Hi Family and Friends, We spent 2 rainy days at anchor in Stangate on the Medway River and then 3 days in Chatham. We visited two excellent museums near the harbor. The Historic Dockyards Museum took every bit of 6 hours to do it justice. We had a wonderful one hour tour of the Victorian Ropery where rope was made for the old ships and rope can still be ordered from there today. Our guide was dressed and acted the part of the manager of the Ropery in 1870's. Then we had a another one hour tour of the "Ocelot" a submarine that dogged the Soviets during the Cold War. We could also board and explore HMS Gannet sail and steam powered Victorian Sloop and destroyer HMS Cavalier from World War II. We had a fun virtual tour 1758 dockyard apprentice on his first day (40min) Historic Lifeboat collection was interesting along with videos and verbal accounts of rescues. Much much more!
We spent 3 hours at the Royal Engineers Museum which tells the story of the Corps of Royal Engineers. They were the military architects (fort, trenches, walls, bridges and roads) and specialists in siegecraft.
We took a bus into Rochester from Chatham and visited the beautiful Cathedral and fort. Cute old town featured in some of Dicken's tales.
Yesterday we left Chatham at 0800 and took the tide up the Thames to St. Katharine Docks. It was a nice sunny day so very enjoyable. We saw lots of seals sunning themselves on the mud flats (areas that appear at low tide). We arrived at SKD at 1610 but had to wait until 1645 to enter the locks as three others were locking through as we arrived. We are in the East Basin again but on a different pontoon. Eight friends gathered on our pontoon to greet us and help back Artemis into her berth. Today was a sunny day so we took advantage of the weather and got all four sails down and put away for the winter. Now it's time to try out the new shower/toilet and laundry facility:-)Hope everyone has a nice weekend. Love and God Bless Sally and Al
Netherlands |Standing Mast Route |
October 20, 2013
Hi friends and family Surprise Surprise! We left Willemstad, NL 0900 last Thurs. to travel 18nm to Stellendam where we were to stage our North Sea Crossing to England. We reached the opening bridge well before the 0930 opening but no one responded to our radio calls and the bridge did not open. We called on the telephone and the bridge master said, "The bridge is Capoot!" and won't open again this season:-( We went back the 2nm to Willemstad to regroup and decide how to get out to the North Sea. The harbor master was very helpful and suggested we head back toward Dordrect then take Standing Mast route 5 that brings you back into Haringvliet beyond the non opening bridge.(40nm) We left Willemstad at 1100 and we couldn't have timed our passage so perfectly. We had tidal currents with us each canal we took. Half the way the wind blew 20-25kts on the nose but the current allowed us to keep up 5-6kts motoring. We had no bridges or locks on this route so no wait time. We arrived in Stellendam at 1715.
Netherlands | English Channel | Hitch hiker on our crossing to England
We left Friday morning 1030 NL time in dense fog to clear locks and 2 bridges, then a winding 6nm buoyed channel into the North Sea. Slow moving at first but once clear of land and shoals we put up our sails and took off 137nm for Stangate anchorage in the River Medway off the Thames Estuary. We were enjoying the sail for a while...as the winds picked up we dropped the mizzen. Then the seas and wind really took hold early evening. The good news was we had a nice beam reach with no engine running. The bad news was it was so wild that Al and I both had to keep watch so no sleep Friday night. Lots of ship traffic, full moon, and a stowaway on board. A cute bird arrived to hitch a ride to England about 30nm off the Dutch coast. Perhaps it got lost in the fog. Al was quite taken with it and enjoyed watching the mess it made eating 2/3 slice of bread. Then he crawled under some cockpit pillow to sleep. Then as we approached England he flew away. We were relieved to find shelter from the seas once we got beyond Ramsgate point. Nice passage up Princes Channel to the Medway. We were sailing 7kts as we approached Garrison Pt into the Medway. Fortunately we were anchored in Stangate before any real rain began about 1030. We slept Saturday until 1700 then enjoyed a quiet evening.
Today we decided to stay anchored in Stangate and do some boat chores (reorganizing junk from cruising all summer, stowing summer clothes and retrieving winter clothes). It was a rainy/windy day so nice to just relax. Tomorrow we plan to carry the tide 13nm up the River Medway to Chatham and Rochester. We plan to visit the Historic Dockyard where the HMS Victory was build. Then we plan to anchor in Stangate again Wed. so we can stage our passage up the Thames to London on Thursday. Hope everyone is having a nice weekend. Love and God Bless Sally and Al
Netherlands | Haarlem | Standing mast route
October 16, 2013
Hi Family and Friends, The weather has definitely changed we have some sort of rain each day but usually not all day. Colder in the mornings so now we run the dehumidifier and the heater. Last Thursday we were heading from Haarlem to Gouda. Had a great sunny morning with neat changing leaves. We knew that two weeks ago the Woubrugge opening bridge was closed for repairs and only opening Midnight to 0600 so we checked with the Haarlem bridge operator and he said they had no reports it was closed and usually bridges don't stay closed for that long when repairs are needed. So we chanced that route only to find the bridge still under repair and not opening at all until Sunday. So we turned around and went back an hour and half to Kaag and spent the night alongside pontoon outside the harbor. Fortunately we were able to run an electrical cord so we had heat.
Netherlands | Standiing Mast Route | Gouda | City Hall
Friday we headed for Gouda via a group of lakes and town of Lieden. Very pretty but misting and some rain along the way. Gouda is a pretty Dutch country town NE of Rotterdam. Lots of neat old buildings, narrow lanes and alleys. We rode our bikes lots making it easy for us to scope out places to visit on Saturday. We got our top up for our internet but it took us 4 days to get it working:-(
Saturday morning the harbor master found a young man we pulled up the mast to run a new genoa halyard. (remember it broke on our sail to Amsterdam). It took nearly an hour but he finally was able to feed it down inside the mast and we fished it out 10" above deck. Unfortunately he ran it the wrong way around another line at the top of the mast. We didn't have the heart to tell him as he was so proud and had been quite nervous up there. Al was able to figure a way to untangle it without going up the mast!