Route to Helgoland
I’m writing on Saturday 11 July, after two weeks in Dokkum because I felt rickety for a few days. . .
and had a fever, I stayed a bit longer, you think the same as Corona, of course, but fortunately it was not. So today the 11th of July a bit further on, not really much further but nice out of town and into the country. The weather has also picked up and looks radiant. I really feel like a tourist now, putting up a parasol and a table and reading a book while enjoying a beer. This way I am having a great time again. On the third day a German comes behind me, who soon offers me a snaps to help me moor. In the afternoon I get a call from Ad, who was with me in Dokkum, but has sailed in the direction of Groningen a week earlier to go back outside. He has seen this for his own reason, so he asks if I will stay in the harbour today, if I confirm this he tells me you will see me in 20 minutes. By six o’clock I had planned a little BBQ for myself, but this is more fun. Ad goes for beer and some meat and the two of them are exchanging strong stories. After dinner the Germans move on with the bottle of snaps and some beer and it still gets cosy. At 22.15 we call it a day, clean the ship and find the cage.
Opportunity to take another Drone flight, which was better for me than the first time.
The next morning everyone goes their separate ways and I sail to the Lauwersmeer, waiting for the Helgoland weather lock. But first I received my new toy from China, which I had sent to Tanja’s address in Groningen. So I have to sail to Zoutkamp to receive it.
Friday 17 July I will sail to Zoutkamp, Tanja would come on Saturday, so that still gives me the opportunity to do some shopping. I don’t know yet who’s coming is 6 people, we’ll see. Saturday around 11 o’clock Tanja, Chris, Sibren, Kars and Jonna will come on board, Renske is at a camp in France. We loosen up and go and enjoy a day on the Lauwersmeer. When I get the package from Tanja it is a disillusionment, I have probably ordered the wrong one, this is one without any motor skills, well couldn’t have been any other than for those 20,-
We will make it a wonderful day together. Kars gets to tear my dinghy, Jonna goes swimming. Chris blows up a rubber boat in which he will float himself for half an hour. Tanja takes care of the inner man. And I’m going to bake some poffertjes that will go in too. Because we drank and ate a lot all day long, we skip the spaghetti meal and take another cracker sausage sandwich. Tired but satisfied we sail back to Zoutkamp where around 19.00 5 men disembark and look back on a nice day. I sail in the direction of Lauwersmeer again and more to the first marrekrite I encounter. Now I’m going to have a look at the weather and the route.
The next morning, I get up at 06:00. The lock rotates from 07:00. At 08:00 I enter the Robbengat lock from the sea. It is still calm, wind NW4, wave height 0.8 mtr. Between Schiermonnikoog and Ameland I sail for a long time on the Englishman’s plate with the well known shelter on it. The wind stays the whole day as predicted with sometimes a peak to 5. The waves don’t behave as predicted, come from NW and are building up again. Once on my eastern course, the waves come straight in and are now 2.5 high. They give the Asmara quite a swell. This is the part I don’t like, everything on board, despite precautions, is going to have a life of its own again. And I’m starting to feel catty and that with 12 hours of sailing ahead of me, what’s really fun about this? During the voyage I get seasick and have to feed the fish up to 5 times. The tides are not with me either. Actually you have to use the tide to hitchhike with the current, but that sometimes means leaving at night. So when I leave on my time I just have to see how the tide runs, well I had everything against this trip, only when I walked into Norderney I got current the last hour. Every now and then I hear a swayer falling somewhere, it turned out to be my printer that fell a 1.5 meter lower on the hard ground. I pretend I didn’t hear it, after all I don’t clean up mess on a rolling ship, then I puke underneath too. Afterwards it turned out that my printer was still in working order.
Around 3 hours before arriving in Norderney, I am going to study the short route over the Schluchter, a reef with a threshold at low tide of 50 cm. According to my data I would be there at 18:00, then it is low tide, not good. I see a sailing boat with AIS going out in front of me. Well, you can also learn from someone else how to do it or not. It sails at 7 knots on that threshold, I see in the AIS. The only thing AIS doesn’t mention is the depth of his ship. In that case, his AIS signal drops out just before he crosses the threshold, would it have perished? I decide to reduce my speed by 5.5 knots to 3.6 knots and that does not promote nausea; the Asmara starts rolling more. I also decide to turn into the Genoa because it no longer does anything when the wind and speed have decreased and if I get stuck, it only bothers me. My plotter map is 3 years old, so a lot has changed here, the buoys that mark the line over the threshold are still in the same place as on my plotter, so it is about the depth that is still a mystery. The sailboat preceded me but that was at least an hour before low tide and how deep I estimate it to be between 1.30 and 1.50. Then I see two boats arriving on my plotter with the course line on the first buoy, so they also go over that route. When I look at their AIS data, one of them sticks out 2 metres and the other almost 3 metres, which gives them courage. I let them go first, but I still have to put the boat at right angles to their stern wave, which was not to be misunderstood, dickhead. I could have turned around, but I was close. Fortunately, I was able to prevent damage. Now turn the boat 90 again to their wake and accelerate with 5.5 knots over the threshold which was not lower than 3 meters. Clearly a lot has changed here, calculation with my old plotter map indicated that at that time I would have at most 1.20 mtr of water. So you see.
Now I sail around the island through the concrete route to the harbour, they put the boat on automatic and low speed (3.5 knots), go outside to place all the fenders and lines. When I walk into the harbour, I am ship shape, that is to say on the outside, on the inside everything has come back to life. The harbour is pretty full as usual. In the back I find a place near some new jetties, which all have a red sign, don’t invest. But it doesn’t say that on the outside, so I put the boat on the head of the jetty. After I have moored I see another sign at the top of the bollard on the jetty, Anlegen Verboten, which I didn’t see, is far too high. I still feel catty and immediately dive into my cage.
The next morning, the harbour master comes to tell me that I am moored at a private jetty, fortunately there have been some departures now and can soon be moored somewhere alongside. I’m going to walk 3 km to and from the village and let me taste a nice beer and take a plate of fish soup with bread. On the way back I’m going to pay my harbour money and take a shower, the harbour master will only charge me 1 night, as well as 28 euros. I have a conversation with a Dutchman who emigrated to Norway. His boat is a motorsailor with two masts of my length, on the understanding that it is designed as a sailing boat and the Asmara is not. He came with his wife from Norway and sailed to the Netherlands, the same route I made and is now back home. Together we leave for Helgoland on Wednesday, we both take a different route in connection with crossing traffic separation systems, I arrive half an hour (16:00) in front of him. He is alone on sail and I on sail and motorbike. The harbour of Helgoland is, as usual, moored mud full of packages of 5 sailing boats.