Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Netherlands Adventure – Part III: Amsterdam to Eijsden via Haarlem, Gouda, Rotterdam, Delft, Utrecht, Roermond, Maastricht...

9 June 2014: Amsterdam to Haarlem

And the weather just stays perfect!
09h30 Topped up 270lt water.
10h30 Departed Sixhaven
14h00 Arrived Haarlem

Lynn piloted us masterfully out of Sixhaven and was complimented by the Harbourmaster and his wife! A lovely cruise into Haarlem; the lock/bridge system took some understanding – sometimes they are open, some open automatically and some you have to contact by phone/radio.

After being a bit concerned that we would not find a mooring, we found a lovely one right in the middle of town. Haarlem is delightful!

Mooring Haarlem

Early evening.

Loaded beyond the gunnals.
Canal sweeper.

Have bike will ride

Haarlem architecture.
Cathedral of St Bavo

12 June 2014: Haarlem to Alphen aan den Rijn

07h50 Departed Harlem
10h30 Long delay at Cruquiusbrug for some reason.
16h00 Arrived Alphen aan den Rijn

Moored at Watersportvereniging Alphen a/d Rijn ( – clean and efficient. €13.75 including showers, water and electricity.

Some of the boats seen along the way.

Alphen a/d Rijn is a pleasant little town albeit a bit bland apart from all the Soccer World Cup bunting. 13th June Netherlands beat Spain 5 – 1 in opening game of the SWC.

Two days of beautiful weather

WSV Alphen's marina bridge.

Surfing Coot

14 June 2014: Alphen aan den Rijn to Gouda

08h00 Departed Watersportvereniging Alphen a/d/ Rijn
11h00 Arrived Gouda

Lovely shady mooring at the Kleiweghefbrug public mooring – 100m walk to main pedestrian way into city. Enjoyed Gouda a lot despite it being quite ‘touristy’.

Gouwespoorbrug just outside Alphen

Gouda's main attraction?

Stocking up.

Lending library.

Gouda's gothic city hall.

Lunch time.

Our mooring.

17 June 2014: Gouda to Rotterdam

Cloudy, light breeze and 14C at 06h00.
08h50 Departed Kleiweghefbrug mooring.
10h00 Arrived Mallegatsluis. Changing starboard engine into reverse too quickly sheared a linkage in the gearbox so no reverse gear on starboard. Rammed lock wall to boot!
12h00 Arrived Watersportvereniging "Ysselmonde" (N51.90352 E4.55718).

Keeping a sharp lookout for speeding ferries, megaton barges and misc pleasure craft, we make it across the river Maas to the entrance of the marina. Home, safe and sound…‘Elle’ suddenly swings wildly 90 degrees to port as the current catches us and it’s full ahead just to make the entrance which we do while see-sawing all over the place. With me at the wheel I spot a sign on our left ‘Passante werf’ (of so iets) and turn fairly smartly toward this finger. Seconds later Lynn spots a sign ‘Gaste meld hieraan’ (of so iets) and I have to do a kind of 120 degree turn back in the direction I had come from. Did I mention the weather forecast for 12 knots of wind?

With fenders lining the port side we finally line up the ‘Gaste’ finger and it’s my turn to discover that our trick of crabbing the boat no longer works with no starboard reverse – the wind catches the stern, swings us 180 degrees and smacks ‘Elle’s un-fendered starboard side into the finger. Think they will pay us for painting their ugly wooden jetty with fresh, beige, marine paint?

The quote to repair the tiny bush at the end of the transmission cable (‘Reverse band roll’ for you technical types) is €1,800 which we will be having done tomorrow; this is for a refurbished gearbox as the small part is unavailable anywhere. Just very grateful we could find a matching one.

Wil, one of the Club members on duty and Gerhard (club handyman?) were brilliant and by the end of the day had organized an engineer to replace the gearbox.

09h00 on the dot the next morning, engineer Alex and Gerhard arrived to swop gearboxes. However, before they would start, they wanted €1,750 in cash (understandable as we were foreigners) so another club member gave us a lift into town and we managed to milk our credit cards at €400 withdrawals per card until we had enough to pay the bill. By 12h45 the job was finished – no idle chit-chat, no cellphone interruptions, 15 minute tea break, everything checked and left clean and tidy – what a pleasure!

Hollandsche IJssel homes - boats on davits.

WV Ysselmonde

Visitors mooring

Traffic on the Maas - compare cruiser to barge.

Engineer Alex
Out with the old...

...and in with the new.

Club members watching WSC

Restaurant paddle steamer De Majesteit

Strongly recommend WV Ysselmonde (; well run, spotless facilities, friendly people, great views of the traffic on the Maas and vessels entering from the Hollandsche Ijssel. Only downside is the distance from Rotterdam city which we never visited.

19 June 2014: Rotterdam to Delft – 4 hours, 23kms.

06h00 9/10ths cloud, light breeze, 14C
09h15 Departed WV Ysselmonde
13h30 Arrived Delft

Just after high tide but current still strongly against us. First lock as we turned toward Delft (the Grote Parksluis) we have our first (and only) encounter with a 65m commercial which is tied up but running engine in gear to hold position. As our radio license had not yet arrived we could not call up the other vessel or the lock operator to ask that they turn off their engines. The result was us being tossed around against the wall and nearly being hung up by our pulpit as the lock emptied; quite a traumatic experience!

Racing down the Maas.

Rotterdam skyline.

Water Tower, Rotterdam.

Survey vessel in a hurry.

Good bye Rotterdam

Strange name for a ship?

 We moored at the Ligkade Delft (public mooring N52.005220 E4.360118) which is a few minutes walk to the old town and attractions. Super friendly havenmeester!
€16.30 mooring per day including shower and toilet. €0.50/100lt water, €0.50/kw electricity, washing machine €6, dryer €4. Expensive!

Mooring Delft

Café Huszar, very close to the mooring, is worth a meal.

Delft was supposed to have ‘Gone Blue’ over the weekend but apart from a couple of concerts in the main square, there was not much evidence of ‘Delft gone Blue’. Pity…

City Hall

Nuwe Kerk c.1396

Leaning tower - Oude Kerk c.1295
 Interior views of the Oude Kerk

Noble's heraldic arms defaced by French Revolutionaries.

Bread stall - morning market.

Delft cafe scene.

Crystal clear inner-city canal

22 June 2014: Delft to Leiden – 5 hours, 25 kms (20 minute delay at Hamburgbrug and 1.5 hour delay at Sijtwendebrug which was closed for a city marathon).

06h00 Cloudless, no wind, 15C – beautiful!
10h00 Departed Delft
16h00 Arrived Leiden

De Haven te Leiden (N52.16146, E4.50205). Moor up and walk to the havenmeester’s office at the Schrijversbrug.
€1.08/m mooring, €0.50 per person per day shower fee, €0.75/2kw electricity, €0.75/100lt water. Shower and toilets about 250m away from marina.

Boatacade leaving Delft

Locked up and waiting.

A rare waterfront fuel station.

Mooring Jachthaven Leiden

Bicycles at Leiden station

 A city of spires

Pieterskerk - decommissioned (?) church and now a museum

WSC pub

 The beautiful City Gate

Lovely city!

25 June 2014: Leiden to Zwammerdam – 4 hours, 20.4kms.

09h15 Depart Leiden
12h30 Arrive at public mooring near Zwammerdambrug (N52.10703, E4.73013)
Free mooring for max 3x 24 hours. No facilities.

Arrived here to visit friends who live in nearby Bodegraven.

Strange pets the Zwammerdammers have.

Our mooring in the park.

Zwammerdam town - early morning.

26 June 2014: Zwammerdam to Montfoort – 8 hours, 38.2kms (Extended delay at Boskoopbrug – normal trip should take about 6 hours).

08h45 Departed Zwammerdam
16h35 Arrived Montfoort (N52.04571, E4.94717). Free mooring 3x 24 hours. No facilities.
Clear, sunny day, no wind.
Topped up diesel; 240l used since Sneek.
NB: Were advised at Gouda that a jerry can would be needed as the diesel pump at Montfoort was a short walk from the quay. Nonsense – pump hose reaches to boat. Pump is before one reaches Montfoort town from the Gouda, on the left hand side.

As I found out the next morning, Montfoort is a very pretty town which we didn’t explore as we were too tired after a long day. Town hall, old church, castle now partially modernized, four bakeries, Hema and other supermarkets, and some nice looking pubs and restaurants.

Our travelling companion.

The race to the next lock!

Spot the Grebe.

Montfoort mooring.

Most appropriate name for a dentist!

27 June 2014: Montfoort to Utrecht – 5 hours, 20.4kms.

09h00 Departed Montfoort
09h10 – 09h30 Stopped for 200l water.
14h00 Arrived Utrecht (n52.08596, E5.11844)
Last bridge to city center mooring needed bimini down and made it with 50mm to spare. Dom Plein, about 1km away, has lots of vibey bars and cafes. Fantastic city Utrecht is; just a great pity we did not take more pictures.

Rainy start.

But it clears.

Canal tour.

Our mooring.

Cloister of St Maartenskerk

After the austerity of the Protestant churches, the interior of the St Willibrordkerk was something to behold.

 Soccer World Cup fever: The Netherlands versus Mexico.

And Holland wins by scoring twice in the last five minutes. Final score 2 - 1.

30 June 2014: Utrecht to Culemborg – 4 hours, 20.4 kms.

12h00 Departed Utrecht. Water level had risen about 12cm so it was mast, bimini and windows down.

On the way the Princes Beatrixsluis is massive and quite intimidating.

16h00 Arrived Culemborg

Culemborg mooring.

Culemborg is a pretty little town.

Of interest to South Africans is Jan van Riebeek’s house. Just about nothing there though - what you see is almost what there is.

2 July 2014: Culemborg to Lith – 7 hours, 38.4 kms.

05h30 Beautiful morning, partly cloudy, no wind, 11C.
08h30 Departed WSV De Helling.
14h30 Arrive Lith.

Keeping clear!
Public mooring 1x 24 hours free with no facilities.

Not a good day. A couple of bad lock experiences and shortly after mooring, the village drunks arrive with much swearing, drunken shouting and falling about. After 2 hours the police arrive but the drunks had left. Very charming and efficient policemen who were very concerned for our safety and I suspect they left someone on guard nearby, overnight.

Prins Bernhard Sluis

A very unpleasant character.

End of a long day.

3 July 2014: Lith to Plasmolen (near Mook) – 7 hours 30 mins, 40.8 kms.

08h30 Departed Lith.
16h10 Arrive Plasmolen (N51.73022, E5.91594)

Lovely cruise along the Maas with a helpful following wind.

Public mooring at Mook not recommended (“Onrustig, geen overnachting”).
Jachthaven Dolfijn only accommodates small craft.
Moored in the marina of the Jachthaven De Driesen
Friendly welcome, reasonable facilities, a great view from the clubhouse and a very good restaurant. About 4kms to Mook.

We rode to Mook and visited the WWI cemetery there. Very moving indeed.

6 July: Plasmolen to Gennep – 2 hours, 14.3 kms.

10h45 Departed Jachthaven De Driesen.
12h40 Arrive Gennep – WSC De Paesplas (N51.68801, E5.96752).

On arrival a stiff breeze made mooring difficult but helpful havenmeester and club members we eventually made it. Very friendly havenmeester and a good feel to the marina.
Mooring €1/m including electricity and water.
€0.50 pp for shower.
€2.50 washing machine.

That afternoon (6July) it bucketed!

But by the next day it had cleared.

8 July 2014: Gennep to 't Leukemeer – 3 hours 30 mins, 20.4 kms.

08h45 Depart WSC De Paesplas - pouring rain.

12h15 Tied up against the bank of the lake. Still raining.

But it eased after a while

But then it continued to rain until about 20h00 the next day.

And Holland lost to Argentina 2 - 4 in the semi-final. But the Dutch were very pleased at their team's performance as they were not expected to get beyound the first stage. Hup, Hup!

10 July 2014: 't Leukemeer to Venlo – 4 hours 15 mins, 28 kms.

07h45 Departed 't Leukemeer
09h15 Tried to moor at passantehaven at Argen but cruiser ‘Dutch Flower’ was moored in the middle of quay making a very tight fit for us – they didn’t bother to move. A bicycle hire barge had taken up the whole of the remaining quay.
10h00 Hit submerged object at marker 116 just past where they were dredging.
12h00 Arrived Venlo.

SA Flag flying outside a hotel on the Maas.

Moored at Oude Haven Venlo which is managed by WSV De Maas – lots of information at

Quite a lot of disturbance from big passing ships.

Some funny boats with appropriate names.

13 July 2014: Venlo to Roermond – 5 hours 30 mins, 26.7 kms.

07h10 Departed Venlo
08h30 170m pusher occupied both locks at Belfeldsluis. Switched off and waited.
10h30 Entered lock.
14h00 Arrived Roermond.

Marina RVW Nautilus (N51.19569, E5.98117). Luckily we called ahead and asked for, and received, a mooring right in front of the clubhouse.

Excellent meal at Aruna Cuisine

Mooring at RVW Nautilus

16 July 2014: Roermond to Maastricht. 9 hours, 53.2 kms.

07h30 Departed Roermond
09h30 – 10h20 Detour to Van der Laan marina in Maasbracht to confirm wintering arrangements.
16h30 Arrived Maastricht.

Moored on quay in the middle of the Maas (N50.85114, E5.69635). No fees, no facilities.

Wonderful city and we had Andre Rieu performing in the Vrijthof with live TV broadcasts. Sat at a restaurant 50m from the square and listened to the music and watched the show on a large screen TV; neither of us were that impressed with the show - too much talking and not enough music.

Lunched at the two Michelin star Beluga restaurant. Very good indeed.

Thiessen cellar tour & winetasting well worthwhile.

21 July 2014: Maastricht to Eijsden – 2 hours, 8 kms.

08h00 Departed Maastricht.
10h00 Arrived Eijsden (after 1 hour detour to Jachthaven Portofino).

Very pleasant, small marina with a short bike ride into Eijsden town and the tiny ferry across to Belgium.

Kasteel Eijsden

New borns.

Good food at the café Aon ‘t Bat, Eijsden.
Great mussels in cream, garlic and leeks at Café Sophe in Lixhe, Belgium.

24 July 2014: Eijsden to Maastricht – 1 hour 10 minutes, 8 kms.

07h30 Depart Eijsden.
08h40 Arrive Maastricht.

Very sad to be turning back on our tracks as it means we are nearly at our journey’s end.

Lucky to find a spot at the passante ligplaatsen again.

 The Dutch really believe that 'SALE' signs work...

Maastricht is a lovely city, one of our favourites.

27 July 2014: Maastricht to Maasbracht – 5 hours 44 mins, 46.1 kms.

07h55 Departed Maastricht
14h15 Topped up with ‘clean’ diesel at the bunker in the channel just before Van der Laan. The diesel at the bunker stations just after the Drielingsluis is cheaper but has a higher sulphur content.
15h00 Maasbracht.

Moored at Van Der Laan Marina (N51.13999, E5.87218)

Arrangemets made to put “Elle” on the hard, have her winterized and de-winterized in 2015, and have a cover made.

The big pack-up.

By 29 July we had packed up everything and were given a lift into Maasbracht where we caught a bus to Roermond, a train to Schipol, spent a night at the Ibis Amsterdan Airport, and the next morning boarded a KLM flight back to South Africa.

We are booked to arrive back in Amsterdam on 1 April 2015 when the adventure shall recommence.