July 1st, 2010

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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.