April 6 2024 Back on “Fleetwood III”

Written by Jack van Ommen on April 6th, 2024

I landed on Schiphol early enough on March 28 to attend the Holy Thursday service at my familiar parish at the St. Augustine church and the stations of the cross on Friday. On Easter Sunday I took bus and train with my 50-lb backpack from my sister’s home in Badhoevedorp to Zaandam and attended the Easter Sunday service at St. Bonifatius church.

St. Bonifatius

The boat survived the unusually stormy winter in good shape. I am back, since Monday, at YC “de Schinkel” where I learned to sail as a pre-puber and spent a good part of my 2009-2014 Europe visit. It is good to be back on my floating home, cook my own meals, act crazy; a lifestyle I am stuck in voluntarily since 2005.


I slept in 19 different locations since I arrived on November 15 at Lisa’s home, on two boats, one train, one motel, one hotel, the rest “real” homes. Too many names to post here to express my gratitude for the hospitality, not to forget the many visits and meals at other homes.  Thank you all. I am very blessed.

The work to finish repairing the hidden defects on the boat starts in earnest today. So far I have been catching up on an unending battle to get my residential permit that was started in 2022. Last summer, my application got lost in the system, the permission to pick up the license was granted the day after my departure date on November 15. I was then granted an extension to the end of this month. But guess what? They have no trace of my permit, once again. The only way to communicate is by snail mail. I am going to advertise for a personal secretary with minimum 10 year gaming expertise to deal with the online DigiD maze.

In my previous blog, I had just come back to the Cape Charles, Va. area where I have spent time since I washed up on the Barrier Islands adjoining the Eastern Shore of the Peninsula that runs north and south between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. I made many good friendships here while I repaired “Fleetwood II” from the June 22 2017 shipwreck wounds.

On March 9th I gave another “SoloMan” presentation at the YC in Kinsale, close to the southern bank of the Potomac River. That Saturday night I was the guest on the yacht of Harry and Cathy Coorens in the Blue Water Marina in Hampton, Va. We met in Cape Charles in 2018. Harry is also raised in the Netherlands. Last summer they looked me up in Zaandam.

View from Coorens residence

The three of us attended mass on Sunday at the same church I wrote about on my blog of the 4th of July 2020, Our Lady Star of the Sea at Fort Monroe. That day I happened to be sitting in the same pew with Skip and Doreen Grimm. Skip is a walking history encyclopedia and he has been a great help in educating me, particularly the role the Dutch played on the Chesapeake and the James River in the New World. In 2020 he gave me a tour of the historic surroundings and the impressive Maritime Museum in Newport News. The five of us had coffee across the street at the old Fire Hall.

I stayed with my friend Susan Kovacs who lives in Machipongo on the banks of the Hungars Creek. Where the deer and the Bald Eagles play and one never gets tired of watching the watermen work oysters, clams and crab and see the recent full moon set.

Full Moon Hungars Creek

The Palm Sunday service and Saint Patrick day dinner at Saint Charles church were opportunities to shake hands again with parishioner friends I got to know here.

with our Episcopalian neighbors in Cape Charles. Blessing of the Palms

Susan drove me to the Amtrak station in Norfolk on the 26th for a ride to Quantico, the marine base just south of D.C. My new friends Jack and Scottie Foster drove me to their home in Warrenton, Va. Scottie is the Bauernmalerei art teacher of Cathy Crowley I reported on in my previous blog. Just like my experience with the Crowleys in Napa, we share the same interests and values as sailors and Christians.

Bauernmalerei. 4 Seasons. “I and my house, we will serve the Lord”


    Jack & Scottie


They drove me to Dulles the next day for my flight to Amsterdam via Dublin. Again, just like the flight to Seattle in November, excellent service on Aer Lingus. Highly recommended, total opposite of my experience with Easy Jet in 2022, with whom I will never fly again.



2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Roumen says:

    Respect,sir! I met you in the small town of Silistra, Bulgaria, on the river Danube. At that moment you were taking pictures of the local Orthodox church. It was a very short meeting. The next morning I ran along the shore to meet you again, but you were gone. I was and I am impressed! Best wishes, Roumen Tchernev

  2. Hello Roumen, Yes I remenber see my blog for July 21 2011 https://cometosea.us/?p=2132 so nice to hear from you.
    One of the most beautiful churches I have seen. Довиждане