On Wednesday, 24.05.2023, we were finally able to cast off and begin our journey. We first wanted to sail towards North Holland and then onto the Wadden Sea to the Dutch islands. Due to persistent northerly winds, we decided on the "standing mast route".

This tour was very nice because you could get to know the Netherlands very well. The Netherlands has a very good water infrastructure, because you can get to a lot of places and pass through a lot of bridges, unless they are out of order. One bridge before our destination, the harbour of Haarlem, we were "lucky" not to get any further. The bridge wouldn't open any more because it had tilted. Well, that's not so bad, so we were in the middle of the beautiful city and met people from our home port of Den Osse. Everyone was wondering when the bridge would open again. The next day at noon, some men manually pulled the bridge up for us with ropes. (see picture below).

In the Rijnlandsluis behind Haarlem, a small faux pas happened. In this lock we had to pay money for the lock for the first time. Hendrik went to the lockkeeper and paid €3. She told us that it might take a while until she would open the lock. Hendrik then got us an ice cream next door. The weather was sunny and warm and we went down to the lounge to rest. We were both so tired that we didn't notice the lock opening. We suddenly heard our boat name "SANS SOUCI" several times. When we went on deck, we saw that all the other boats that were towing with us had disappeared. On the other side of the lock was the lockkeeper, who had come down from her office to wake us up. She asked if we would like to stay a little longer. She was so nice and opened the lock for us again 🙂 Afterwards we reached Amsterdam and stayed there for a few days.

From there we went via the Markermeer to Enkhuizen. As we had the wind against us for some time, we had to cross a large part of the route. In Enkhuizen we got a visit from Hendrik's father, with whom we spent the sunny day there. Arriving at the Ijsselmeer, we set course for Lemmer. From there we sailed the canals and made several stops at anchorages and harbours, including Sneek and Leuwaarden. From there, the last stop was Harlingen.

Conclusion: It was a great trip through the Netherlands, even if it was nerve-wracking in between. The waterways are very busy, especially at weekends, and everyone is criss-crossing. You have to cross several bridges and locks to get to your next destination, which can take up a lot of time and nerves.



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