September, 2009 browsing by month


Friday Sept 4 – I’m on Paro(o)l(e)…

Friday, September 4th, 2009


You can read all about it at the interview I mentioned on my previous post which appeared in yesterday’s PAROOL.

I’m sorting things out that I do not need while in inland waters, like liferaft, spare rudder, extra spinnaker pole, books, etc. to put in storage till 2011. I got up early to take pictures of the moon set, but just when I had enough daylight the clouds rolled in again but I ended up with the below shot. On the rail line, in the picture, that runs right along the lake’s edge used to be a narrow gauge commuter train that ran from the Haarlemmermeer Station, just to the north of here to the country side, south of Amsterdam. The train is long gone but the track is now being used to run a number of preserved street cars, from the fourties/fifties, on the weekends. I have a very vivid memory of the only time I ever rode on this train. It was in the summer of 1944. My mother had been taken away by the SS in April. I was staying with family near here. The uncle who used to be a member of this YC. My sister and brother were each staying with other relatives. My father came to get us all that summer day and we took this train to visit an aunt and uncle in Uithoorn, about 20 miles away. The Haarlemeer station was right in front of the Amstelveenseweg prison where my father thought our mother was, at that time. He stood in the middle of the street in from of this enormous prison building and shouted to the top of his voice: “Rennie!!!!!”, my mother’s name. Later we found out that she had already been transferred to the Dutch SS concentration camp at Vught, where my brother and I plan to be this Sunday for the commemoration of the 65 years anniversary of the camp evacuation.  


Thursday 3 Sep. A big step closer to the Black Sea

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Yesterday I received good news on the reality of sailing across Europe by way of the Danube river. I have searched high and low for the answers in the last 3 years. Till yesterday I had serious doubts that my draft and engine speed/strenght could handle the rivers and canals.  A Dutch couple Henk and Hanny Nauta navigated this route in 2005 in a Beneteau Oceanis 411 Clipper with 1.7 m draft, which is nearly identical to my draft and on their web site: they give a detailed description of the voyage along the entire route into the Med and back to Holland up the Atlantic coast. They have a much more powerful engine and better boatspeed than my 30 footer with a tired 30 yeard old 16 horse power engine. Henk Nauta pointed out that the strongest counter current is the first stretch on the Rhine, 4 to 6 knots,  and that once in the Main river the counter current is only about 1 knot.  And the Danube is all down hill. I am hoping to be able to make use of an offer I received from another Dutch sailor I met last winter in the BVI, who operates a river barge, to tow me up the Rhine. The timing I had in mind for the early fall of 2010 might need to be reviewed because I have to be sure that there is a high enough water in the rivers and that may not happen till later in the fall. But this is good news and I hope to be able to sit down with the Nautas and get their input on the charts and regulations I’ll need for this voyage across Europe. I am very excited to visit all these historically significant parts of the Balkans and Central Europe. To-morrow my twin brother Jan arrives from Germany to visit here this weekend. We plan to attend the 65 year commemoration of the evacuation of the SS concentration camp Vught, this coming Sunday. From here my mother and the entire prison population was stuffed in cattle cars and shipped off to the infamous concentration camp Ravensbrueck in Germany ahead of the advancing allied forces, in the first week of September 1944. In Kiky Heinsius’ memoirs of the three concentration camps, ending with the liberation in Dachau in April 45, she writes in detail about the evacuation. I shall try have a translation done and added to the web site in the next days. It’s a good day for it, cold and raining.

Yesterday, Frenk van der Nederlanden, who writes a daily column in “PAROOL” , a popular daily newspaper here, stopped by with Caro the photographer. Dus, oogje open houden in de a.s. dagen.