This trip is planned in corona time, from my winter port to Scandinavia. The global planning is from Friesland to Helgoland to refuel. From there via the Eider river or via Brunsbuttel up the Baltic Sea Canal (100km) to Kiel where we will end up on the Baltic Sea. Then I will continue my journey via the German East Coast and possibly Rugen, to Gdansk Poland. I want to stay there for a week if the corona rules are relaxed, so that I can have a drink on a terrace, if not I will stay shorter. From there I want to cross over to the Swedish East Coast and then slowly start the return journey via Denmark. But it remains a global planning.
The journey to Friesland
Departure 01-04-2021 The Kagerplassen (nl)
I cast off from my winter port at the Kaag at 12.00. First destination Haarlem. I disembark in the middle of the city at 15.15. Payment of the harbour dues goes smoothly via the “aanuit” app, but you mustn’t forget to turn it off, or the berth invoice will continue to run. The next morning, I continued with the first bridge opening (09.00), hoping that I could still make it to the bridge over the A9 at 10.30. As I sailed through the first bridge I received a call on my mobile phone. It turned out to be a Swiss sailing friend who was moored near me with his 22 metre barge. It’s a pity I didn’t know that, I would have visited them for sure. Heinz and his wife have also been roaming all over Europe since 2009, now they are going to their winter port of Potsdam (Berlin) for the second time. This is now their summer voyage. Who knows, I might meet them in Friesland along the way.
When I arrive at the railway bridge in Haarlem, the adjacent bascule bridge is out of order due to a malfunction, so I end up between this bridge and the railway bridge through which I could pass. I can forget about the bridge over the A9 at 10.30 am on the side channel C. When I finally could go on again, I left the bridge for the next opening at 14.15. After that it went smoothly and after the last bridge, the Buitenhuizer bridge, I sailed into the North Sea Canal towards the Orange locks. I dropped anchor behind the Oranje locks because the last bridge for the IJsselmeer, the Schellingwoude bridge, would not be open for another hour. But after that, I sail onto the IJsselmeer with destination Zwartsluis via Lelystad. At first, the wind is still around 4 Bft, I adjust my Genoa and everything is running smoothly after 6 months. But nothing is as changeable as the weather, so the wind picks up and the waves become unpleasant at half wind. That I am not properly prepared for this becomes clear when some of my gear takes on a life of its own. When I don’t like it any more for such a first trip, I start looking for alternatives. But I had already passed the first port of refuge, so I continued in the direction of Lelystad, which has two entrances, so I steered for the southernmost one.
Close to the first entrance at around 21.00 (it is already very dark by then), I sail between the breakwaters and get into lighter water. But now, according to the map, there is a breakwater in my path and I have to go between that and the breakwater. With my floodlight pointed at the dike, I carefully shuffle between the red light and the dike, and when I’m just past it, my floodlight’s fuse blows out. How much fun can you have on a first trip like that, and even in the Netherlands? In the dark, I scramble to the mainland, now between two breakwaters in calm water, but the depth rapidly decreases to 20 cm below keel, so I turn the boat 180 degrees and drop my anchor. By now it is 10 p.m., I leave the mess behind and dive into my berth after switching on the anchor alarm via my phone and booster. I fall asleep like a log.
The next morning, after breakfast, I use the morning to clean up and fix all the mess. What a mess, but when I’m done, everything will be better organised and this will not happen again!
The wind has also died down a little and at 1.30 p.m. I drop anchor in the direction of the Houtrib Locks, which I pass smoothly, and am now sailing in the direction of the Ketel Bridge. The water was still choppy and the Asmara bobbed up and down as I investigated the possibility of going under the bridge. I’m 12.20 metres tall and the bridge arrows indicate 12.50. I’m not going to tempt the gods, so I call the bridge, which says it will open now. I was still five minutes away, so I gave it full throttle and told the bridge operator that I could also pass behind the catamaran. With a roaring engine, I followed and made it to the bridge, the Asmara being swept up and down by the waves. But I made it. In fact it was madness, I might just as well have waited half an hour to catch the next opening. The rest of the way to Zwartsluis I encountered another bridge, the Ramspol bridge, height 13.50 metres. But when you slowly slide under the bridge and look up past your mast, it looks like a centimetre of work, even though there should be almost a metre of space between them. When I reach Zwartsluis, I have to pass through another bridge but it is on double red. So I berthed in front of the bridge at 19.30, and now I’ve earned myself a drink.
The next morning, on Easter Monday, the bridge opened for me and I moored in what for me was an expensive marina “Kranerweerd” (22.75/night), where the next morning I went to collect 8 metres of insulated heating hose. Walking distance 50 mtr.
I have the entire Easter Monday to think about when I will do what and make the following plan. When I have the hose, I will try to fit it in the engine room. Then in the afternoon I walk to the only supermarket, the Coop, to get some fresh supplies. 2 km there and 2 km back with a heavy shopping bag – that keeps a person alive. In the evening I take a shower and then I leave on Wednesday. The installation of the heater hose did not quite succeed, the rear hose I get through the old heating pipe quite easily, but the front one gets stuck a meter before the end. It does not want to go forward or backward any more, so I decide to leave it as it is and connect the hoses to the heater again. I will solve that problem later. When I check the weather reports, it is now Tuesday evening 6 April, it appears that Thursday is the best day to sail from the ketelbrug to Lemmer or Stavoren, so tomorrow morning I will pay for two nights. But first I have to watch REAL Madrid – Liverpool with a nice cup of coffee and a piece of Easter bread.
At 12.30 I left the harbour, the showers are still flying around my ears and the forecast for today is right wind varying from 4-9 Bft, the plan is to sail to the Ketelmeer and anchor on the leeward side behind the island “IJsseloog”, and then at 09.00 go through the Ketelbrug towards Lemmer or Stavoren that I let depend on the situation on the spot.
On Wednesday, April 7, I will drop anchor in a private passage where already two sailing boats and a professional barge are anchored. Tomorrow morning I will see if the weather forecast is correct and I will be able to continue. And again, Bayern football against Paris St. Germain. In the morning, when I want to lift my anchor, something swims up that is not a fish, but an otter.
Thursday 8 April
At 08.10 hours I left my anchorage “IJsseloog” with destination “Kruispolle”, an island on the Fluessen. I approached the Ketelbrug and asked what time the first opening was. If you are in front of the bridge at 09.30, I will open it, next opening 09.50. I reported back at 09.28, and the bridge-keeper replied that you were still too far away, next opening, to which I replied that I could almost swim to it. He doesn’t answer anymore. GRRRR, civil servants. So I did a few laps in front of the bridge and waited until 09.50.
Once through the bridge, it’s quite a raging storm and I decide to take the shortcut to Lemmer. After I adjusted my route, the Asmara follows the route to Lemmer.
When I arrive at Lemmer, I don’t choose to go into the Margrietsluis, because there is still a stiff half wind there and I know that the only thing floating on the water in that lock are a few beams to lie against. So to avoid damage to the paintwork, I choose the old lock with high quay walls. But here I have to pay € 7.00, so when I’m moored I just have that in cash on board. At Lemmer, around noon, there is a wonderful smell of fried fish. I decided to moor the boat and get some kibbeling and a roll of herring. That does a person good.
I continued through the Lemmer bridges and then went starboard to the Coevorder lake to take a short route portside via Sloten and Woudsend to the Heegermeer. But to my astonishment, this route is still called “Klumpkes” and the bridge fee is 3 euros. I check all my sources but I can’t get any further than €2.50 in cash. The bridge keeper is standing by with his rod and clog. At the bridge, he points to my windmill and asks me: “Do you like one of those?”, to which I reply: “Yes, I do, but I don’t have any cash on board and I can’t get any further than €2.50. Is that a problem? Will there be more bridges with klumpkes on the route to Heeg, I ask, yes he answers at Sloten. And is it possible to use an ATM there? Shouldn’t be a problem according to the bridge keeper.
When I arrived at Sloten, I could moor on starboard, although the bridge keeper had already opened the bridge, despite my waving that I was going to moor. He then closed the opened bridge again. When I tell him I have run out of cash and ask whether I can withdraw money in this village, both men jeer.
I am directed to the nearest ATM and take my money to the shop on the square and ask for some change. When I get that, I decide to do a tour of the “village” for my youtube film. (To be found on this website under part 3).
Back at the bridge keeper, we have an animated conversation about sailing and boats. He turns out to be a true Frisian and has just bought a farm just outside the village and has his own boat under construction and a motorboat for hire.
After all this, I detached myself and went through the open bridge in the direction of Heeg. Just outside the ditches, I had to cross the Slotermeer, didn’t pay attention for a moment and felt the boat getting stuck. With max power and a bow thruster I slowly got loose again. It’s hard to imagine being stuck here for the rest of your trip. The speed log now shows no speed, probably full of mud. At 18.30 I enter the Kruispolle on the Fluessen, the wind is still 6-7 from the north. But I am sheltered here.
The weather is still far from perfect and will remain so until the end of May. After a pleasant visit from Ad with his motorsailor on the Kruispolle, I decide after a week to go to Sneek to forage. After a few days at the Marrekrite on the houkesloot I sail further towards Akkrum. The water sports club where I spend a few days each year has no more room. Wolter, the owner of the Oost yard there, has, after closing his shop, thrown himself into renting boats, so most places now have rental boats. So now I move to the neighbouring harbour and campsite “Tuske de Marren”, but it is 70% more expensive.
23 april 2021
Two nights and then onwards. The date of my second Covid-19 shot is approaching (27 April in Leeuwarden at 20.00) so slowly I move towards Leeuwarden, where I enter on the 26th of April in the afternoon and moor at the Prinsentuin. I get a phone call from the GGD (covid-19) asking if I can come earlier, at 19.00 I have a link to watch the “Streamers” on TV, so I make an appointment between 1600 and 1700.
27-04-21 2e Covid-19 prik.
A royal shot, because it is Koningsdag. It is only a fifteen-minute walk from the boat to the Municipal Health Service. There is quite a lot of activity in mayer Sybrand Buma’s Leeuwarden. In the Prinsentuin, along the grassy banks, there are many groups of people, dressed up as royalty or not. That evening I enjoyed watching the “Streamers” concert, put on the Bose sound and enjoy. With a good feeling and a Covid-19 protection in my body I crawl into my cage shortly after midnight.
The next day I left Leeuwarden around 1300 hrs and steamed up the Dokkumer Ee. After a couple of nights at a marrekrite, I enter Burdaard on Monday 3 May and moor in the tiny harbour. A cheap harbour, 8 euros/day including electricity. The harbourmaster/annex miller knows me and asks at the checkout, you live on the boat, to which I reply in the affirmative, then you’re not a tourist and you don’t have to pay tourist tax. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but in the end it makes a difference of 14 euros. Within walking distance, there is a baker’s shop that also sells vegetables, spreads and meat, a small supermarket and, last but not least, the Mill where you can buy flour and other baking ingredients.
In the end, I stay here for 14 days. The diesel heater is switched off because I don’t want to fill up with expensive diesel in the Netherlands anymore. I still have 325 litres in the tank and will need at least half of it to get to Helgoland, so I don’t have to burn it by using the stove. Here goes my little electric ceramic heater for the next 14 days. It is quiet on the camping ground next to the harbour. 3 visitors with tent/camper. Only the Ascension weekend it attracts and there are about 25 visitors, also the port accommodates about 5 or 6 boats. After that weekend everything is gone, except for two die hard visitors. Simba likes it all and comes and goes, in and out again. Because the weather doesn’t call for sitting outside for a long time, I am going to continue working on my new webshop.
I left Burdaard behind me after paying the bridge keeper 3.50 euros in his lump, the standard rate for the two bridges in Burdaard. Just 3 miles further on, I moored at a marrekrite (free mooring without facilities) again, where I stayed for another 9 days. The weather just won’t get any better, temperatures during the day are still between 9 and 12 degrees. On 25 May, I finally sail into Dokkum at 1145 where, after the Altena Bridge, I put another 5 euros in a wooden shoe for all the bridges in Dokkum and moor on the starboard side near the toilet block. Here, too, I pay 57.50 euros for a week, including electricity. That works out at 8.21 per day (normally 11.75 per day). When I go to sea via the Lauwersmeer, this is the last place to buy groceries, next possibility is Helgoland. Dokkum is a pleasant town with an equally lively centre. The many supermarkets AH, Jumbo, Spar, Lidl, Aldi, Poiesz and Action are all within walking distance. So tomorrow dig out the shopping cart for the lugging work. Lidl at 5 min walking distance. 3 Boxes of wine, necessary beer, cat food, kibble etc. When I have paid and I take out my shopping cart it appears that even the extra bag I brought is not enough, so I buy another one. All the heavy stuff in the shopping trolley, the bag on top and the other bag in my hand. When I have put everything away on board, I still have a few things missing, so tomorrow I will do another small tour.
Tonight I watched football wearing 3D glasses, which is quite spectacular. I will do the same on Saturday for the “streamers” concert.
The weather is getting better, a high pressure area is on its way to bring warmer weather. Would it finally happen? But for how long is the question.
1-6-21 Dokkum – Lauwersmeer
On 1 June, I will leave Dokkum behind me to go to the Lauwersmeer. Whether I will go to sea or continue to Groningen, depends on the weather and the status of the sea. Then begins part 2 of this story and youtube movie number 6.