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View from our bedroom porthole

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At this point we had been on the canals for just short of a month. The boat was our home. We’d been buying odds and ends like spice jars and spare fenders to make it just the way we wanted it. We also worked out that the most obvious routes on the map might not be best for us. Our original intention was to travel along the Princes

Moorings in Lemmer

Magriet canal.

However our boat is small enough to fit on the narrower and shallower canals. Bigger canals are used by large working barges, which always have right of way. The big canals are geared toward commercial traffic on the banks and often have a rather industrial look.

In contrast, the smaller canals pass through farms, little towns and are only used by pleasure craft. But then bridge and lock hours are restricted and waterway heights and depths have to be considered.

My husband keeps a boating travel log. Not obligatory, but not uncommon. He notes travel times, distance travelled, engine hours, routes

Beach in Lemmer on a drizzly day

taken and any maintenance done. He bought a RYA (Royal Yacht Association) blank book specifically intended for motor cruisers. Their guide had WAY too much detail which he never filled in. But he also wanted to log other things that they didn’t allocate space for. It may seem tedious but we often found ourselves referring to his log book. Simple things like place names where we over-nighted or the length of time it took to travel a certain distance. Even info like when last we cleaned the filter for the shower pump proved to be very handy.

Beach cafe in lemmer

From Sneek we set south toward Lemmer intending at least one “wild” overnight stop. We did a shop-up at Albert Heijn and stocked our little fridge and cellar before leaving. Shopping hours in the Netherlands can be a bit perplexing. Even large cities like Amsterdam shut down on a Sunday. Mondays are late starting if at all. Thursdays and sometimes market days – whatever day that may be, have late shopping hours. So it’s wise to check shop opening times with either the VVV (tourist info) or haven meester (harbour master) to avoid being without food and provisions.

We cruised through a gorgeous little town called IJlst with a narrow canal that caused a mini traffic

Dutch and Fries place names on map

jam. We had been led to believe that the Dutch are inclined to push ahead in queues and are not aware of the British – ‘wait your turn’ – ethos. I have to say, I saw only three boats blatantly shove in front. Like switch their engine to full throttle, overtake, and race ahead of a boat. One with a German flag and two with a red British ensign. It happens every now and again. However, just because a boat flies a particular flag, does not mean the driver is from that country. People from all over the world hire boats. We could easily have registered our boat via our broker in The Netherlands. Our boat flies the British ensign but

Our deck on Shangri La

we live in South Africa. My husband’s cousin was happy to be his representative person in the UK.

Flag protocol says that you fly the flag of the country where your boat is registered at the back or at the stern. This is the most important flag. Next, you have to fly a courtesy flag, of the country you are in, on the right or starboard side of the mast. You can fly as many flags as you want after that. But you fly them alternating left to right, and from the outside inward. We flew a South African flag on the left or port side of our mast. Dutch people fly regional flags and yacht club flags. We even saw football flags and fun pirate

Drying our washing on the aft deck in rainy Lemmer

flags. So there you go!

We made good time and ended up stopping early at a space on the Heeger Meer (Heeger Lake). Very, very shallow, with only 30 centimetres of water below the boat, which made mooring or parking the boat difficult. The less water the boat has to move in, the less space for water to displace. It has the effect of sucking or pushing the boat. Revving the engine or bow thrusters only worsens the problem causing the boat to be pushed or sucked even more. It requires a gentle, slow approach. I’m not ready to tackle that just yet.

This journey continues – right here.

Go to – My Holidays and Trips – at the top of this page to read about other places we have visited. Or just click on – this link.

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