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October 2014 - Netherlands and England

UK | England | London | Limehouse Basin | Artemis moored at Limehouse marina

October 24, 2014

Dear Family and Friends, Great week with Val and Bob. They've been busy doing London. Al and I kept busy getting acquainted with the Limehouse area. Thursday night we went to Prospect of Whitby Pub in Wapping for dinner. Val made a great pork roast and squash for dinner on Friday while we finalized our packing for our four day road trip.

UK | England | Chatham | Ropery Tour

Saturday we picked up our car at Heathrow and drove to Chatham to visit the Historic Dockyards. Al and I had visited last year but felt it was worth another walk through.

UK | England | Canterbury | Cathedral

We stopped in Canterbury to visit the cathedral and quaint old town before heading to Dover for the night. Our hotel was near the marina we stayed at in 2012 below the castle. Nice pub in the hotel so we ate there.

Sunday morning after mass we visited the Dover castle. Great tours of the tunnels. We were in the hospital tunnels for WWII and the Dunkirk operations tunnels. Nice drive along the coast but it got old really fast. So much traffic, winding roads, round-a-bouts...beautiful colorful trees but finally decided to change to highways. Our hotel in Portsmouth was right on the sea. Great rooms and wonderful breakfast.

Monday we dropped Val and Bob at Historic Dockyards to visit HMS Victory (Nelson's flagship from battle of Traflagar) and HMS Warrior. Al and I walked about Portsmouth visiting areas we had missed on our last visit. Unfortunately the museum we planned to visit was closed on Mondays.

UK | England | Salistury | a crooked old house Bob, Val, Al and Sally

We drove on to Salisbury for lunch and to visit the cathedral and town. We thought we had plenty of time to visit Stonehenge on our way to Bath. But at 1545 we were told the last tickets were sold at 1500 and the tills were closed. We said we were English Heritage Members so we didn't need tickets but they wouldn't let us catch the bus to the site. Last year we drove up to the site and parked. Now parking is 1.5 miles away from the site and everyone has to get on a little train or bus. So we hiked down to the site and walked through a pasture to catch a glimpse of Stonehenge. Fortunately the staff bus driver took pity on us and gave us a ride back to the Visitor center. The Visitor Center was open until 1700 so we did get to see the exhibits.

UK | England | Bath | Pulteney Bridge on Avon River at night

Then we headed to Bath for the night. We had a great walk into town and had pizza at an Italian Restaurant with a Turkish waiter. He served us lemoncello with our dessert. Then we walked down along the Avon River to the Pulteney Bridge which is beautifully lit at night.

UK | England | Bristol | Brunels suspension bridge in Clifton

Tuesday morning we toured the Abbey and walked through the beautiful gardens below. We had visited the Roman Baths on a previous trip so we decided to head to Bristol. Al and Bob visited SS Britain and Val and I walked along the harbor and up to the cathedral and college area. We drove up to Clifton to see Brunels suspension bridge and drove over the gorge. Quite spectacular.

Great trip but it felt good to be back aboard Artemis, Limehouse Marina, London. Another Pub night on Wednesday. We had a table overlooking the Thames at Captain Kid Pub in Wapping and then we walked the Thames to the Tower Bridge to see it lit at night.

Yesterday we visited the Imperial War Museum. It's newly reopened last April most of the museum has been closed for two years. Wonderful new exhibits. Then we visited Camden Market and had lunch. Beautiful walking along the Regent's Canal and then through Regent's Park. Then we had a wonderful but sad good-bye dinner with Val and Bob at La Figa an Italian Restaurant close to Limehouse.

Today we sent Val and Bob off on their next adventure. They board a cruise ship tomorrow at Southampton and head for Le Harve, Vigo, Lisbon, Azores, Bermuda, Fort Lauderdale, ending in Houston Nov. 11. Guess it's time for us to begin projects and get into our winter routine. Hope all is well. Love and God Bless Sally and Al

UK | England | London | Thames River approach Tower Bridge

October 14, 2014

Dear Family and Friends, We left Stellendam Marina, Netherlands in dense fog for the Goereesesluis (locks) at 0845 Sunday morning. We were through the locks into the North Sea by 0930 but it took another hour to motor through the buoyed channel out to the sea. It was a sunny beautiful morning with light southwest wind veering northeast. We put up the main, mizzen and genoa. With a favorable tide it gave us a steady speed of 6+kts over less than half meter seas. The winds switched as forecast to the east so we rigged the genoa with a whisker pole to keep it from collapsing as Artemis would roll off of a wave. As the day progressed both the wind and the seas continued to build. By early evening we had sustained winds of 20+ and 3 meter seas so we put all but the genoa away and maintaining over 7kts. By this time our crew wasn't feeling well and felt they needed to stay in our sheltered but cold cockpit all night. It is so eerie cruising along in pitch dark, pouring rain, howling wind and raging seas. It's especially eerie with thunder and lightning added to the mix. By 2330 we had sustained winds of 25 kts apparent with gusts to 35. Artemis was surfing down seas that had built to 4 meters rolling under and pounding against her hull. We were cruising at speeds between 8.5-9.5 (tide with us)with occasional 10+. The highest I saw was 11.4 kts. Between the storms, wind, seas and heavy ship traffic we decided the only way to slow Artemis down was to but the sails away and motor. We arrived at the anchorage in Stangate Creek on the River Medway, England around 0530. Of course it was pouring and gusting 25 as we set the anchor. We were very happy to climb into our cosy bunks and go to sleep.

It continued to blow all day Monday but we were cosy catching up on our rest, reading and yakking. Today we motored up the Thames River to Limehouse Marina near SKD and Tower Bridge. We saw 7 seals enjoying the mud at Blyth Sands at low tide. We motored up to Tower Bridge so Val and Bob could see Tower Bridge and London skyline from the water. We arrived at Limehouse Marina, London, England about 1630. We're looking forward to showing Val and Bob around London. Hope all is well Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Gouda | Market Square and City Hall (Stadhaus)

October 11, 2014

Dear Family and Friends,

We had a long day traveling the Dutch canals last Thursday, We had 26 opening bridges two of which had to be timed or we would have had to wait several hours for the next opening. We plowed mud back into the WV Gouda Marina, NL and tied to an old tug refitted as a pleasure boat. Nice walk about town. We arrived in time to see the mechanized figurines on City Hall to their "thing" on the hour and half hour:-) Enjoyed the Dutch architecture and made a last stop at Lidl's supermarket for provisions. Captain Al did a fantastic job turning Artemis around in the narrows. Our bow was in the reeds on shore and our stern nearly touching the tug behind. The current didn't help the situation but Al handled it like a pro.

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Dordrecht | Sally, Val and Bob Dordrecht city gate

Friday we had a lovely trip down the canal to Dordrecht, NL passing through two locks before reaching Nieuwe Haven Marina where we went under two bridges in the harbor to our berth. Another interesting maneuver but with lots of crew we made it without a scratch:-) Market day so we headed to the square for lunch. We couldn't leave NL without Bob and Val having Kibblings at least once! Wandered the town. Dordrect was the early capital of Holland where the mayors and lords of the different cities met to create the country of Holland.

Netherlands | South Holland |Stellendam | Stellendam Marina and seawall

Nice passage today down to Stellendam, NL with a bit more barge traffic on the upper end heading toward Rotterdam. Beautiful marina in Stellendam. Val and Bob treated us to a lovely dinner at the marina Restaurant. My order of moules (mussels) was enough to feed us sll! They arrived in a huge pan (must have been 50 huge mussels) The guys had steak and Val ordered cod. We leave in the morning to cross the North Sea into the English Channel and Thames Estuary to Stangate creek an anchorage on the River Medway. The forecast is for east winds 15-20 which will be a downwind sail for us. We are expecting some rain and possible thunderstorms. This is the best forecast for the next week as by Monday afternoon the winds will be more southwest and winds would be against us. Hope all is well Love and God Bless Sally and Al

Netherlands | Amsterdam |

October 8, 2014

We spent a week in Amsterdam. We were there last year and loved the city. We rode bikes and got ready for our friends Val and Bob from Duluth, MN. They arrived last Sunday and we've been having a great time. It's fun to share our adventures with others and make memories with old friends.

Yesterday we toured the Maritime Museum and went through the De Amsterdam, an East Indiaman merchant ship. We loved walking the city but we were very tired at the end of the day. Unfortunately yesterday we left 3 pkg of meat at the grocery store...fortunately the store had saved it for us. We were so surprised when we skyped them and they said they had it. Unfortunately Bob and Al had to hike back downtown involving making connections for two ferry rides. It took over an 1.5hrs round trip. Meanwhile Val made us yummy Chicken Caesar Salads for dinner.

Netherlands | Standing Mast Route | Haarlem

Today we left Amsterdam and headed down the Standing Mast Route to Haarlem. Of course it only rained as we had to go through the locks or when we had to tie up and wait for a bridge. The spot we had planned to moor in was full so we worked our way through the mud onto the quay of the opposite bank. Fortunately a Dutch boater took our lines and we plowed mud working back and forth until we could get off and help bring us in. We are a couple feet off the quay but we can get on and off:-) We enjoyed walking around Haarlem in the afternoon. An organist was playing the magnificent organ at Grote Kerk (Mozart and Handel both played this organ)This is the second largest pipe organ in Europe with over 5000 pipes. Quite beautiful. Val found a great bakery today for dessert and Bob is our chef tonight making Apple/Honey pork loins, parmesan egg noodles and steamed green beans.

Tomorrow we head down the canals to Gouda (as in the cheese) We have 21 bridges to clear. We are planning on Dordrecht and Stellendam before crossing the English Channel to London, UK. Hope all is well. Love and God bless Sally and Al

Netherlands | Ijsselmeer| Hindeloopen

October 1, 2014

Dear Family and Friends, Oops it's been 2 weeks since last I wrote. We left Vlieland NL and had a nice trip to the Ijsselmeer. We stayed two days in cute little Hindeloopen rode our bike to visit Workum. Then we had a rough sail across the shallow Ijsselmeer to Westerhaven, Medemblik. Fun town so we stayed a couple of days and rode bikes.

Netherland | Ijssekmeer | Hoorn

Next we skipped Enkhuisen because we visited last year and went to Hoorn. We had three great days in Hoorn. We were on the town quay with lots of boats on Saturday but the other days we were almost alone. Great Chamber Music concert. Wonderful choral group, soloists, and orchestra. This group performs 3 times a year. Actually the choir receives the music in the mail and practice on their own. Then the morning of the performance they practice for the first time and perform at 1700 that afternoon.

Netherlands | Ijsslemeer | Marken Island

On Tuesday we tried to go to Monikkedam but it was too shallow for Artemis so we left the harbor and went across the bay to Marken Island. Neat... town people still dress in traditional costume.

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