When I write this, I do not yet know what this summer will bring me. In November 2019, I took a nice job in my old field, training in aviation at Schiphol Airport. I had to implement a new e-learning system (Cornerstone), which Airfrance/KLM would roll out widely.
My job was to do this for my employer within that group for Regional Jet Center. An aircraft maintenance company with in their portfolio the entire KLM cityhopper fleet. It is true that the contract was six months, but that was ambitious from an employer’s point of view, and after just a few months, there was a good chance that it would be extended. Until the Corona pandemic (COVID-19) broke out in March 2020. Just before the end, my harbour master in my winter port of Sassenheim told me that he could no longer let me stay overnight in his port. In the meantime, I worked 100% at home (on board) and had a great time. After some phone calls I found a suitable berth in Aalsmeer for a month. My contract was due to expire on 18 May, but as I said, everything was overdue and the project would certainly last longer. At the beginning of May, I received an indication that my contract for COVID-19 would not be extended, which was a pity, but understandably I had just gotten used to the system. As a result of accrued holidays, I will be sailing normally again around the 1st of May.
COVID-19 also has its disadvantages, as well as its advantages, to quote Cruyff. It is quiet in the city, the few people walking or cycling in the streets tell about sounds from nature like the birds, something they normally never heard.
Our climate shows us all over the world how much smog has already been dissolved and nitrogen emissions have been reduced after just one month with photos taken from space. Will we now open our eyes and learn from it, or will we just move on and fly in low-budget races again to destinations you can easily do by train. In addition, people suddenly have more time for everything because of the domestic situation, which makes the number of critics on social media seem to have increased. Working from home is becoming the norm. Companies and schools are also innovative. We are resigning ourselves en masse to the restrictions imposed. Although the first protests against the COVID-19 policy of the government have already been. The big question is how does our economy climb out of this recession.
Needless to say, I want to head for Friesland as soon as possible. In the outskirts of the Netherlands I have nothing more to do and I have to pull the wool over my eyes every time I’m built, but that’s different in Friesland. In connection with COVID-19 I won’t go to Scandinavia because most countries don’t allow tourists there (yet). I do want to go to Helgoland, if only to top up my diesel and score cheap good malt whiskey. I have called Helgoland and it is open again, although with restrictions. Salient detail Helgoland has not yet had a single COVID-19 infection and they are acting accordingly.
Thursday 30 April 2020 – Wijdenes
Via standing mast Amsterdam in Amsterdam, I will sail up the Oranje locks from the IJsselmeer on 2 May. I like to spend the night in Wijdenes, a tiny harbour, with a small canal, where 3 boats of my size can moor. Wijdenes is situated between Hoorn and Enkhuizen. I have stayed here three times before, the last time in 2018. When I arrive at Wijdenes I see that there is no one there, pleasantly so. The little harbour is actually a refuge, it also has an unmanned rescue post with a lifeboat. When I want to sail into the gully, which makes a 40 degree turn to the right, I suddenly get stuck. What do I think this is. I turn back a bit to get loose and position the Asmara exactly in the middle of the gully, but no, I get stuck again. I try this a few more times but to no avail, so I sail back a bit and lower the anchor. Apparently the gully is completely silted up, the lifeboat does not suffer from it because that is a shallow dinghy. During my drink I ponder who I could signal to report this, but soon I lack the courag
After a quiet night behind my anchor, I sail via the Naviduct (the lock in Enkhuizen) to Stavoren where I exchange the IJsselmeer for Friesland, I am back home. In Stavoren I stay another 2 nights because I expected my ordered Drone there, but never received it, never got it, nothing paid. So in spite of all my mail conversation no reactions. Well then I’m done with it, I ordered a new one from Dutch Chinese. At the first marrekrite after Warns I put the Asmara at my first spot.
Friday 22 May 2020
My route takes me further to Sneek and Akkrum all the places I visit every year. On my own spot south-east of Akkrum and near Terherne, the village of Hielke and Sietske van de Kameleon, I stay 12 days. In the middle of nature.
On 3 June I can pick up my second drone in Sneek, good Chinese. After that I will continue to Akkrum, where I will move on after three days to the Bokkumer Mar, NO of Akkrum.
Friday 19 June 2020
Along Grouw I now continue in the direction of Leeuwarden through the beautiful Frisian countryside. Somewhere here I can try my Drone on a meadow, but it is difficult for me, there is too much wind. After some short flights and ergo shots, I give up, practise under better conditions. On the Wergaestervaart I see a boat that is familiar to me, I honk and yes it is him. Fons and Marjan from the Kabbelaarbank, last seen in 2009 when we were together near Kempers in Aalsmeer. It is on this spot that I make my first flight with my new toy – De Drone. But actually it’s too windy for a stable flight to learn everything.
First Drone Flight
In Friesland I see a beautiful natural phenomenon, a swarm of starlings performing a beautiful ballet during sunset. At the end of the day, all those small clubs of starlings look for each other. They fly in from all over the world and form ever larger groups. What happens then is phenomenal. A group of hundreds to thousands of starlings dance as a whole through the air. In a perfect choreography they perform a true starling ballet. They sway through the air and move more and more towards a place to sleep. This can be a group of trees in a park, a tall building or a vast reed field. Once it is dark, they drop from the sky en masse and occupy the place to sleep. you wonder, would they never bump into each other?
Once through Leeuwarden, I steam up the Dokkumer Ee. There are several moorings in the middle of nature. In Burdaard, halfway between Leeuwarden and Dokkum, I stop in the small harbour for 2 nights. Of course I buy flour at the mill for baking bread on the way.
I steam far again and on the 27th of June I arrive in Dokkum where I moor for a week between the Mill and the Bolwerk. On 1 July I see a sailboat coming towards me and soon I recognise it. It is Ad with his self-built motorsailor “ADNAVIS”. Ad came back to Jonkman in Sassenheim a few years ago and asked me how to live on a boat. He has put his money where his mouth is, disposed of his old sailing boat and is now the proud owner of his self-built motorsailor. On 3 July, the day before my departure, I get a fever and feel rickety. When I want to measure my fever, my fever thermometer turns out to be broken. I immediately order a new one via the internet. Of course you immediately think the worst, maybe I have Corona. After just another week, I don’t want to go on like that, I was driven out of bed for two nights and after that I felt a lot better. My next departure is now planned for Saturday 11 July, in the direction of Lauwers Lake to await a good weather lock for Helgoland, via Norderney.e would they never bump into each other?