July, 2010

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July 8 The island of Urk. Another meeting with our roots.

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

We spent about three hours in the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen. Jeannine and Gabrielle enjoyed it very much. For me it brought back many happy memories of vacations in the country side in the early forties. This is an incredibly well done historic preservation. It was started soon after the Zuiderzee was diked in, in 1934, and changed from a saltwater sea to a large fresh water lake. This museum site has preserved the history of the early 20th century. Entire city streets have been moved from the old Zuiderzee sea towns, brick by brick, and reerected on this piece of land adjoining the waterfront of Enkhuizen. The freshwater was the death knell to the fishing industry and many of these towns depopulated and instead of bulldozing the empty houses they found a place in this museum.  There were blacksmith, sailmaker, netmending, boatbuilding, bakery, steam laundry, you name it, shops.

We ran into Arthur and Marianne Wijnants who moor their boat in Enkhuizen and were just on their way back to Soesterberg with their twin grandsons. It was another fast sail with a 20 plus knot breeze to Urk, right across the Ijselmeer. Jeannine and I were just checking out the town and heard singing from the Bethel Christian Reformed Church. It turned out that the weekly communal church singing summer program had just started. The Urkers are known for their love of choir singing. They have several large men’s choirs who perform in Urker traditional costume all over the world. My mother has written about her recollections as a young girl on the island of Urk when the fishermen sang at a special occasion of a royal visit to the island. My grandfather met his wife on the island of Urk and was married here in 1900. The Bethel church was where my great grandfather, van Anken, was the Christian Reformed minister at that time. The church was full and Gabrielle could hear us 10 blocks away on the boat in the harbor. I joined with all my force as I was taught by my environment in the forties/fifties. There was a men’s choir from Elspeet who sang some beautiful religious works and a couple American songs like Amazing Grace and The Rose.

Dirk Jan and his oldest son Daan are joining us here at 2 p.m. and we’ll sail back together to Monnickendam.

Holland is playing Spain this sunday evening in the WC soccer final…..

July 7 Enkhuizen. Holland WC soccer wins again, finals on Sunday

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Another breezy sail for the wind from Hoorn to Enkhuizen. The first experience for the McDonnells going throug the locks.The weather has been great but cooler than last week. We strolled throug the beautiful historic sea town and stopped to admire Astrid’s new bakery.” ‘t Spelthuys”  www.spelthuys.nl Astrid and I met in French Polynesia when she was first mate on the Schooner Brig “Soeren Larsen”. http://cometosea.us/albums/albums/SoerenLarsen/ You just have to come to Enkhuizen yourself and see her shop and taste her pastries and bread.

Another exciting game Holland against Uruguay. Amazing on how a country like Uruguay with a 3 1/2 million population could come this far in the World Cup.  This evening we will find out which of the two, Spain or Germany will have the honor to join Holland on Sunday in the final.

This morning we will visit  the Zuiderzee Museum and then we will keep going to either Medemblik or the (former)  island of Urk where my grandparents were married in 1900.

July 6th Cruising the Ijselmeer with Jeannine and Gabrielle

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Jeannine just told me that she is staying in Holland for the rest of her life. We”ll see. But I take it that it means that all the efforts to make this happen will be worth it. Karolien and Herman came to get us at the Airport on Sunday morning. Two tired travellers had a good rest on the boat in Monnickendam and we set out on Monday morning to make stops at Marken and Volendam and then had a windy sail to Hoorn. Double reefed. It is another beautiful early morning in the inner harbor of Hoorn. Jeannine is thrilled to see the sun reflect the old gabled houses in the harbor’s water. We are rafted three deep. Two young Dutchmen and a British couple, David and Jane who had us over for cocktails. We will explore the town center this morning and then sail to Enkhuizen. This evening the semi final for Holland and Uruguay.

No pictures. The wireless is too slow.

Saturday July 3rd. Getting ready for family visitors

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Daughter #3, Jeannine and granddaughter #2, Gabrielle are on their way to the Norfolk, Va. airport and arrive at Schiphol on Sunday morning. It is 11.45 and the Monnickendam carillon is playing a welcome song. The carilloneur plays every Saturday between 11.30 and noon. It is also market day on Saturday morning in town. This week there is a summer festival here. A large stage is erected over the inner harbor canal. Thursday night there was a rock band last night an Irish folk band was on stage. Historical boats and Navy ships liven up the waterfront. With the World Soccer cup victory and the start of the Tour de France in Holland today there is no dull moment in this country.

The last picture of the Geese was taken on the Fluessen between Heeg and Stavoren, last Tuesday. It took me for ever to figure out what type of Goose this is. Also called Nile Goose, this bird is not native but just like the Canada Geese spreading its wings beyond Canada, this Goose came from Africa.

July 2nd. Holland goes Mad after beating Brazil in WC soccer

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

This is one of the few spectator sports events that get even me glued to a TV screen. A satellite picture taken between 4 and 5.30 p.m. of the Dutch roads would show just a handful of automobiles, probably just foreign tourists. The Dutch definitely played some of the best soccer they have ever played. 

The crowd went bezerk and the drinks were free after the winning goal in the tavern in Monnickendam. Young men jumped from the top of the Lange Brug, ignoring the “no swimming” signs.

My nephew Dirk Jan came from Haarlem to go for a sail today. He almost missed the game. It was another perfect sailing day on the IJselmeer. Good wind, flat water, hot summer weather. We both had a good time.

July 1st Stavoren, Friesland and back to Monnickendam

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Tuesday started out just with the same warm sunny summer weather I have had all through the week. It was a fabulous scene, first right through the center of old Sneek and right past the Water Gate. The narrow canals changed to wider waterways, right through the Frisian farm lands, black and white Holstein dairy cows, sheep, the steep pointed red tiled roofs of the farm houses. The route took me across two lakes, Fluessen and Heeger Meer. The wind was on the nose and I could not use my sails, most of the lakes are too shallow to wanderoutside of the deeper traffic channels. The major highways crossings of the the waterways are practically all aquaducts but the smaller roads have the bridges and I it was a good thing that I had enough change on me. Because it would have been difficult trying to put a five Euro bill in the small wooden shoe that the bridge attendant dangles in front of you while passing through the bridge by myself and then getting change for the 1.25 Euro charge.
By 1 p.m. the skies covered over and a light drizzle started that ended up in a decent downpour after I had decided to stay the night in Stavoren. Stavoren is the oldest city of the 11 cities in Friesland. But it’s glory did not last long and it has little to show for it, nothing like Sneek, Hoorn, Monnickendam and the like. There is a very interesting story/fable about “het vrouwtje van Stavoren” (the woman of Stavoren) . So, the story goes, she was a rich merchant woman and ship owner who bragged about her wealth and when a soothsayer predicted that she would lose it all she responded by telling him that just like the golden ring she just threw in the water would for ever be gone she would never lose her fortunes. But five days later she was served a fresh cod and, behold, the ring was in the fish’s stomach. Her fleet was lost in storms. A sandbar formed in front of Stavoren ( this actually did happen) the ships had to discharge their cargoes elsewhere and her warehouses became useless.
Before the Afsluitdijk was built across to make a lake of the Zuiderzee, Stavoren in Friesland and Enkhuizen in Holland were the closest points across the Zuiderzee and were the two terminals for the ferry connection. Now Stavoren is a popular port for the “Brown Fleet” the old sailing barges, popular for a day or longer sailing excursions.

I left early this morning through the locks into the IJselmeer. There was a perfect breeze but the visibility was less than 1/2 a mile, but the fog burn of by the time I got to Enkhuizen.
Once through the locks the wind started to lift and I was able to set the spinnaker from just outside of Enkhuizen to Marken. This is the ideal way of cruising for me. Reasonable winds, smooth seas and great destinations within a couple hours sailing.

The tour through Friesland and revisting my mother’s side roots will remain a high light in my European visit.

I talked to Marinus Hoogendoorn, the Rhine Barge owner, about our plans for the Rhine portion of my intended cruise to Turkey.Most likely this will happen in the first week of August but it depends on whether he has a cargo booked to go up the Rhine to Mainz.
I’d like to extend invitations to any of my friends who are interested in accompanying me for a portion of this trip. Roger Rue might join me for all or part of the trip on the Main-Danube Canal, which will most likely be sometime mid August and then Brenda might come to Budapest and she and a friend spend some time on the Danube with me. There is a good chance that my oldest son John and his friend will meet me in Croatia in September. Frankly going through the 64 plus locks on this trip is not going to be a one man’s job.

I’m getting the boat ready for Jeannine and Gabrielle’s visit starting the 4th. Tomorrow my nephew and his son Lucas will come for a sail before the quarter finals soccer Holland-Brazil, at 4 p.m.