa I headed straight for Enkhuizen, which made me decide not to go any further because the stretch of Enkhuizen pavements would not get any better. South of the Naviduct I decided to anchor in turbulent water, but knowing that during the night the wind would turn north and reduce to force 3. Once anchored I even felt slightly seasick, a bite to eat did not refresh me. I turned on the top light and lay down on my bed and turned on a washing, but I didn’t feel like hanging it outside, so I did that inside. It remained restless where I lay, but the anchor held well. I went to sleep with a telephone as anchor watch next to my bed.
Tuesday 2-7-19 Warns
I woke up at 0700 and felt fine again, had cleaned up, had breakfast and weighed anchor at 0900.
Now on the stretch Enkhuizen-Stavoren, wind indeed North 3, so no sail and crossing on the engine. Moored in Warns on marrekrite.
Wednesday 3-7-19 Warns – Akkrum MK
I woke up at 07.00, tried to get some more sleep, but that didn’t work out at 08.00 and made a nice English breakfast. Eggs, Bacon, tomatoes, white beans and toast and coffee, delicious. It suddenly occurred to me that when I was working on the engine a month ago, I still had to tension the V-belts of the dynamo, they were too loose. So now I have to do that before I leave and get into trouble later on. So I searched for open floor tools and tensioned the V-belts. That went rather smoothly, at 1000 hours I went back to Sneekermeer, to a marrekrite east of the lake and south of Akkrum, a 4 hour trip. Arrival 14.30. I always had a nice spot there, but of course there was already a motorboat, but the boat was squeezed in front of it so the jetty was now full. When those people leave I move up a bit and have a private spot for myself again. A bit selfish perhaps but so nice, there are still plenty of moorings available in the neighbourhood, but not where you are so sheltered and a nice lawn in front of the door. Tonight I am watching the women’s World Championships in the Netherlands and Sweden, I hope they get through, but then the USA and that’s not waiting for the queen either. First a beer and then a sandwich.
Friday 5-7-19 Akkrum MK
Today I have just started to repaint the cabin. First I took a look and measured one of the solar panels, which I suspect no longer works. And indeed only 0.1Volt in the sun. So demolish it. This was another one of the panels from 2008 that was put on the roof incorrectly, well I could see that I could subtract it. And what a rust underneath. So get to work to get rid of all that rust, then sand it and put 2 components of primer on the steel. Then putty and sand again. Tonight we went to the women’s World Cup match England – Sweden for women, looking for the 3rd place. Tough match, the Swedes won 2-1.
Sunday 7-7-19 Akkrum MK
The few boats that were moored here have left me again, I am now all alone again, wonderful. Today I first sand the plastered roof and prepare the painter. The roof is now ready to be painted, but the weather is not so bad, it splashes every now and then. It is also a lot colder. Yesterday I baked my first sandwich a Swedish white bread, delicious with butter and chocolate granules and also with strawberries which are miraculously still good, since I left. In the meantime, I contacted Solara in Germany, who sent me a replacement at a courtesy price for the previous solar panel, which had broken down due to the regulator closing. Now they had a last panel of my kind lying around and I was allowed to have it for EUR 349,- (new 550,-) So arranged for this panel to be sent to the shipyard in Akkrum where I will be mooring my boat next week to collect it. So tonight it will be on or under for the Orange Lionesses against the USA. I will be curious, but it will not be easy. In any case, they are already assured of a 2nd place and the men will have to imitate that.
It was a nice game, but unfortunately in the second half a counter goal by penalty and later on a counter goal. So with 0-2 a second place on the World Championship. Also a great result.
Monday 8-7-19 Akkrum MK
The weather really does not last now. For the time being, there will be no flagging or a nice sunny day in between. 15 degrees and 17.5 inside the boat. Completely cloudy and no sun to see. I hope it gets better soon. In May we had 35+
Thursday 11-7-2019 Akkrum Watersport ver. AWS (Eendracht)
The day started grey again. Temperature just 16 degrees. The downpour radar gave me a picture. Big disturbance over Friesland with explanations in the afternoon. So as soon as it rained less I decided to sail to Akkrum. There was always my new solar panel and no more bread and yogurt, now I can make it all by myself but I have to go to Akkrum anyway. So at 11.30 am I disconnected and on to Akkrum. My spot at the AWS was occupied by a small sailing boat, moored near the campsite “Tuske de Marren” (Between the lakes). After that I made a detour to the AWS and Jachtwerf Oost who had received my solar panel. The small sailing boat would leave tonight so I was allowed to put a pawn on that spot with a reservation on it. In any case I will be on a spot where I won’t be rammed by a rental boat like last year. Tomorrow someone will come via Markplaats to buy one of the rings for a manhole tank (which I hadn’t used) for 200,- so my half boat has been paid for again.
Wednesday 17-7-19 Akkrum MK SN17C
A lot has happened again in the past week. Because I had to do some business with Jachtwerf Oost, I was allowed to reduce the demurrage of AWS de Eendracht from 12 to 10 euros per day. From the dinghy a rubber dinghy of 2.65 mtr. the front room kept leaking. Several times with soapsuds all seams sucked off for leakage. What I found were just a few tiny pinholes and all in awkward places like seams. Now it happened that Jachtwerf Oost had an occasion Talamex boat from 1 year old with another 1 year guarantee for the price of 575,- euro. I made the decision and bought this boat, but not after I put my old boat on the market for 150,- with the announcement of the leakage. Within an hour I had sold it to two ladies from Akkrum. So now I had a boat as good as new, which is still on the Internet for new 850,-. I also tackled a number of small problems. The water tank leaked when I filled it up and let it go outside. A lot of water then ran into a space in front of the tank. This turned out to have two causes. The first was an angled brass swivel on top of the tank with a plastic connection in it, it was just below the kitchen floor and when standing on the floor on the spot it bent so much that it eventually pressed on the swivel and it tore. These were replaced by a full metal one, which was also lowered a bit. I also fitted a wooden bobbin so that the floor couldn’t bend anymore. The second problem was the connection of the filling opening, this hose was leaking. hose removed, connection sanded clean and reassembled but now with two clamps. Problem solved. When checking my navigation lights the top light didn’t work. The nice thing about that system is that a buzzer goes off when the lamp is broken or gets no power, fortunately this was the last one. The mast connector connection was completely weathered. So at the Yacht yard we bought a new plug and contra, this one mounted and voilà, works again. Of course we also did some shopping, especially fresh and window shopping. When I am working in the engine room at any time (Monday) I hear a sound of a bow thruster very loud and close by. By the time I’m outside I just see a motorboat sailing away close to my hull, so I immediately check if I have any damage but soon I didn’t see anything. Then I hear a man from the next boat shouting at me “he’s hit your boat, I’ll warn him to come back”. But the boat in question had already passed through the bridge. And because I could not notice any damage so soon, I left it that way.
A quarter of an hour later Wolter Oost, the owner of the shipyard of the same name, comes to me with a note with a 06 number on it. This man called me, said Wolter and said that he asked the boat to go back to you for damage. When I call these people they say for sure that he sat against me, the boat name was Mistral a rental boat, so I take my rubber boat and slide along the outside and yes hoot 50 cm on the bumper the paint is gone and the putty is visible. While I am searching on the internet for a rental company with that boat name, a co-worker from Oost comes to me with a paper with the rental company on it and a picture of the boat. When they call the rental company they confirm that the Mistral has rented out their boat to, how could it be otherwise, Germans. They ask me to take a picture and send them my details. So I did all that, they accept the liability. Also my insurance, the painter where my boat was sprayed in Sept. 2018 has been copied. The circus can start again. GGrrrrrr! I’m going to get out of here soon because this is an evil place and none of these tenants can handle a boat. So I’m off to my trusted marrekrite SN17C 5 km south of Akkrum. Now there is still a big job ahead of me, the cabin roof was already painted but now the rest of the cabin and the gangway.
The weather is going to be warm for the next 1 1/2 week, lots of sun and dry. I want to be ready and tidy by the end of July at the latest to continue on my way to Denmark, but I have to succeed. So get to work now. It is certainly not lazy with a boat all the time. Now I also have to schedule a visit for the painter in Heeg, because I want to have it done properly, in the end the insurance now pays 100%.
I am still lying on the same Marrekrite and now I am busy with de-rusting, applying primer, filling, sanding and finally lacquering the rest of the cabin and the running deck. A diabolical job again. Now I can already hear the sceptics buzzing about jobs and sanding in nature. But I reassure you, I use a sanding machine that extracts the dust and every grain that doesn’t go in is regularly wiped up and deposited in a rubbish bag. The weather is with me, except today, a lot outside those covers. But a human being should have a rest day once in a while. So I made good use of it, started the generator, baked bread, adapted the Eagles DVD and converted it to MP4 and last but not least, of course, updated the website. As of tomorrow, the weather will be fine again next week with lots of sunshine, so that will have to work hard because I want to go on to Denmark by the end of July at the latest. The marrekrite SN17C is as the crow flies about 5 km south of Akkrum and 2 km east of the Sneekermeer. Because it is not on a real sailing route and this particular MK is also in a shallow cul-de-sac, I am moored here on a beautiful new synthetic jetty, with its own lawn next to it and a reed collar, so that you are sheltered from West and NW winds. I can walk up the dyke and walk a long way along the meadows, which I have already done. On the dike there are also sheep that sometimes just come to look at the boat and behind a fence close by the cows. Simba thinks they are weird big animals.
Monday 29-07-2019 MK SN17C – Akkrum
The painter’s job is done, time to move on. I am sailing to Akkrum again for another message, but mainly to complain about my dinghy that I bought at Jachtwerf Oost, because this dinghy also runs empty at the front. I had already mentioned this at the time of purchase. When I arrived at the shipyard Wolter Oost called Talamex and told him his story. After an hour I got that this boat was already known to Talamex and that they were going to send me a new one. So now I have a nice new dinghy with a two-year warranty.
Wednesday, 31 July Akkrum – Burdaard (Frl.)
Just to be on the safe side, I still tank 100 ltr of diesel at East and now I have 345 ltr on board. After all, you don’t want to get stranded in the sight of the harbour in Helgoland, for which I need about another 100 ltr. The trip goes via Grou to Leeuwarden. When I arrived in Leeuwarden I quickly walked to the Blokker because my bags for my freezer dealer had run out and since I hope to catch a lot of cod and plaice I had to vacuum-pack them into the freezer. After the peak closure of the bridges I sail through Leeuwarden. Incidentally, where you always had to pay 7 euros at the second bridge for passing all the bridges in Leeuwarden, this is no longer necessary. Once through Leeuwarden, I sail up the Dokummer Ee in a north-easterly direction, to Dokkum. But it’s already late and I won’t get that far. As expected at this time of day about 18.00 hours the marrekrites are already packed, it is of course high season now. Normally I sail through there in May. So I decide to continue to Burdaard, there is enough construction there.
Once we arrive in Burdaard, the bridge is already double red, which means closed. I was there at 7.45 p.m. and my details said that it would run until 8 p.m. at this time, so not now. So it was moored on the side in front of the bridge. The village of Burdaard stretches along both banks of the Dokkumer Ee. It has two bridges where you have to pay EUR 3.50 for passage. Between those bridges there is a small harbour/camping site where I can spend the night for 8,-. So tomorrow. The same harbour master and miller also comes here to collect mooring fees. In that old saw mill you can buy bread flour in all kinds of varieties. I do that every year when I pass by there. The village also has a bakery, supermarket, greengrocer, cafes, snack bar and two churches.
The next day, when I go into the harbour and moor, it turns out that the campsite is overcrowded with campers and 1 tent. There is still some money with the people, such a camper costs between 50-100.000 euro. As usual, Simba jumps off the boat before I am laid out. Now I had the plan to continue to Dokkum on Friday, where I didn’t have my credit card blocked because of an internet transaction I didn’t trust. And that gives me the following problem. Every month, Apple’s bills are debited from that card (iCloud, apps etc.) so waiting until October was not an option for me. I phoned them if they wanted to send the new card to a primera point in Dokkum, but they couldn’t, they had to send it to their home address in Leiden. The card that is sent and hasn’t been activated yet (I have to do that myself via internet) can in my opinion easily be sent. Anyway, it will take three working days so hopefully on Wednesday he will slip into the letterbox. We agreed with Anita that Yentl will send the card to Dokkum, because they are on a business trip from Tuesday. So I’ll stay here until Sunday and then I’ll sail on in the hope that I can pick up my card in Dokkum on Thursday. And then quickly on to Denmark.
Wednesday 7 August 2019 Burdaard – Dokkum
Today we left for Dokkum. Tomorrow my credit card will arrive there at a primera point. Tanja had the idea to come by so I plan to stay in Dokkum until Saturday. On Sunday I can sail on to the Lauwersmeer and spend the night there and on Monday I can go straight to sea. As the weather looks now for sea the weather in week 33 12-18 Aug is good to cross to Norderney and then Helgoland, the predicted wave height is then 2 mtr and the wind 4-5 ZZW. After the foraging in Helgoland (1000ltr diesel and a few boxes of malt witkey) I then decide whether to go via the entire Kiel channel or via the Eider river at Tonning, the latter may be a bit longer in time and time is now starting to push a bit.
Saturday 10 August Dokkum
Today there is a low pressure depression north of the mudflats with isobars lying close together. Resulting hard west wind force 7-8. Of course I am on low shore. On the already not high shore the water is roughened up and there is only 10 cm of rim left to lie against. The fenders that normally hang vertically I had already laid horizontally because they just flop out. The water on the other side is 30cm from the baffle and you don’t lie against it because the boat will be blown off the shore. I tied a small stop will to the underside of the rung of the swim ladder. I hope dot keeps it all. Moving to the other side is not an option because I will never get off this side with this storm without damage. The depression is slowly shifting eastwards, towards Denmark, but tomorrow Sunday there will still be a strong wind. I hope to get away from here tomorrow anyway and I want to move on to the Lauwersmeer to spend one night. From Monday and the following week I want to leave the lock at 0700 in the morning and go out to sea after the depression. The isobars have already cleaned up quite a bit by then. The wind still comes from the west but with force 4. On Sunday I will leave for the Lauwersmeer where I will moor on my regular march. Tomorrow to Norderney.
Monday 12 August Lauwersnmeer – Norderney
The story below is sometimes a bit technical but gives a faithful representation of my situation in the run-up to Norderney.
Before I left, I went over the planning again. The wind would be 5-6 from WZW, the waves 1.7 mtr. To cut off an hour at Norderney I do not follow the regular route but go over the mudflats, the place called the “Schluchter” a threshold where at low tide there is 30 cm of water. Tidal difference between high and low tide is 2,5 mtr. So it is preferable to get there a maximum of 3 hours before or after high tide. The best is always for high tide, because if you get stuck then the water is still rising and you will almost always come loose again quickly. In my situation on Aug 12 was high tide at 22.00, so 3 hours before 19.00 the water has already risen 1.5 mtr, I am 1.25 deep. So my trip in terms of speed has been planned in such a way that I will be there at 19.00. Now I have just left and as usual it all looks calm, the sea just outside the lock is flat with some small rippling waves, but that is outward appearance I know because once outside the islands wind and waves have free play. Once I have arrived at the approach ton of van Schiermonnikoog the gully I am sailing out of, I have to go starboard to Norderney, the boat is running on the vending machine on a route I have planned, so I can see exactly what time I will arrive at the last waypoint I entered. this is all based on the current speed of the Asmara. When I look at what time I am at the “chute” it is exactly 19.00. So far so good. The waves run diagonally from behind and are about 2 mtr high, wind 5-6, all as planned. As I sit at sea for an hour the wind remains stable, but the waves start to build up further, they get longer and deeper. The Asmara starts surfing and starts to lean over her length and transversal axis, which makes rolling very annoying. The fact that I am still doing a number of things makes me feel a slight sense of seasickness. I sit down in my chair and keep calm for a while. The feeling doesn’t go away and the Asmara gets more and more restless every hour. Suddenly, during an extra large wave, my wheel chair tilts backwards a bit, it won’t…???. And yes, somewhere in the attachment on the floor there might be something loose, something I can’t and don’t want to look at right now. So from that moment on I suddenly sit completely differently on my chair, no longer really leaning and no longer putting pressure to the back. So this is a rather cramped situation and with everything I do, my nausea gets worse. I don’t have to think about that chair breaking loose because then I will have to stand on a rolling ship for the next 9 hours. So I am no longer sitting comfortably, I feel pussy, this is how it goes. For a moment I see a dark sky coming up behind me on the right, but if I keep an eye on this for a while I see that it will pass over the islands on the starboard side, so I won’t be bothered by it. So I sail ahead of the wind with only a large genoa of 27 meters. When I look again at my arrival time around 15.00 I see that I am arriving far too early, there is an increasing current. The Asmara sails with 3.7 knots through the water but my ground speed is 7.5. I’m going to take the speed out of the boat because of less engine power, resulting in more and heavier rolling, but the arrival ice is right again. With gusts my sea sickness increases and decreases again.
Because I am sailing right in front of the wind, I tend to want my genoa to go the other way all the time, I solve this by not letting the boat sail on track (followed and planned route line) but on windvane gear. I set this to 165 degrees to port, so now the Asmara no longer follows the track line but the wind direction and keeps the boat at 165 degrees to port in relation to the wind. If now the wind turns, the boat turns with it. But the clapping of a Genoa that wants to go to the other side is gone. So you are unintentionally busy making your trip as comfortable as possible. Around 18.45 I come close to the approach of the “Schluchter”, because of the high waves this is hard to see, but suddenly I spot the green buoy with an interrupted light. That’s right, it’s the approach ton, I have to keep it to starboard when passing. Then three red barrels follow unlit, which I have to keep to port, to finally get safely over the “chute”. With the green ton, I roll into my Genoa, because I do not want to be hindered by a Genoa in the event of a jam, which would only make things worse. I have to go outside while I send in to look at my plotter during the run-up. The rolling and clapping is now considerably worse without the pressure of the sail. Now I have to steer a probable course where I suspect that red tonne, at least that was two years ago, and I take into account the fact that I may not be able to find it because it has shifted in that time. In that case I will search the area as long as I have at least 5 metres of water underneath me.
Plan B is back to the green ton and there to the official route which in these circumstances certainly cost me an extra 2 hours of sailing. I am too busy now to worry about my nausea, although I still feel like shit. Searching and searching I finally find the red barrel and so I have to keep it on port side (keep to my left). There is a heavy current here which makes the waves even more erratic (cross waves) and unpredictable than on open sea, the island is right in front of me with the buildings clearly visible, there are a few people walking on the beach, maybe hoping for a spectacular rescue action, but I won’t give them that hope, but that’s the only spark I hold on to. I am now anxiously keeping an eye on the depth gauge, there is another tonne I have to pass and the third is at the threshold. It is now almost 19.50, which means that the water level is a bit higher again and that is necessary, because a wave easily lifts me two metres and then two more downwards, which is different from sailing over it with a smooth sea surface, so extra margin is now necessary. When I finally cross the threshold at the third tonne, my depth is 3.5 metres below the keel, I have not seen a lower position. Pffftttt! I am now over it to the red/green ton I already see and pick up the existing concrete route around the island towards the harbour. Once inside the docks all the violence of the last 10 hours has disappeared but I will continue to feel nauseous all evening no matter what I eat or drink. Luckily I find a place in a narrow box and 4 hands come to help me with mooring, which I needed without causing any damage.
What have I not done well? I could have known that after a deep depression with winds 7-8 and peaks to 9, the sea would remain turbulent for at least another 24 hours, especially with a forecast of winds 5-6 the next day. But there was a nice weather lock of three days and I wanted to use it every day to continue at once to the Baltic Sea, this can be compared to greed without logical thinking.
Wednesday 14 August Norderney – Heligoland
The weather looks calm, but unstable, which means that there are showers during the day accompanied by thunderstorms. But overall the forecast is wind 4 WZW and wave height from 1 to 1.5 mtr. After a shower has just pulled over the harbour but I let go at 09:00. Once around sea the weather clears up further, the crowd that leaves with me goes port side in the direction of the Netherlands, I am the only one going starboard in the direction of Helgoland. Would that be another omen? The wind doesn’t exceed 4 Bft this trip, but the waves are still coming from behind and are coming in a bit oblique. The Asmara rolls nicely again. I have the current with me and will keep it as far as Helgoland, so just some more power and with 7.5 knots I roll to Helgoland where I arrive at 17:45, the fastest trip ever. Normally it takes me more than 11 hours. But that is the only thing that comes along. I have been slightly nauseous the whole trip, so that doesn’t make me any happier. When I arrived in Heligoland, half the island, including the harbour, turned into a large construction site. 50% of the berths on floating jetties are gone and the other 50% are already 5 double. After I’ve recovered a bit and even tasted a glass of whiskey again, I’m going to plan the campaign. I am actually only here to refuel 900 litres of diesel and score a few boxes of whiskey. I am going to call my buddy CeesJan, whom I might meet on Langeland in Denmark to go cod fishing together. When I speak to him, he says that, because of the various golf matches, it is probably not in the interest of women, dogs and caravans to go there. I am not really grieving about it, and so I decide not to go any further to Denmark.
What am I going to do, then? From Helgoland I sail eastwards to the German/Danish coast to the Eider Sperrwerk (compare with Neeltje Jans, Delta works) the entrance to the Eider river. I have already sailed this Eider river several times in both directions. It is a meandering river through the Schlestein landscape it leads along Tonnen an old fishing village and Friedrichstad an old town with canals and many bridges ever built by, how could it be otherwise, the Dutch. The first half of this river is a tidal river and the second half which leads to the Kiel canal (KM40) near Gieselau, has three locks. I now have calm inland water for the time being and am slowly sailing down this long river to finally reach the Brunsbuttel locks, the springboard to the North Sea via the Elbe entrance to Hamburg. At Gieselau and Brunsbuttel I can lie at good jetties for a long time without harbour dues and wait for a good weather lock for the way back. To leave Helgoland I have two options, tomorrow morning or a week later. Well you understand that I don’t feel like staying here in that construction pit so it will be tomorrow morning. Also the tank platform and the accompanying walkways will be rebuilt, so tomorrow morning I will have to sail to the Nord harbour to meet a tank lorry somewhere that will supply me with 800/900 litres of diesel. I would have liked to have left at 0500 because of the tides, but of course that is no longer possible, at 0900 is the first free space I could reserve, so I did that. Probably I can’t enter Tonnen anymore, because that is possible from 3 hours before till 3 after high tide, otherwise you won’t be able to enter the shallow entrance. Well then I will drop my anchor somewhere in front of the door. Now off to the liquor shop and score some whiskey. I buy a couple of boxes of whiskey and some rum, which will be delivered on board today. So now I am almost ready for it again, tonight I take a shower and settle with the water sports club. Make some shipshape and continue tomorrow.
Friday 16 August Helgoland-Tonning
My departure from the box (it was low tide) , as reported a narrow place to maneuver, I first ran into an underwater boulder with my nose and when maneuvering further backwards, the propeller also ran on a boulder, causing the engine to stall. How much bad luck can I have. After restarting the engine I could not hear any sounds that would indicate that the propeller was damaged, but I’m sure it was. To be sure, I reported the incident to my insurance company, so that when the boat goes out of the water in autumn or spring, I can see what is going on. After refuelling 900 ltr in Helgoland, I left at 09:15 for the EiderSperrwerk, there was not much wind 3-4 Bft and waves were not too bad, about 1.5 mtr. but again diagonally from behind. Genoa added, but with engine power as we know it doesn’t do much anymore. I ran 6 knots and the wind from behind was 6-10 knots. Despite ample wind I tightened the Genoa to dampen the rolling a bit. Despite the rollers I didn’t suffer from it any more today. once I arrived at the approach of the Eider I started to follow the buoy line, where it was clear again that the most buoys had shifted in relation to the map. But I kept the current farm line and arrived at the Eidersperrwerk around 18:00. Via marine radio channel 14 called to hear that they were no longer turning and I was the first one tomorrow morning at 07:00. In the bowl at the lock there is no possibility to anchor there, so I will have to fasten to the quay where there is a gradient of 3.50 mtr. A quay with heavy corrugated steel plates, concrete blocks and more thick piles in front of it. Not a nice place to moor a sports boat. But it is no different. It had just been high tide at the time. I looked up the quay on the high side of the wind and laid long lines between the two poles. A lot of fenders in between and now I have to wait for low tide. In the evening at 2100 it was low tide, so the lines were adjusted and at midnight the boat stayed clear of the quay because of the win.
Alarm clock set at 0300 to check again, the boat was well clear of the quay. Got up at 0630 and prepared to continue. I was able to remove all the fenders and hang them on both sides for entry into the lock. After loosening the lock, it is now Saturday, at 0730 I entered the lock and continued on the inside. Now I no longer have any waves, but the tides continue unabated, as the Eider is a tidal river for the first 40 km. Last night at 0300 it was high tide, so the level was already dropping considerably. The weather doesn’t stop at dark grey skies and rain either. I now follow the buoy lines again and it is flowing pretty well. And so I wander over this inner mudflat from buoy to buoy, whole stretches next to me have already fallen dry, so it is important to follow the buoys well, first with red and green buoys, with red to port and green to starboard. Then there will be a number of only red buoys, which I will of course keep to port. It is now 10 o’clock and the water is still slightly sinking, but the tide is about to turn. In spite of the sharp line I kept between the buoys, I suddenly got stuck, how the hell is this possible now that I am sitting neatly on the buoy line. I still try to get loose by turning backwards, which works reasonably well, and then try a different direction. But nothing helps, I get stuck again and again. It is now completely low water. There is nothing else to do but wait a few hours for the water to rise again. I go out of my anchor to prevent drifting to a shallow part when I come loose. A large passenger boat is approaching from the opposite direction, keeping the red barrels on the starboard side. Now I am curious to see how he will sail past me with regard to the buoys, after all, that boat has at least a 1.25 draught. When he reaches the buoy to which I am going, he does not keep it on the starboard side but goes past it on the port side, he does the same at the next buoy, only then he goes between the buoys and keeps the red one on the starboard side again. Would he know something that I do not? Where he has sailed I would never have sailed to, but locals hey. I’ll just wait a couple of hours now. I can’t enter the port of Tonning before 1400. It is now 11.20. I’m not loose yet because I’m still caught in the wind and current.
Tuesday 20 August Tonning – Eider river
After a few wonderful days in Tonning it is time to move on. This afternoon, 2.5 hours before high tide, I leave the harbour and continue inland on the Eider river, in the direction of the Kiel canal at KM40 is Gieselau. On my way I come across 4 bridges and three locks. All these bridges and locks don’t have a marine telephone, one has to ask for opening by calling them by phone. So very difficult. The bridges and locks are manned but if you are in front of them and you don’t have the right phone number, you can’t communicate. I call three bridges in advance to report my arrival with an approximate time. The first one opens smoothly, the second one a railway bridge is always difficult, at the first conversation I said to be at the bridge by 1600, this lady told me that that was not a problem, but there was a train at 16:10 and 16:30. Waiting for these bridges is tricky because there are no moorings and you are sailing on fairly flowing water, so it is important to be there at the right time and hope that it opens smoothly. Waiting for 3 knots of current is difficult, if you have current with you, you have to turn back and with engine power make sure you lie still, continue with your bow thruster to keep your boat straight into the channel. In this case, fortunately, I only had to wait 5 minutes, after which the railway bridge opened. Then there was the bridge at Friedrichstad, which also opened fairly quickly. Now to the next lock, it is 1700 when I get there and high tide. For reasons not entirely clear to me, I was able to enter the lock fairly quickly and did not have to climb up to pay for 10,-, I did not even moor my boat and maneuvered a bit with bow thruster and throttle, keeping things quiet during the lowering of the water until the lock gates opened. So now I was off tidal water and on a river that was controlled in terms of water level. It is now 18.30 when I drop anchor on the side of the river on a wide stretch and go for a bite to eat. Tomorrow another bridge and two locks. By now the weather has become beautiful and there is hardly any wind, it would stay that way for at least the whole week, so maybe I will continue to Denmark to do some more fishing. I am here anyway and I have to cross these two stretches of the North Sea whether I go back now or in a fortnight’ time.
Wednesday 21 August Eider River Tileburg
Still on the Eider river, I wake up at 0800. After a nice breakfast I pick up the anchor and sail down the river in the direction of the Kiel canal. On the way I turn on the washing machine and turn on 2 washes 1x bedding and 1x T-shirts, that’s all I had on. At about 11:15 I pass the last bridge at Palhude, now I only have 2 locks Lexfahre left and the last one at the Gieselau canal. But before that time I finish 13:15 in a tiny little harbour where I have been a few times before, after all the laundry has to dry anyway. It is a club harbour, there are floating jetties, water and a bit of current. The nearest hamlet is called Tileburg. Here, behind the dyke, there are all holiday homes with thatched roofs, beautiful houses. On the dike there are sheep who are afraid of Simba and Simba of them. So this is where I spend the night. Simba goes straight onto the scaffolding of course and is immediately chased by a dog and she still has nothing to do with that. After I have hung up the laundry and eaten a sandwich I go and pay the harbour dues and electricity. The current here is not 500Watt anymore or 2 amps, but yes the batteries stay on current. The harbour dues including water and excluding electricity are 10 euros, electricity 2 euros per day. I put that amount in an envelope in a cupboard. Soon I will fill up the water tank and everything is ready. It is still nice sunny weather with wind 1-2 Bft from the southwest. This morning I had two raincoats on the way, but now the weather is lovely.
Thursday 22 August Tileburg – Flemhudersee (keel canal)
Today at 08:30 two more locks left and I am on the Kiel Canal. At the last lock at Gieselau I turn left to follow the canal towards the Baltic Sea. I start here on KM 40 and until the lock is KM 100, so another 60 KM from this last lock. The weather is fine, a high-pressure area covers central and northern Europe and will last for at least another week. This has, of course, contributed to my decision to go to the Baltic Sea after all. At 16:20 I drop my anchor on the Flemhudersee, a small side lake 10 km from the Kiel/Holtenau lock. There is a boat moored between the poles that the government placed here for this purpose 3 years ago. This is the first time I have seen anyone lying between them. The poles are about 75 cm in diameter, like an ocean steamer. They are also so close together that only boats up to a length of 8 meters can lie between them. There are about 20 poles. So a sailboat that is usually between 10-15 can’t moor here at all. Since this hassle, apparently invented by someone who has no maritime knowledge at all, part of the demarcated reason has been lost for boats that just want to anchor here. This project has therefore clearly missed its target. Anyway, I am anchored behind my anchor and, as the evening progresses, about eight more boats are coming to anchor. A German, with a boat of about 9 metres, tries to get between the poles, which fails. In the end I decided to anchor, but this best man and woman didn’t eat that much cheese either. His anchor doesn’t hold, but when I tell him that the water here is 5 meters deep and that he has to explain at least 15 meters of chain, he gives up after a 3rd attempt. I offer him to come lie down next to me, an offer he will gladly accept.
Friday 23 August Flemhudersee – Spodbjerg (DK)
At 08:15 I lay my anchor, my neighbours have already left. I didn’t hear them leave. When I arrive at the lock around 10:15 and call Kiel Kanaal 4 via the VHF radio, I am told that I can’t get through until around noon and that while I see two Dutch Ocean steamers slowly entering the lock. Moments later I hear someone from Kiel Channel 4 calling a sailing boat over the VHF radio and as I am the only one lying here, I answer with “Station calling Asmara” and yes the man says I forgot your boat name, when you are ready you can go into the lock and behind the Orange Dutch boat. There are two of those ocean liners in the lock, both from Holland a blue one and an Orange one. Now mooring in that lock is always a feat. First of all, there are only beams floating on the water, so your fenders (fenders) won’t help. The only thing you can do is lay them horizontally, but even then they shoot over the beam and you lie with your lacquer against the beam. So this lock is really only meant for ocean giants who shoot a line to the shore, after which the tugboat is placed over a bollard by lock personnel. It is nice if several sailboats enter the lock in order not to go first but rather last, which is of course very selfish but then you can moor to another sailboat. But for now I am alone and the propeller of that Orange boat is also gently spitting water my way. So now I have to jump off board and attach a front and rear line. When I ask two people from the lock if they want to help me, they just say that you have to be with two people on a boat to do this and then leave me to my fate. I flick two long lines overboard, piss as I am, and jump off the boat. Quickly I take the back line through one eye and throw the line back on board, then the front line. Now I’m back on board and ready to go. But pissed I am calling. I use the radio to ask whether this Orange boat wants to be moderate with its propeller power when it sails out, because there is a sailboat behind it. Before you know it, I am thrown against the lock gate uncontrollably. But fortunately things are going well, after the two Dutch ships have left the lock, “I thank the personnel on the shore for their help”.
So the Baltic is ahead of me, ETA Spodbjerg 20:00. The sea is calm, breeze 2-3 in the back. According to the schedule I enter the harbour of Spodbjerg exactly at 20:00 where I moor my nose. Half an hour later, the harbour master tells me that I can pay electronically on the wall. Cost for my 11.30 boat 21,- euro. An SMS confirms that I have paid and gives me the code of the toilet and shower room.
Saturday 24 August Spodsbjerg Fishing
This day, how could it be otherwise, is all about fish. Of course I have already prepared everything and the weather is good, wind west 3. I’m going to sail a couple of miles in the direction of a couple of deep pits (visible on my sonar) of 40 mtr. These are in the shipping lane, so it is important to keep an eye on this. When I get to the spot I turn off the engine and let the boat drift on current and wind. Before I had tested this by looking at which side the boat would be lined up. With that knowledge I lay the boat exactly the way I want it. After some time I get a big bite, I start hoisting this sample of 40 mtr deep once on the surface two ropehaws of almost half with it appear to be attached. I was able to scoop them both into the net. Then all of a sudden I have to leave quickly because an apartment building is approaching me, so I make room to let this ocean giant pass by. After that I am a bit generous but everything is undersized and I throw them back, there will eventually be four more that match the size. Satisfied, I steam towards the coast around lunchtime to go fishing for flatfish at 10 metres of water. (Plaice, Bot Schar) But first I have to eat a couple of sandwiches. Then I catch some small plaice, but they are all undersized and I throw them back. Until I catch a nice big one and then another one. Then it’s over and I’m actually fed up with it. I want to spend the night here behind my anchor but the wind has now turned to the east which means that I am on a lower shore. Because the prospects are good with little wind, I do not expect any problems and decide to save the EUR 21 from the port and stay ashore. First clean and fillet the eight fish on deck. Once that is done, I have to vacuum-pack them in order to freeze them. When I am busy in the kitchen with this nice fish smell and a rolling ship, I stop for a moment and lie down. This repeats itself twice more, but the fish have to go into the freezer. In the end I am lucky, but I wasn’t lying there comfortably anymore. At 19.00 without eating I went to bed and slept the whole evening and night in one piece.
The return voyage
Sunday/Monday 25-26 August Spodsbjerg – Lohals Anchor and Helletofte anchor
At 07.00 I woke up, took some yoghurt and fruit and lifted the anchor, away from here, this is not tasty anymore. It was supposed to stay east wind all week so I decided to sail around the island and anchor on the leeward side, without waves. At 11.00 am I dropped anchor in 7.5 meters of water and no more waves. The weather is still beautiful. I lowered my little dinghy and armed with shampoo, towel, sandwiches, film camera, beer, I went to the beach. First I put everything on my towel and then I go for a nice walk in my bare nothing. When I come back, I go out to sea to wash my hair what is left of it and the rest of my body. Then I sit down on my towel and have a beer, two sandwiches and feel like a gentleman again. I make some more pictures of the Asmara at anchor, but she is actually too far away for pictures. When I get back on board Simba welcomes me and I clean up a bit and enjoy the day with a book. I want to be back in Kiel around the end of next week for the rest of the way back, after all you don’t have to ask the gods. The next day I move a little further south and anchor again, again I go ashore with my boat. In the evening I try to catch some flatfish with the last worms, but they are all too fast, I get bitten but no fish. Worms on ready. I clean up my fishing rod and prepare the boat for the return trip the next day.
Tuesday 27 August Anchor Denmark – Anchor Flemhudersee (behind the Kiel lock)
Lifted anchor this morning at 10.00 a.m. and headed for the Kiel Canal. Goodbye Denmark. Around 19.00 I arrive at the lock and can enter fairly quickly. After the lock it is about 10 km to the Flemhudersee on the port side where I drop my anchor at 20:15. I noticed that I need more engine power to reach the same speed as usual. I still have the frightened suspicion that one or more propeller blades were bent after grounding against a rock on Helgoland, causing even the engine to stall. So when I’m at home, I’ll boat out of the water anyway.
Wednesday 28 August Kiel canal Westbound
At 10 o’clock I light my anchor and sail to the lock at Brunsbuttel, where I moor at 20:15 against a German sailor in a small port to starboard of the lock. He wants to go through the lock tomorrow at 8.30 a.m. and to Hamburg with the current. But high tide doesn’t come until 1245, so I don’t want to go through the lock until two hours before HW and still have two hours of current against me. And it can flow quite well in the Elbe (3.6 knots). I don’t feel like cooking anymore and there is a restaurant in the harbour, where I’m going to have a bite to eat. A heavy thunderstorm has just passed by, but when it is dry I quickly walk to that little restaurant. I have eaten a lot of beer and I don’t wash the dishes.
Thursday 29 August Brunsbuttel – Eemshaven (scheduled for Norderney)
After the next morning at 0830 the German left and I moored the boat at the side again, I go to the supermarket which is within walking distance of the harbour. A bit of fresh fruit and vegetables. Oranges for the Drambuie that I am going to make again. It gets boring but again at 10.00 I unload for the entry in the Sluis. That all goes reasonably well and around 11.00 I sail up the Elbe with a strong current. Later it turns out that the current doesn’t really turn around until 2 p.m. and I start walking with it. At the outside of the Elbe the wind against current is not nice, it is haunted by waves and cross seas up to 1.5 mtr. It is going to be a long sit, the intention was to call at Norderney, but when I am on the open sea again and see via the route what time I would arrive there is at 0430 in the morning, so I decide not to do that and to sail on through the night to the Netherlands – the eems harbour. I now choose Eemshaven because I promised my daughter Tanja in Groningen that I would enter via that city. The first part of the night is reasonable, although I have wind and current against me and that doesn’t help. Further on in the night around 0300 I approach the Weser approach with a lot of freighters anchored at anchor and ditto in and out of traffic. This does not make me fall asleep. Those cargo boats are just illuminated Christmas trees, so you can’t see the navigation lights anymore and you don’t know whether they are heading towards you or sailing away. Luckily the AIS provides some guidance, of all the suspicious ships that cross my course I turn on the course vector so that I can see where it is going and how fast it is going. I have now also switched on my deck lights front and rear and am now also an illuminated Christmas tree. After increasing and decreasing my speed I finally get through this knitting and I don’t have to cross any further waterways. Because it is getting quiet with ships now there is the danger of falling asleep, after all you are alone and there is no one to take over the watch. As the night progresses, so does the wind and ergo. Wind now 5 Bft, waves towards 3 mtr. Because sailing against wind is not an option for my boat (crossing) this is quite uncomfortable Simba stays in her basket and sleeps as the only unpaid crewmember. When I wake up again from being dozed off I see a boat coming towards me on the AIS before the AIS warns me about it. When I go to see what or who that is, it turns out to be a Dutch fisherman. When he comes towards me from starboard without changing course, I decide to call out the best man or woman. I am sailing a stable, unchanged course. When I call the Charlotte, that’s the name of the boat, he answers that he wants to visit me, he is a fisherman. I answer him that I will take back some speed and he confirms that. In the dark distances are very difficult to estimate and so also here, I still have the feeling that when he glides by I am almost on top of him. and what about his nets. It all goes through you at such a moment. But it goes well and then we go our way again at an appropriate speed. The rest of the night and dawn is quiet. There is, however, a sailboat that crosses my path a mile in the direction of the coast. An hour later I see him or her coming back but now off the coast again. I think he decided not to go to the coast for his moving reasons. When I get close to the run-up to the Delftzijl/Eems/Dollard, everything takes terribly slow, but maybe I want too much. The weather has not improved, but we are in the estuary of the Eems/Dollard.
I am trying to shorten the run by cutting across the mud flats, while taking into account the prevailing depth. Agonizingly slowly I walk over the point with a water depth of 4 m. The current pushes me to shallower, I steer more and make the bend a little wider, not walk on a bench in sight of the harbour, although the latter is very relative, it would still take more than 5 hours before I was inside. When the weather gets a bit deeper I take a breath, I succeeded. I now base my route more on fishermen who follow more or less the same route, although I am a bit closer to the shallows. When I finally come between the buoyage again, I can breathe peacefully again. It’s still a long stretch to go and the surroundings are wide, to my left the island of Borkum and many slabs that fall dry at low tide, it’s just after high tide so that’s fine. As I said, this is still a wide area where waves and wind still have free play, but I am now sitting well between the buoys. Around me the landscape changes little, a lot of industry and windmills, not an interesting landscape. Sleep is going to break me up and now and then I go back to sleep now that the tension is gone. This will continue for the next few hours until I really get close to the harbour, after 34 hours I walk into the lock and more. It is low water in the lock. When the lock closes, a very narrow lock, in which I am the only one, a basin of water is let in that I had never seen before. In spite of all the fenders, the violence simply squeezes a fender and pops the bumper against the quay wall, another damage to the bumper. Once outside the lock, I cross two more bridges before I decide to stop for real. I see a side channel with a lock on double red and decide to moor to the jetty to go to sleep. The last bridge keeper did warn me against the strong suction there because of passing cargo boats. I hang the whole side full of fenders and moor up to 5 jumps to prevent further damage. It is now 2100 hours – 35 hours after my departure from Brunsbuttel, I crawl into my basket and fall into a deep sleep.
Saturday 31 August Zijkanaal (Eemskanaal) – Groningen
At 0800 I am awake when I check outside I have not suffered any further damage. At 0830 I sail to Groningen where I finally moor at 13.30 in the Westerhaven. This afternoon an event will take place here. Following in the footsteps of Maarten van der Weide, groups will swim for Cancer from Zoutkamp to Groningen and end up in the Oosterhaven. 50 KM. The Westerhaven is quite full of boats where the swimmers pass by, I could just barely get a berth with front and back still 20 cm free, I even had to lower my boat to get in between. This afternoon Tanja, Chris, Sibren, Renske, Kars and Jonna will come on board. Tanja will bring soup sandwiches and snacks and there will be a lot of drinking and new whiskey tasted by Chris and Sibren. The weather is still nice and warm and until late after the feast, we continue to have a drink and reminisce. Sunday all peace and quiet has returned and there are hardly any boats left, I’m going to clean up, do the dishes, hoist up the boat and enjoy a quiet day.
Saturday 31 August Zijkanaal (Eemskanaal) – Groningen
I am awake at 08.00 if I check outside to make sure that I have not suffered any further damage. At 0830 I sail to Groningen where I finally moor at 13.30 in the Westerhaven. This afternoon an event will take place here. Following in the footsteps of Maarten van der Weide, groups will swim from Zoutkamp to Groningen to finish in the Oosterhaven. 50 KM. The Westerhaven is quite full of boats where the swimmers pass by, I could just get a berth with 20 cm free in front and back, I even had to lower my boat to get in between. This afternoon Tanja, Chris, Sibren, Renske, Kars and Jonna will come on board. Tanja will bring soup rolls and snacks and there will be a lot of drinking and new whisky tasted by Chris and Sibren. The weather is still nice and warm and until late after the party we will continue with drinks and memories. Sunday is all quiet again and there are hardly any boats left, I’m going to clean up, do the dishes, hoist the boat and enjoy a quiet day.
End of another summer trip