September, 2012

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Sunday Sept 30 Muiden-Volendam

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

The “Koster tot Kapelaan” race was a great success. The weather was perfect a strong wind and sunshine. The BU-59 recovered from being next to last to start out of a fleet of 16 to finish 5th. The skipper Henk van Halteren could have used a few more crew. I tried steering for part of the reach to Marken but the monster rudder was more than I could handle under full sail with the large jib, spanker, flying jib (kluiver). The below pictures were taken with Ce Ce’s I-pad. Finally figured out how to transfer them to my laptop. We were in Volendam by 2.30 p.m and told strong tales at “de Molen”and later in the evening had dinner next door at “De Dijk” with about 70 of the crews on the 16 boats. We had plenty of time to mix in with the many tourists on the main street and Ce Ce did her shopping in the many tourist shops. A crew member drove us back to Muiden. I went to 10 o’clock mass at the St. Nicholas church. The service was led by lay members, because of the lack of priests and parochians.

We shall be in “de Schinkel” by this afternoon. Another bright sunny crisp fall day to show the Amsterdam harbor and the canals to the Georgian.

Friday Sept 28, Muiden

Friday, September 28th, 2012

We are at Ome Ko’s bar in Muiden. Noisy but good company. The distance to Spakenburg from Elburg turned out to be further than I had expected and we had a very strong headwind slowing us down. Just when I entered Spakenburg harbor Henk van Halteren waved me down from his botter. He was on his way to Muiden for an informal botter race with another 15 Spakenburg botters from Muiden to Volendam, tomorrow. I decided to follow Henk and as I had hoped for he invited us aboard for the race tomorrow. Henk is the manager of the Nieuwboer Botter yard in Spakenburg. The yard that I wrote about in the current issue of the Wooden Boat issue. Henk told me that the issue sold out in Spakenburg. I expect that we will be back late  from Volendam to Muiden and this means that we will most likely not show up in Amsterdam till Sunday. Henk and his Spakenburg buddies call this race: “Van de koster naar de Kapelaan”. ( From the Pastor to the Priest) The Volendammers are predominantly Roman Catholic and the rest of the former Zuider Zee botter fishermen are all protestant.

 

Thursday September 27, Kampen

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

We arrived in Kampen in the late afternoon doing an easy 70 kms with the strong current.  We are moored in the Bovenhaven, next to the restored Kamper Botters. Jampen is also one of the old Hansa free trading cities. Lots of history. Last night we wandered into the “Bovenkerk” a prereformation Catholic church and remained as such. A choir was practicing the Latin liturgical songs. My great grandmother,  was from Kampen. Her husband studied theology here, paid for by his father in law, van den Berg. My grandfather met his wife on the island of Urk where her father was the Christian Reformed minister. The below picture shows a photo taken in Kampen.

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I have a new plan (again): instead of getting the mast placed in Lelystad I will leave the mast at Deko Marina in inside storage and skip the planned sailing trip on the IJselmeer. The season just is no longer holding out for a sail. It is again blustery, dark and rainy. We will motor to Elburg an other old Zuiderzee harbor town. I will meet Henk Hulst there from the Elburg botter vereniging. And then I plan also stop in Spakenburg and then we should be in Amsterdam on Saturday. With the mast in storage it will be easier to start the repair work from the destruction derby on the rivers and canals. I plan to put the boat in a covered shed and redo the interior and remove the teak deck. With all the rain I keep discovering more and more small nasty leaks in the deck.

Still no word from the Thalys Train people on my two urgent request of the whereabouts of my camera. Service is not in their vocabulary.

I will be adding a few pictures of “Fleetwood” next to her Kamper Botter Brothers, as soon as Ce Ce has figured out how to transfer them from her I-pad. Thursday evening: Here is one that made it through to me:

Tuesday September 25 Zutphen on the IJsel river.

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

The about 18 k.m. from Nijmwegen on the Waal against the current were challenging. I averaged about 5 k.n per hour and there was lots of traffic and rough wakes. In order to stay out of the worst of the current I had to cross the river three times and then you have to be careful for the fast down stream traffic. Then once I turned the corner into the canal that connects the Waal with the Upper Rhine I was back on the 10 k.m. per hour routine. Next came the IJsel, just beforte Arnhem and it was 1.30 p.m., too early to stop in Arnhem. The IJsel runs faster yet than the Rhine and I was doing 15 k.m. /hr. Besides the current I also had a strong Southerly pushing me. It was much cooler than the two previous days, the dark ominous clouds never made bad on their threat.

We tied up in the Vispoort harbor at 4.30 p.m.  I do not remember ever having been in Zutphen. An old Hansa town. Very well preserved with many interesting historic buildings and a very lively town. Definitely a new Dutch favorite for me. I expect to be in Kampen tomorrow and in Lelystad by Thursday late afternoon. Then I will decide if to step the mast to do some sailing on the IJselmeer, if the weather forcast encourages this, or to bring the mast with me on the boat to Amsterdam. I need to do some maintenance to the mast and fix the bruises and scratches on the hull from the canal/river trip.  In the early spring I plan to find a spot for the boat to repaint the hull and fix the underwater brusies and I’d like to remove the teak deck and redo the interior finish, which will be a  major challenge.

Zutphen

 

September 24,Monday in Nijmegen aan de Waal

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The marina in Venlo had bicycles available for their guests. I used one of them to ride the about 4 miles to the center of Venlo for 10 o’clock mass at Saint Martin. The church originates from the 15th century but has been rebuilt many times. It has an exquisitely carved wooden pulpit. Just wished I had not left my Nikon on the train. The Thalys train people are not responding to my web mails and their phone number can only be reached on a fee basis…. Anyway the Sunday gospel told me not to pick a fight with them. The other institution that challenges my anger control is the Bank of America. To pay for the 700 euro road transport of the mast I transferred dollars to my euro account. The rate came to $1.38 (this includes their $35 transfer fee) for the Euro, whereas when I pull money out of an ATM machine here it costs me $1.27 (including the fees).

We left Venlo at 12.30 and stopped near Boxmeer at KM 151 and anchored in an artificial lake, a sand/gravel pit off the river. A thunderstorm moved through with heavy showers. I decided to stop early today to deal with Thalys once more  and to do some banking chores. We stopped at 12.30 in Nijmwegen. The weather forecast was for more rain and thunder storms accompanied by wind gusts.  We are moored in the Lindenberg harbor, right in town. The current on the Waal is strong and the approximate 20 k.m.’s against the current will take a while longer than the speed I have become used to.  Then we get into the Rhine to Arnhem and that is again with the current. We shall stay in the Valkenburg marina in Arnhem tomorrow and then get on the IJsel. With a stop in either Kampen, Zwolle or Deventer we should be in Lelystad on or before Saturday.

Picking up a WiFi signal in the evening in Braschaat

 

 

 

September 22nd Saturday Evening Post. Venlo, Holland

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

We arrived in the de Maas Watersport marina, about 6 kms north of Venlo, in the late aternoon. I tried to get into the city dock in the center of Venlo, but it was too shallow.There are bicycles available for the guests here and I think I will go into Venlo to go to mass, in the morning. I have not heard back from the Thalys Train lost and found about the Nikon camera I left on their train to Amsterdam. I am posting one of Ce Ce’s photos. We went right through Roermond. The weather was blustery and a cold wind blew from the N.W. but I was amazed by the many small sail boats on the water near Roermond; and by the many large marinas. We should be close to Nijmwegen by tomorrow. The Dutch lock tenders are much more helpful than the experiences I had on the Belgian Meuse.

In the Albert canal on the way to Maastricht

Friday September 21 Maasbracht, Holland

Friday, September 21st, 2012

I am way ahead of the schedule that I gave you in the last days. We did not stay more than just the one night in Liege. I made one more attempt to find the information I was looking for in Liege. One 97 year old neighbor remembered the person I was looking for but still did not get any further than that.

We left Liege at 10 a.m. and I figured that the best I could do was make it into Maastricht. Byt the one lock went lickety-split and we were in Maastricht by 1.30 p.m. I managed to find the river charts I needed. And had to purchase once again a Dutch propane tank for nearly $50. This is the most idiotic system. Every country has their own regulation propane tank. I junked the Dutch propane tank in Turkey for theirs. I had my American tank filled in Tahiti and had to buy the South African tank in Durban. So, what am I going to do with the Dutch tank when I get to my next destination?

We are in a real nice little village rest stop just north of the third lock we went through today, just before the city of Maasbracht. For dinner we had the left overs from last night’s excellent Vietnamese restaurant dinner in Liege.

It looks like I’ll be in Lelystad before the end of the next week.

 

 

 

Thursday September 20, Liege

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Last day of summer. It was cold in the morning again but the sun warmed us up by the early afternoon.  The two locks were extremely busy.  The first lock could have let us in with the two commercial barges but they were not very helpful and we ended up missing the next one as well.  I walked over to one of the waiting Dutch barges “Prinsenland” and the skipper/owner, Cornelis, turned out to have been a deck hand, in his younger years, aboard “Glissando”, the barge owned by Marinus Hoogendoorn who towed me up the Rhine in 2010. We only have one more lock from here to Maastricht, on the Dutch side of the border. Both the marina last night and the one here are very nicely buffered from the river traffic and we should have another restful night here, with hot showers. I found the address I was looking for in Liege but no-one remembered the family. Tomorrow I’ll try another approach.

Ce Ce has been busy taking videos of the trip. As soon as I get the posting figure out I’ll be sharing parts of them with you.

 

 

Wednesday Sept 19, Wanze-Huy

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

IMG_0053We left at ten o’clock after getting fueled up at the marina and got in here, after just doing two locks and 35 kms, at 2.30 p.m. It will be about the same distance to Liege and we shall be there tomorrow afternoon. If I can accomplish my sleuth job, in Liege, by Friday then we should be in Maastricht for the weekend. A cold wind blows from the south but so far no rain. I left my Nikon camera on the Thalys Train but it had an address tag and I have sent an e-mail to the Thalys people. So, now you and I will be entertained with videoes from Ce Ce’s brand new I-Pad. One of the videoes is of the Saint Sulpice church. A French lady I accosted for directions out of a metro station led us there.  She also showed us where Catherine Deneuve lives, across from the church.

When in Paris on Monday there was an exhibit from the national forestry association and they had about 8 foot high live specimens of most common French trees in their exhibit. And I now have a definite identification for the tree that I asked you to help me with. It turns out to be a common Ash (Fraxinus). I never had an inkling that this is the predominant species along the rivers I visited from the Med to the Belgian border.

Well, back to the directions on how to put a video on the blog.

Ik zoek help voor het vinden van een goede artiest die het boek omslag voor de “De Mastmakersdochters” kan ontwerpen. Kunt U mij helpen?

 

Tuesday Sept. 18 Paris

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Paris in one day. I have just barely managed to keep Ce Ce  on the plan after dragging her to Mont Martre, Sain Germain des Pres, Latin Quarter, Champs Elysees.  I have been here a few times before but it remains one of the most exciting cities to be absorbed by. The weather has been very mild. The area near the American consulate was surrounded by hundreds of riot police, scary looking helmeted heavily armed men with plastic shields. We’ll take the train this afternoon to Namur, via Brussels.

Love Locks on the Pont des Arts