June, 2010

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Wednesday June 9

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

It has been raining since Sunday evening. I started revarnishing the teak deck trim but the frequent showers drive me back down to cabin chores. Yesterday Jeannine, daughter # 3, and granddaughter Gabrielle booked their flight to spend two weeks with me from July 4 till the 18th. Jeannine was born in Belgium when we were living south of Brussels between 1965 and 1970. I am looking forward to show them were Jeannine was born and my roots. This will be the first time for her since she left just 8 months after she was born. Her two older sisters have been back here to visit in the seventies and eighties. Now I am busy planning my schedule around their visit dates to try and have them meet as many as possible of their European relatives and to sail with my relatives before I depart Holland the end of July.

While the rain keeps me below decks I have started to read up on what the Danube trip has in store. I’ll be passing through 10 countries and cover over 2000 land miles, from Holland to the Black Sea. I’ll be witnessing the marks left by the many cultures and civilizations that used the Danube as their mode of transportation or were stopped by the Danube as a natural border; The Romans, Turks, Celts, Huns, etc.

This is a view of the Waterland Marina in Monnickendam   

Here are a couple more photos taken in Hoorn last weekend. I assume that the people in these houses have their tables suspended from the ceilings.

Monday June 7

Monday, June 7th, 2010

The summer weekend came to an end. It is cool and cloudy. Nothing special to report today.

So here are a few extra photos from the last days. On my bicycle trip back from Volendam I took the below pictures of the Kiewit or Kievit,  in English Northern Lapwing (Plover family). This bird is prolific in the Dutch cow pastures. It nests right in the grass lands. For centuries the first Kiewit egg discovered is presented to the King or Queen of Holland.  It migrates south for the winter months. It is rarely seen elsewhere in Europe or in North America. As kids we used to comb the pastures for that first egg. The expectant father Kiewit has an uncanny skill to draw the searcher on a wild Kiewit chase. 

Next is the Carillon  in the Play Tower. This is the oldest Carillon, from 1597 still playing in Holland. On the whole hour the carousel starts turning and horsemen play a battle and the golden haired Cherubim (or is it a Seraphim?) sounds her trumpet. Saturday morning the town (“Beiaardier”, the Klockenspieler,) carilloneur plays the Carillon for an half hour. There is a YouTube video with the Beiaardier playing Elvis’ greatest hits, last April 24.  

Sunday June 6. Back in Monnickendam

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

I was the first boat out of the Hoorn inner harbor. Yesterday it was a close hauled sail to the North and this time it was another near close hauled sail to the South. Another very satisfying and quick 2 hour sail. I was back in my berth in Monnickendam before 9 a.m. It was a warm evening, in the mid seventies, and the small town was filled with sailors and tourists.  Hoorn harbors a large “Bruine Vloot” (= Brown Fleet) of the old commercial sailing barges, which take groups of paying guests on day and overnight trips around the Ijselmeer.  The passengers are generally a younger crowd and it was a lively scene in the outer harbor.

I went to 10 a.m.mass in M’dam at the church of St.Nicholas and St. Anthony.  The neo gothic turn of the 20th century building reminded me in many ways of the Notre Dame de Saigon which was completed in the late 19th century. Impressive but not particularly attractive. I estimated that this church was built to seat from 600 to 750 parishioners. The gospel today was from Luke 9, Jesus feeding the 5000, starting out with 5 loaves of bread and two fish. Well, it would not have taken a miracle for Jesus to feed today’s crowd in the Monnickendam church. With the 5 men Gregorian choir I estimated the total attendance at around 50 souls…. The European Christians should have constructed knock down prefabricated churches in the last century then they could have exported them to where they are needed, to the countries where I saw packed churches, in the Pacific, Philippines, Vietnam, etc.

Gerard and Nam came to visit from Lelystad. It was an open air market day in M’dam and stalls were all through town. We ate Vietnamese spring rolls at one of the two Vietnamese “roulettes” . The predicted rain started mid afternoon. The weekend sailors have gone back home. Many stop here at the boat to ask questions about my travels.

My frustration with the wireless connection here, at least for right now, have evaporated. I can send e-mails again from my browser! 

I have added three pictures to yesterday’s Hoorn visit blog, below.

Mass Monnickendam

Saturday June 5. In Hoorn

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

It took two hours to sail from Monnickendam/Marken to Hoorn. Two weeks ago I was here, by car, to take the laptop into the shop. I believe it took my twin brother and I at least 6 hours in 1956 to sail his rickety craft from Hoorn to Marken. I had a perfect breeze and I could lay Hoorn, hard on the wind, in one tack.

Mass here is  not till 11 a.m. and the weather is supposed to turn to possibly heavy showers and even thunder storms are predicted for Sunday afternoon. So, I now plan to head out early, particularly since I am the outside boat in a wide raft up here. I can then stop in Volendam or go to mass in Monnickendam. This is the first time that I am just going out for an afternoon sail since the summer of 2004. Since 2005 it has always been part of the circumnavgation. With the exception of the club races with the Schinkel last weekend and last September.  

I am in the inner harbor and sailboats, with an occsasional power boat, are rafted wall to wall. It resembles the Victoria inner harbor at Swiftsure weekend. I may need to be on the move from now on to send and receive e-mails. Yesterday, there was a brief period in the marina in Monnickendam where I could actually send e-mails but then it got even worse to where I cannot send nor receive and the internet access is blocked as well. Their HotSpot service is totally useless.  

My stereo is hooked up and working. For thirty years I managed to do without. Now I cannot imagine why.

Friday June 4 Monnickendam

Friday, June 4th, 2010

I am getting to know my way around town. Shops, bank etc. I have done a bunch of chores, repair the bow light, hook up the stereo . The weather has been improving by the day and it is supposed to get into the seventies today and tomorrow. I am wanting to go for a sail. Perfect wind and weather. But I still have too many chores. Yesterday the folding bike saddle tube broke. All the wring to the stereo have power but the tuner does not turn on. After trying the many options on my e-mail browser settings I am still unable to send e-mails from the wire less system here in the marina. Only receive. The only way I can send e-mail is through an internet webmail account. And that is a much more complicated. I have spent hours trying to resolve the issue with Bank of America on trying to transfer dollars to my Euro account here. Now I have to run to the marina office because someone else on the dock keeps tripping the electric power off.  I should just set sail on a long ocean crossing then, at least, I can be doing something I enjoy while solving a problem.

Flip picked me up here yesterday evening and we went to Amsterdam for the Thursday race evening at “de Schinkel”.

I need to set up a schedule for the friends and family I expect to come for a sail here before I leave the end of July. I am waiting to hear from Jeannine and Gabrielle if they are coming before getting together with the Europeans.

Monnickendam wth Lange Brug

Tuesday June 1st. Monnickendam

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Monday was spent organizing the boat after the Marken weekend and getting my bearings in the Marina and the town of Monnickendam. I am very content with the new location. I can strike out to many different directions under sail from this marina. Flip Brommet invited me over for a drink at his home near the marina. Flip and I grew up in the same street in Amsterdam and Flip has been a member of the “de Schinkel” since the late fifties. He also was in the international wood business and we both started our careers for the same large importer, “Fijnhout”, in Amsterdam, so we have lots in common. I took the bus this morning to Amsterdam Central Station. This is an excellent connection. I can take the folding bike on the bus. It took about 25 minutes. It was a gorgeous day so I decided to forgo public transportation to my dentist and crossed the city on the folding bike. Now I am at my sister’s house near the airport. This Thursday I will come along to the weekly evening Vrijheid buoy races with Flip.