Friday, 18 August 2006

Inlands seas

We arose Friday morning to see a bit of a damp day... not too cold, but a bit wet. However, as we had arisen reasonably early, we decided to aim for the 09h30 bridge opening... The marina has narrow aisles, and we didn't want to hang around in them for two long, with our limited steerage in reverse, and so we set ourselves up to depart by slipping the leeward bow and stern lines, and then listening for the bell announcing the bridge opening.... impatience beat us, and we slipped out of the box as our watches ticked past 09h30. No problems... we reversed easily out of the box, turned comfortably, and then headed forward. I went slowly, given the shut bridge, and not wanting to have to hold station with very little room to maneouvre, and was pleased to hear the bell ring just 30 seconds later. One boat ahead of us, and we slipped out. We turned sharp left into the canal from which we had entered Middelburg, and set off at a leisurely pace. There was a wind blowing across the beam of about 10kts, so we unfurled the genny, and shut down the engine. The sun decided at this moment to peek out from behind the clouds... So here we were... inland, in a canal just 100m wide, sailing!... we were very chilled!.... After 45 mins, the lock into the Veerse Meer beckoned, so we furled the genny, and started the engine.... we waited just 10mins, and then into the lock... we had to raft up, but without any dramas, and then the locks opened into the the Veerse Meer, the most southerly of the Dutch inland seas.... We followed the channel markers for about an hour, until we reached one of the larger islands.... we had agreed the night before that we'd try to anchor on its North shore, where there was sufficient water, but it was a bleak place, with little of interest, so carried on to a cut through between the island at the next. This looked more promising, but sadly the wind was blowing straight through the gap, so we abandoned that too.... The previous night, I had identified a perfect little sheltered area between the island, and one to its south, but it was tight..... very very tight on depth.... however, with the first two failures, we thought that we'd have a peek... and creep in dead slow, slow enough that if we touched then we could just back out.... we could get away with this due to the absence of any tidal flow.... so we crept in, and saw at the worst 40cm below the keel.... we entered an absolutely lovely natural harbour surrounded on all sides with just two entrances of less than 50m width... even better, in this harbour there were several pontoons jutting out from the shore, and we crept towards the one that looked like it had the deepest water.... it was quite easy to get onto, as the wind had built to about 15kts, straight onto the pontoon, so I just pulled parallel with it, and let the wind drift us on.... It was a georgeous island.... well cared for by the Dutch, and we explored for a while... but before we knew it, the kids had introduced themselves to a family of four Dutch kids on the next pontoon along (there are only 3 pontoons!), and were busy crabbing, playing football, flying kites and generally being kids, and so we had a relaxed afternoon... The other side of the pontoon to us were moored an english couple, in their seventies, who had spent the last 20 years cruising, and so we chatted to them for most of the rest of the day... An evening meal saw us through to dusk... the kids retired to bed, and here I am writing this now.... a great day.

Miles logged 5nm
Miles logged this trip 118nm
Miles this season 527nm
Miles since this blog started 1,308nm

No comments:

Post a Comment