The north sea and Dutch canals

We left Dover at slack water around 6pm and went a bit north before crossing the shipping lane at right angle (with a north going tide to help us a bit…). The wind died down and once on the continental side, it was almost calm. However, the tide gave us a good push north. During the night the sea was oily and we saw lots of lights and ships around us. No time to relax, thus.

By morning we were outside Oostende, but decided to go north another 24 hours. The wind was weak or nonexistent, so we motored along. During the evening and night, we had fog. We joked that without the radar, the situation would not be so fun. Two hours later the radar died…. However, it turned out that in some positions, the radar did work, while if you tried to move it, it died…. another thing to fix.

The wind came back, but from the north east. Around lunch time, we were outside Den Helder and decided to go in there. We went in to refuel and to get a weather report. The report said that the north east  wind would continue another day, but we would get nortwest to west wind after that. We then went into Harlingen, to go on the canals for one or two days until the wind did change.

The path to Harlingen is only possible during high tide, but our timing was perfect and we have a helping, rising tide going in.

Once in Harlingen, we went through the lock and stopped in the small harbour immediately inside the lock. Perfectly calm!

Harlingen is a very nice little town. On the “main square” they have the guest harbour – nice!

In the morning, we went to provision  and then started on the “standing mast route”.

Here we passed a number of bridges. Most were free, but on some, you had to put money in a wooden shoe, that the bridge attendant lowered. There were a lot of harbours and shipyards. We passed cows on fields and private back yards.

Twice we misread the map. First we failed to note that the bridges were closed from1600 to 1800 and then we failed to note that not all bridges were open until 2100. We thus had to spend the night in front of a bridge outside Dokkum.

By morning, the wind had turned to NW, so we decided to leave the canals at Lauwersoog. We arrived there at high tide around lunch time and would thus have the tide with us out to sea. But first we had lunch and asked a dutch boat about changes in the chart. They said there were some changes to the small lanes, but the main lane to sea was well marked and would cause no problem.

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