Boating in Holland


Click here – to go to the start of this journey.

The following day the weather improved slightly. Since we hadn’t seen much of Haarlem we decided to stay on and do the walking tour together.

The walk is supposed to be 90 mins. We took a 30 minute lunch break and yet somehow managed to drag the walk out to 3 hours. Lunch was at a cute vintage style cafe called In Den Gevulde Broodmand Tea Salon.

We had belegde broodjies which are filled slices of bread. And coffees. Very, very nice. Our walk included historical old buildings but also streets where residents had planted lots of greenery. Our map got drenched with all the rain.

Lunch stop in Haarlem

Back at the boat we freshened up and ate supper, then walked back up to the main square to watch the Netherlands vs Argentina game in the Soccer World Cup quarter finals. I really, really wanted Holland to win. I so badly wanted to be part of the winning celebrations. The Dutch sure know how to party. We had been following the games and invested so much interest in this tournament.

The game was yet another goal-less draw. And yet another round of play either way. Again no result. At penalty shoot out the Dutch goalie let in two balls. That was it for the Dutch team! I wanted to cry. Everyone filed out of the pub and walked silently. I saw people crying. It was so, so sad.

The weather had now turned hot. Amazing how we can be in winter woolies one day, and dying of heat the next. Our destination was Amsterdam. A busy port and a bustling city. With two extra folk on board I could relax a bit. It’s nice to

Six Haven Amsterdam

have other people enjoy this experience with us. We see things through their eyes and share what we have learned about the Netherlands. We went via Noorszee Kanal through Spaarndam Sluis. Lots of big barges and marine traffic on this route.

Amsterdam has a couple of marinas but the one everyone mentioned was Six Haven. So we went there. It’s right opposite Amsterdam Centraal Station. Crossing over the channel with so much big boat activity was a bit nerve wracking but we have a great captain. Six Haven has box berths. A

Box style berths

really tight squeeze. The extra hands on deck were most welcome. Access on and off the boat was over bow – which requires some dexterity. After lunch we had a relaxing afternoon. Some of us slept off the late night before.

We decided to go into Amsterdam and have a drink in Damrak. We donned our glad rags and took the free ferry across. We’ve seen so much of The Netherlands now that we can make comparisons. Damrak is at the very heart of Amsterdam’s tourist area. It’s heaving with humans and to be honest, not a true reflection of how people live in The Netherlands.

If only visitors knew that a mere 20 minutes from where they are, it’s much quieter, friendlier and way more authentic. My advice

Sunset on the River Ij Amsterdam

after all this time in Holland is get out of Amsterdam and go to Haarlem, Edam, Gouda or Delft. Public transport in Holland is excellent.

After our drinks we stopped at the supermarket – Albert Heijn – and bought items to make a BBQ (or braai as South Africans call it). Back on the boat we got the BBQ fired up and had a very late meal. And wine.

We left all the portholes and hatches open to allow cool air to flow in as it was hot – but also humid. Sometime in the middle of the night I woke up with water falling on my face. A massive thunderstorm had come up and rain was pouring in via the hatch above our bed. My other

Broek aan de Waterland

half scrambled to close all the porthole windows and the hatches in the dark. He came back inside dripping wet. Bold flashes of lightning and thunder ensued and then as quickly as it started, it was over.

Edam was our next port of call. The amenities at Six Haven were OK. We all spruced up, got ourselves dressed and ready to make an early start. Breakfast was an en-route affair. We decided to travel along the scenic inland route to Edam as opposed to going via the Markemeer. Our boat passed through Broek aan de Waterland

Broek aan de Waterland

where I could easily live. It’s a narrow waterway with lilies and loads of boho homes.

A person has to be wide awake and know to look out for wire operated ferries. The last thing a person wants is to get tangled in the personal wire operated boats. We expected the route to Monnickendam would narrow and shallow. But not THAT shallow. At times the echo sounder showed NO space beneath us. We heard the boat touch the bottom of the canal a good few times. We also lost time as we had to wait for dredging vessels to move so we could pass them.

We got to Grafelijkheid Sluis. Have I mentioned

All navigation gear and awnings down

my partner is a planner de luxe? He had planned this trip – months in advance. The mandatory Dutch charts showed the lock first and THEN the bridge at 3.9m. Our boat is 4.8m at full height. Minus the radar arch we get to 3.65 which should have been fine.

What we discovered as we got there is the bridge is right over the lock. And the lock goes up! I guess I thought a lock keeper would be around to manage the situation. Or even check all was OK before going ahead. But no.

The lock closed behind us. The water level started rising. Right under the bridge! We only had 30cm to spare. Our boat was about to get crushed. The awnings had to be dropped in seconds.

Connecting to shore power in Haarlem

Oh, and we had to also hold onto the ropes to stop the boat crashing as the water rushed into the lock. Mega stress! But we got it right.

Thank God we had extra people on board helping. I could not have done it alone with Patrick.

Read my tips for aspirant boaters – on this link.

For more on other places we have visited, go to the top of this page and open – My Holidays and Trips.

I will be back soon.


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