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October 2013 - Netherlands, England

October 24, 2013

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 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!

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Gouda | Market Square

We visited the market in the main piazza sampling cheese and sharing a brat. It's the biggest one in the Netherlands. We toured St. Janskerk with it's beautiful stained glass windows. The city hall dates 1450 and had neat carillons where tiny figures play around every hour and half hour. Sunday we had planned to move on to Dordrect but it was blowin g a gale and raining "cats and dogs. all day and night! We couldn't do much and we had no internet so we changed oil on the genset again. It's looking good (no water).

Netherlands | Dordrect | Standing mast route Dordrecht harbor

Monday we timed our passage perfectly catching all the bridges and tides so we arrived in Dordrecht marina by 1245. We went to The Phone Store and after half an hour we got our internet working:-) We rode our bikes around this gorgeous city and Monday and made it back to the boat before the evening downpour. Dordrecht is the oldest city in Holland and located on an island surrounded by three wide rivers. It seems like the city has many canals but they are actually havens (harbors) off of the rivers into the city with opening bridges.

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Dordrecht | Grote Kerk - The Church of Our Lady

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Dordrecht | Groothoofdspoort - City Gate

Tuesday Al fixed the genoa halyard and then we went sight seeing. Great fun riding our bikes along the river fronts and old streets except for the sprinkles all afternoon. We visited the Grote Church and two Alms Houses. Then we went to the Huis van Gijn (Simon van Gijn house) now a museum. He bought this house in Nieuwe Haven 1864 and created various period rooms. Beautifully decorated house. We especially enjoyed the antique toys on display in the attic. We also visited the 40-45 Museum a military museum. It was a bit cluttered but a tour guide walked about with us and answered our questions about the war. Once again we made it back to the boat before the serious rain began.

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Willemstad | view from Artemis in Willemstad Marina

Nice passage down to Willemstad today. Planning to spend one day to visit the town and move on tomorrow for Stellendam. We are hoping to cross the North Sea to the Medway River and Stangate anchorage on Friday. It's an overnight passage about 135nm. We'll be watching the weather:-) Have a great weekend. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Netherlands | Ijsselmeer | Enkhuisen | Buyshaven

October 10, 2013

Hi Family and Friends, Time flies by I can't believe a week has gone since I last wrote we had arrived in Enkhuisen. We stayed three nights at Buyshaven.

Netherlands | Ijsselmeer | Enkhusen | Zuiderzemuseum

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Ijsselmeer | Enkhusen

Wednesday we took a short ferry ride to the Zuiderzeemuseum. The main attraction is the outdoor museum of over 130 dwellings, stores, workshops even streets that have been transported here from every part of the region. It shows life from 1880-1932. The indoor museum has traditional sailing barges. We also visited a ship-in-a-bottle museum.

Thursday we had a mechanic aboard to look at the genset. We had water in the oil. After a second time getting water in the oil it was determined that the bearings on the waterpump (less than 200hrs.) wore out and caused raw water to be forced into the engine. We removed the water pump, replaced the bearings and reinstalled the pump (very difficult and time consuming on this boat). Now we need to change the oil again to make sure all water is out :-(

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route| Amsterdam |Sixhaven

Friday we were having a great sail up the Markermeer to Amsterdam when the genoa halyard broke. We quickly furled it before it came down. Then had to use the staysail the rest of the way. We stayed at Sixhaven Marina across the canal from Central Station. A ferry ran every 4-5 minutes back and forth across the canal so it was a great location. We rode our bikes everywhere. We were never worried about cars it was always other bikers and small motorcycles using the bike paths that we had to be careful of. Sixhaven quickly filled up for the weekend. We were glad we arrived early.

Netherlands | Amsterdam | Van Gogh Museum

Saturday we explored Amsterdam by bike and went to the excellent modern Van Gogh and the Stedelyk Museums. We found a Lidl's and did some major grocery shopping.

Netherlands | Amsterdam | St. Nicholaaskerk

Sunday we went to mass at St. Nicholaaskerk and then greeted our friends Ivo and Astrid aboard Artemis. We met back in 2008 on the EMYR (yacht rally Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Jordan) So fun to catch up on each others lives. We had a nice lunch on the terrace at The Eye.

Netherlands | Amsterdam | Rijksmuseum

Monday we got moving early to beat the lines at the Anne Frank House. We had a picnic at Vondelpark and then went to the wonderful Rijksmuseum in the afternoon.

Netherlands | Amsterdam | view of a side canal

Tuesday was another full day of excellent museums. The Amsterdam Museum and Verzetsmuseum (Resistance Museum) both were newly reopened so excellent, interactive, and in English. We learned a lot about Amsterdam and had many questions answered about how NL dealt with German occupation. Friends from London last winter Kingsley, Sue and their friend Bill met us for a beer. Again it was fun catching up on each others cruising season.

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Haarlem | Artemis on a town quay pontoon

Today we left Amsterdam and are tied alongside a town pontoon in Haarlem. We even had electricity found on shore by lifting an electrical box cover set into the ground.

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Haarlem | Grote Markt (Grand Market Square)

We rode bikes around old town and visited the Grote Kerk, and then the Teyler's museum.(oldest museum in NL) They had an excellent temporary exhibit of Rembrandt etchings. Tomorrow we may move on to Gouda. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Netherlands | Standing mast Route | Barge of John Deere tractors

October 1, 2013

Hi Family and Friends, We've had beautiful weather this week exploring the canal towns. We had wonderful trip from Groningen to Dokkum last Wednesday passing large farms and many windmills. Many many horses, sheep and cows (Scottish Highlanders, Dutch Belted and Holstein). The canal is marked 1.95m and we draw 2m so we did a bit of bouncing and plowing mud. When we'd come to a toll bridge the bridge keeper would drop a wooden shoe on a fish pole to collect our fee as we passed through:-) We tied alongside the town quay for the night and explored this cute old town.

Netherlands |Leewarden | Artemis tied ashore

Thursday we left Dokkum for Leeuwarden. We tied along the canal right near downtown. Great city, busy with markets, cafes, shops and college students. We walked into town and had a snack of Kibblings (fried fish pieces). Then we met Brits we first met in Cuxhaven. We went out for a couple of beers to swap sailing stories

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Leewarden | Waag House - Weigh House

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Leewarden | Oldhove - Leaning Tower

Friday morning we went to the brand new Fris Museum (opened 2 wks ago) It's a beautiful facility with great displays unfortunately no English, all Dutch and Frisian. We munched our way through the market for lunch, fish then friet-saus (fries with mayonnaise) and apple cake for dessert. The afternoon we spent at the Ceramic Museum Het Princessehof housed in gorgeous adjoining palaces. They have an extensive display of Frisian ceramics as well as collections from China, Japan and Thailand. (Ming Dynasty Exhibit)

Friday we took our bikes and a train to Harlingen and Franeker. Harlingen is an old port that's the center of old traditional Dutch sailing barges and ferries taking tourist out to Vlieland and Terschelling. We enjoyed riding our bikes around town. It was most fun watching the Dutch sailing barges sail away with the tide. We had the best kibbling and fries we've had so far at a cafe along one of the canals.

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Franeker | Eise Ersinga home | 18th C Planetarium

We hopped on the train again after lunch and went to a quiet little country town Franeker. Cute town square, church etc. We heard the beautiful organ played as they rehearsed for a 25th wedding anniversary. The highlight of the day was visiting the old Eise Ersinga three story home which houses his 18th century planetarium. This was completed in 1781 and is said to be the oldest working planetarium in the world. Amazing what he created in a false ceiling of the family living room. It was like the Hanseatic astronomical clocks we saw in German churches but more as he had the planets and moons moving around the sun as well!

Sunday we rode our bikes around Leeuwarden and went to mass at St. Boniface. We met some college students drinking wine on the canal bank by our boat. Two from Aruba and one from Germany. We had a pleasant hour or so visiting with them.

Netherlands | Sneek | Standing mast route

We left Monday morning for Sneek (Snake) another shallow section of canal. We plowed mud several times and worried we may have to turn back. But we made it through arriving in Sneek early afternoon. We walked about the old walled city with only one beautiful watergate remaining(a two towered gate canal entrance). They tore down the brick city walls to build new brick buildings in the city. We visited the Ship Museum which included Sneek History display and skating exhibits. They use to race 200km around the ten Frisian Cities. 1997 World Champion Olympic winners medals on display. Some English descriptions on cards so very interesting.

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Lemmer | Artemis traveling narrow canal to Ijsselmeer locks

We left Sneek this morning to complete the canal at Lemmer and cross the Ijsselmeer to Enkhuisen on the west side near the locks entering Markermeer to Amsterdam. We stopped along the canal in Lemmer for lunch at noon to wait for the bridges to open again at 1300. Gorgeous canal going through Lemmer. We bumped the concrete sill going into the lock. Fortunately we were locking up to the Ijsselmeer.

Netherlands | Ijsselmeer | Artemis sailing to Enkhuisen across Ijsselmeer

Beautiful sunny downwind sail 16nm to Enkhuisen. We are moored off hammerhead F Buyshaven Marina, Enkhuisen,NL. Planning to do museums etc. so will stay a couple of days. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

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