Stowing our glassware before IJsselmeer

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We left Urk knowing there was rubbish weather brewing. All our glassware and breakables were stowed safely. Our boat was rolling a bit, but we only had a short distance to cover and then we entered the Ketelmeer.

We did the short distance in force 3 winds with 3 metre waves on the beam. Do I sound like I know what I am talking about? Don’t be fooled. My better half told me that. But you know what? I’m glad we dodged the brewing

Bouncing about on IJsselmeer

storm. We later bumped into people, who told us, they heard on the radio that over 30 boats had to be rescued on the IJsselmeer and Markermeer later that day. Winds climbed to force 7 on the IJsselmeer.

Our next stop was Kampen Buitenhaven. We knew we wanted to stay there coz we had stayed there before. It’s a compact harbour. It’s walking distance from the city and has full amenities. We tied up at 13.00 by which time the marina was almost full.

Double, double banked boats in Urk

While we were tying up, two more boats came in. Within an hour of us arriving, there was no space left in the marina. This was Saturday 14th September – hardly high season. If we learned anything about the waterways in The Netherlands, it is this – find a marina early! The next day as we

Traditional clothing in Kampen

were leaving – at 10.30am – new boats were already coming in to tie up.

We didn’t even try to explore Kampen. We’ve been there twice, the weather was shite, and it was a Sunday. Nothing happens on Sundays. The following morning, we set off for another “wild” stop en-route to our home marina in Zwartsluis along the Ganze Diep. We were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves and our boat. We entered Ganzesluis (Ganze lock)

Fishing nets in Urk

which was a peasy few inches and as we were about to exit the lock, nothing happened. The lockie motioned us out and I waved at my other half to say “We can go now”. To which he replied “If only I had an engine”. Turns out the engine wouldn’t start.

You have to turn motors off in a lock. NOT the best place to bomb out. The lockie helped us pull our boat out the lock. As it turned out a boat mechanic lived right next to the lock. He wasn’t thrilled to be summoned on a Sunday – at lunch time – but he kindly came aboard and ascertained our ignition switch wasn’t working. He bypassed it and jump-started the engine to get us going. Then he did it again to show us how to do it. He wouldn’t accept money. We

Wild stop near Emmeloord

were beyond grateful and I guess he didn’t feel like having his Sunday interrupted with a full-on repair job.

Our over-night mooring was in the middle of farmland. We had cows to the right and sheep to the left. Two other boats were also tied up but we hardly saw or heard them. We were using up food, so it was a meal of left-overs.

Last day in Zwartsluis

Nothing spectacular. We opened a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the last night of our first trip on our very own boat.

The next day, the boat started no problem and we headed straight to Zwartsluis. Our previous berth had been taken but we got an even better place to tie up. We thought we had mastered mooring the boat by now, but we struggled to tie up. In our defence, there was a brisk and gusting wind. We were thankful to get the boat safely in place.

The waterways back to Zwartsluis were quiet and the marina was bereft of people. Just one month earlier before we left Zwartsuis, the boats were full of families and friends. We regularly heard people chattering and the clink of cutlery on crockery. Now mid September, it was starting

Shangri La being lifted out the water

to get cold. We got battered with hail coming back from a mini shop-up in town.

The next day Shangri La was lifted out the canal and put up on the hard. Her water tanks were drained, diesel bug and anti freeze was added to the appropriate tanks, and she was wheeled away by tractor to a large shed to wait for the return of summer. We

The captain climbing a ladder to get on board

stayed on her one more night before leaving to go back home via Amsterdam.

Just like that, our 2013 Netherlands canal boat trip was over. The waterways are filled with boats, canoes,
water-skis and people swimming in summer. Then it goes quiet. The canals
freeze up and people come back to skate on them in winter. It goes quiet when the canals melt and it starts all over again. Next year we will explore the southern half of The Netherlands.

Watch this space.


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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