Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The Netherlands Adventure – Part II: Sneek to Amsterdam with Ian & Sian - June & July 2014

This will be short pictorial record of our first few days aboard “Elle” which went past in a bit of a blur of newly learned experiences, bearing in mind that we had never travelled the Netherlands inland waterway system and that I am probably the world’s worst mechanic – and never having had any experience with inboard marine engine systems did not help!

Our first objective was to reach Amsterdam in time for Ian and Sian to catch their flights back to Lisbon and Horta on 9 June and then to continue until we found a place to winterize "Elle" before flying back to South AFrica on 30 July 2014.

3 June 2014: Sneek to Echtenerbrug - 26 kms.

We didn't stay in Sneek for very long as we had visited it a few times in March and while we were waiting for the engineers to finish up - but a most enjoyable city with a great vibe.

The journey to Echtenerbrug started in lovely weather which deteriorated and the wind was blowing quite hard when we crossed the Tjeukemeer. Echtenerbrug marina area is well recommended with diesel, a big chandlery and a Friesian pub (which we did not try).

Echtenerbrug mooring

Friesian pub

4 June 2014: Echtenerbrug to Zwartsluis - 40 kms.

Lovely trip with a two hour hold-up along the way but outside a pretty town with a lovely bank-side mooring. Great mooring at Sluispoort, just across the bridge from the old town.

Sluispoort mooring:
-          Mooring fee €1/m
-          Tourist tax €1 per person
-          Electricity €0.50/kw
-          Water €0.5/100 litres

Ian operating manual lift bridge.
Scenery en route.

Mooring Zwartsluis

Early morning Zwartsluis

Zwartsluis suburb.

6 June 2014: Zwartsluis to Almere – 70 kms.

Stunning day – sunny and no wind.
07h30 departed Zwartsluis
17h35 arrived Almere.
Free public mooring with no facilities right on the edge of suburbia. Bit of a scruffy town center but lovely, green suburbs.

Lifting bridge

Strange architecture

Public mooring #1

Our mooring

7 June 2014: Almere to Amsterdam – 34 kms.

08h00 Departed Almere.
12h30 Arrived Sixhaven Marina, Amsterdam.

Another stunning day and a special one as we crossed the Markemeer which is to the south east of the Ijsselmeer and which felt like we were in the ocean.

Zuidsluis before entering Markemeer

Amsterdam skyline
The liner Queen Elizabeth left her Amsterdam mooring as we arrived (I thought all the horns and sirens were announcing our arrival!).

Heading to the Markemeer to make a U-Turn

And off she goes!

Sixhaven Marina has a fantastic position as it is across the river from Amsterdam Central Station which you reach by a short ferry ride. But the marina can get really full so if you want to make an early departure, make arrangements with the port captain or you could be well and truly parked in.

Sixhaven moorings.

Feeding time.


We found Amsterdam a bit tatty and jam packed with tourists, especially the Red Light district but I think we owe the city another visit.

Ferry arriving at Amsterdam station.

Ferry crossing

Wine tasting.

This is where we said "Totsiens" to Ian and Sian – we would never have gotten past first base without all their help, support and Ian’s seamanship coaching.

Thanks again Guys.

And now we were on our own!


  1. I think my wife Lisette would have dived overboard at the sight of the QE! We'll be following something like your route (at about 10% the pace) this year. It will be good to refer back for some details.

    1. The QE was a doddle as she was going pretty slowly - it's those big, double pusher barges which give me the heebs. 185m of unstoppable mass heading straight toward you is somewhat disconcerting.

    2. Not in our blog, yet, was our traverse through Amsterdam on our third day of cruising. We tried to cross in front of a commercial coming up behind us. In the end we just brushed his port side. Boy, was he and his wife pissed off! No need of Dutch, the hand signals were quite expressive!

    3. Wow, more than just an adrenaline rush!

  2. Oh, and I recommend a RYA Diesel course (google it). They are held all around the world (I did mine in a yacht club in Melbourne) to give you the basic skills and appreciation of the mechanics of this very important bit of gear. We had friends that had a air in the lines, and they spent a day and hundreds of dollars on phone calls around the world to get instructions on how to bleed the air out. The course would have given them enough info to perhaps have allowed them to fix it unaided.

    1. Good idea that - will look into it when we get back in June. In the meantime I will ask brother-in-law Ian for some tips while we are cruising through Belgium with them.