Whew! That has been a very quick and very busy 10 days since we arrived in Holland - and I don’t even remember what we have been doing. Let’s recap…
...arrived after another very pleasant KLM flight (we’re going to miss this airline) and, loaded like gypsies, made the dash to the train station hoping to catch the train ‘Reisplanner’ had said might get us to Maasbracht by 14h00. Luckily for us it had been delayed by three minutes and we just made it. Unfortunately no tulips in the countryside, something we had really hoped for; last year spring was early which is why we missed them and this year spring is very late so we have missed them again!..
...for the first few days the weather was European early spring - wet, windy, sleet and the occasional patches of sunshine. Brrrrr…
...stayed two nights at a B&B the ‘Kraaines’, very pleasant if a little noisy at night. Our room was #1 and very close to a busy road. But clean and comfortable…
...Ian and Sian arrived on their boat Njord...
...moved onto “Elle” on Easter Friday…
...did shopping for provisions, checked that the de-winterising had been properly attended to, cruised down to Maastricht, took a train to Venlo to collect another solar panel, installed panels, Ian rewired all our batteries to accommodate a fancy battery monitor (a ‘Tri-metric 2020’)which he gave us as a gift, Lynn sanded and varnished gang plank sections, did more shopping, cleaned decks, etc, etc, etc but the time simply whizzed by. Much more about tjese first ten days acn be found on Sian’s blog at http://carterscruises.blogspot.nl/2015/04/panheel-lock-to-maasbracht.html
|Dressed for Spring|
|Cruising down the Juliana canal|
|A braai (barbeque) with Ian and Sian aboard Njord.|
|Lynn's favourite Spring wine.|
|A Maastricht side road|
|Our mooring quay.|
|The beer pub.|
|Jever is my favourite.|
Today, 10 April, we leave for Belgium.
An aside: The trip from Maasbracht to Maastricht
Awoke to a stunning day which was such a pleasure after the really unpleasant weather we had been experiencing since our arrival; no rain and almost breathless wind conditions - a perfect day for cruising to one of the loveliest cities in the world. Lynn expertly reversed us out of our mooring and we happily bid Van Der Laan marina farewell and headed for the Juliana canal. With very little delay we passed through Sluis Maasbracht and Sluis Te Born; there was almost no other traffic on the waterway and it felt as though we had the whole of Holland all to ourselves. With the ‘mostly open’ Sluis Limmel in the distance and Maastricht just around the corner from that, I got out the binoculars to focus on what looked like a commercial barge moored at the lock. While fussing with the focus and zoom adjustments and all the while trying to make out what was in front of the lock while I steered with my knees, I soon heard the rustling and scraping of bushes against “Elle’s” starboard length.
BUSHES! That means I am too close to the canal wall and in a blink I have put down the binocs, put the engines into neutral and then the starboard engine into reverse but to no avail. Like a voracious stallion “Elle” mounts the rocks and then, after what seems an indeterminable passage of humping and bumping and grinding and shuddering, we are free. What a relief! And the lesson is learned - even on the most perfect of days things can go wrong.