Britespark goes Dutch

N 53° 12' E 05° 47'

Grouw to Leeuwarden

June 30, 2009

We edged our way north out of the meer, our charts indicated a canal depth of 1.5m which is precisely our draft! We bit our fingernails and watched the sounder..  no need to worry, we had 3M all the way! After many bridges we arrived bang in the town centre and moored alongside the trees against a grassy bank. Pretty. Went to the Fries museum to look at the history of the chip! Mata Hari had her own feature in the museum, she grew up in Leeuwarden and even after the passage of time since the First World War she is still much talked about in these parts. Leeuwarden also has a tower (Thoren) that leans just about as much as the one in Pisa!

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N 53° 05' E 05° 50'

Sneek to Grouw

June 28, 2009

Sneek is said to be the sailing capital of Friesland, and sure enough, when we reached Sneekermeer, it was a sea of sails, just like The Solent in Cowes Week, the only difference being that these are mostly dinghys. There is masses of water in this area, sadly most of it too shallow for us. Grouw is a Norfolk Broads type village, and we are moored just on the edge of the Broad. Perfect.

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N 53° 02' E 05° 41'

Sanmar Sont to Sneek

June 27, 2009

This town is much more modern, and therefore not as quaint as those over the other side of the Ijsselmeer, but we got our bikes out and had a good trip around town. On the plus side, the harbourmaster charged us 9.50euro overnight including electricity, and there was a Chinese take away at the end of the pontoon.

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N 52° 56' E 05° 37'

Hindeloopen to Sanmar Sont

June 26, 2009

We were planning to stop in Stavoren, but did not like the look of it, so we continued to the lakes. This whole area is so much like the Norfolk Broads, with small riverside boatyards and reed beds. We anchored in the lake overnight, had a Barbie, and discovered that our outboard was not cooling. Chris was not happy because he could not fix it!

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N 52° 56' E 05° 23'

Enkhuizen to Hindeloopen

June 25, 2009

Big sail this, all the way across the Ijsselmeer, nearly 4 hours! Harbourmaster in Hindloopen said “You can go in that box there next to my boat” No pressure then! However, we now feel that we have these box moorings cracked, it was blowing 18 knots across the harbour, and we managed to get in without touching anything!

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N 52° 42' E 05° 19'

Hoorn to Enkhuizen

June 22, 2009

Out of the Markermeer and into the Ijsselmeer, an even bigger inland sea, with big waves, had forgotten how they made me feel! Enkhuizen, is another pretty town with lovely old harbour, but is also home to the Zuirderzee Museum. A fantastic place, and an excellent day out. It is very “real” with lots of old buildings from all over the Netherlands, and rebuilt into villages in the museum, everything is outside, and over 50% of the buildings are open to visit. We really enjoyed it.

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N 52° 38' E 05° 03'

Volendam to Hoorn

June 20, 2009

Another great sail across the Markermeer, to another lovely old town, but this one was a bit different as it was Hoorn Festival weekend. The whole town was out partying, different bands were playing all around the town in different squares. Something for everyone from brass to heavy metal, so we decided to stay and soak up the atmosphere. Sunday was also the day of the British Grand Prix, so Chris went all round Hoorn trying to find a bar that was showing it! The Dutch are not really into motor racing! Eventually, he found a bar that had a TV that was not on and persuaded the lady to switch on the grand prix. Shame about the result.

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N 52° 29' E 05° 04'

Marken to Volendam

June 18, 2009

Just a short hop across the Markermeer, only 45 mins, but a great sail. Moored in the old harbour ,  this was a good location, but  very touristy. We got on our bikes and rode along the dike to Edam, you would think that Edam would be touristy because of the cheese, but it is not. It is a splendid Dutch town with lots of lovely old buildings and of course we bought some cheese. So much nicer than the stuff we get at home! We had a lovely lunch, and watched the harbourmaster work the canal bridges by hand and then cycle off to do the next one!

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N 52° 27' E 05° 06'

Monnickendam to Marken

June 17, 2009

Marken used to be an island until the causeway was built 45 years ago, but it retains an island feel. Elderly people wear traditional costume and not just for the tourists. The houses are totally different to any others that we have seen in Holland so far, they were built on stilts so that they did not flood every year, when the island was under water. It was amazing to be able to moor up in the old harbour where the fishing fleet used to come and go from. Even better, it was a free overnight berth. We got on our bikes and rode around the island, no more than 10k all the way round.

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N 52° 27' E 05° 02'

Amsterdam to Monnickendam

June 15, 2009

Thought that this would be an easy trip, as going north from Amsterdam is much more straightforward than the approach from the south . Only one lock and a bridge.  Lock went smoothly, and we emerged to see the bridge halfway up, not open, not closed, just stuck! There were approx 8 boats waiting, and it was lunchtime so food appeared on all boats, and everyone settled down for awhile. After an hour, the bridge was working again, and off we went, into the Markermeer, a huge inland sea. Monnickendam is one of the biggest yachting centres on the Markermeer, but also an ancient fishing village, with lots of interesting old boats and pretty canals. The old harbour is not suitable for visitors as the bridge and canal is very narrow, so we went into Marina Monnickendam. If you are ever down this way looking for a berth, I strongly recommend it! We were charged 16 euro overnight, for 10.8m. We were given free bikes, we were given a key to use free washing machine and tumble drier ( usually horribly expensive in Holland ) and the following morning, the owner delivered us breakfast! South Coast Marinas take note!!

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