Our first year on our boat was all about getting to know her. Make her our home. Our second year, we
First day was rain and more rain
planned to start proper travelling. Not that we hadn’t done any boating, it’s just we hadn’t strayed too far from our marina. We left Shangri La behind at the end of 2013 with a list of improvements and repairs for our boat yard to do.
My husband had been planning our 2014 trip for a while. Our boat would be ship shape. We were doing 3 trips. We had already explored northern Netherlands, now we wanted to see Amsterdam,
Dressed warm two days away from Midsummer
the delta where the rivers Maas, Rhine and Waal return to the sea and the southern areas of The Netherlands.
The first trip of 2014 was frankly a disaster. We ended up having only 3 days on our boat. The repairs we expected to be done, were not done. My husband delayed coming across to Holland to give the marina more time. That turned out to be a huge mistake. We actually needed to be around to make sure our work got done, something all the other people with boat repairs at the same place were doing.
The second trip my husband got to the boat a good few days before me, and to our relief all the work had finally been done. We had new curtains
Our mooring in Hardewijk
and upholstery, new mattress and carpets. My husband wanted mechanical and structural repairs done including the starter motor, window hinges, leaks, windscreen wiper, new fuel and water pipes. All this came with a hefty bill but he always says he’s happy to spend money to keep the boat in good condition.
On the 17th June, I left home in Cape Town at 16.00pm and caught a bus to the airport, plane to London, plane to Amsterdam, train to Zwolle, bus to Zwartsluis and a walk to the marina. Twenty two hours later, with only 2 hours sleep in hand, I
New upholstery and curtains
got to see our boat again. And my husband. We had supper at the local eatery and an early night. The next morning we left around 09.00am and headed toward Hardewijk.
Hard to believe it was a few days shy of midsummer. We were both wrapped up warm and the rain was pelting down. We managed 6 and 1/2 hours of motoring and got to Hardewijk, tying up in the pouring rain.
I was almost reluctant to see Hardewijk as all I really wanted to do was stay in with the heating on. But I’m glad we went up the road. A person never knows quite what to expect in these smaller towns. Hardewijk is an old historical place with a
big cathedral in the middle. We found the town square and had our obligatory Belgian beer at a cafe as we watched the locals doing whatever locals do. My other half had made a divine pea and potato curry which we devoured when we got back to the boat.
The next day we had a really early start as we had to be in Naarden to meet friends who were joining us on the boat. We feared another dreary day, but the rain soon cleared. Our friends brought South African sunshine with them. Naarden has a lovely big marina with excellent facilities. Also nice is that you pay a flat fee which includes shower,
Planes from Schipol airport passing over Naarden
electricity, water, etc. No constantly having to scratch around for coins to top up meters. We hardly tied up and our friends arrived. Our very first visitors! We had a few worries. Was there enough space? Where would we put luggage? Would they be OK with our veggie diet? Was their room warm enough? How would we all manage together in the confines of a boat for four days? We would find out soon enough.
The next morning my husband and friends were up early. We had breakfast and the blokes were playing boats. Not sure exactly what they were doing. Looked like checking maps and taking the
The marina in Naarden
canopy on and off. (No doubt important stuff.) I had a last catch up with e-mails, facebook and other comms. One never knows if and when you get Internet on the water.
We all sat on the back deck with snacks and tea for lunch. It was still helluva cold, but the rain had gone. Then we all went for a walk into Naarden. I wished we had more time there. It’s a well preserved lovely old town. It had the usual moat around it. And an Arsenal. We also discovered big arches which must have been where the city once had a gate. Luckily we found a little supermarket and topped up with food before wandering back to our boat. We all had an early shower and then enjoyed sun downers on the back deck. We had veggie burgers and
The boys playing boats
salad for supper. Our friends had done the same flight over as me so we all had an early night. I always sleep well on the boat.