Happy birthday

Yes today it is Deb’s Birthday, and she was gently woken up by the smell of fresh crispy bacon and coffee.  First order is move the boat, since the Swaen wants to move out and there are free spots on the dock.

After we moved I turned on the Kabola, so we could take a nice long hot shower, but grabbing the valve switch I saw that one on the electric control lines was loose.  Must have happened when I was scowering round there figuring out why the breaker for the heating outlets kept switching off ( While installing the 24V DC line to the 24V Breaker box, I must have pulled the wires in the main heating switch, causing it to earth leak)  Since there were many wires, I tried hunting the manual, but remembered I never had one.  So I grabbed a quick picture of the valve and saw that I had to reconnect the brown wire.  Blue is Neutral, Green is Vetus, Brown is Kabola to the switch .

 

Problem solved and a hot shower, in the mean time the harbor emptied itself. A few barges passed by, one with the text “Here (sails) goes a sixteen 18 wheeler caravan” .  This is probably done to show the grumbling  people who whine about the bridge openings.  Remember how efficient transport by water is, compared to road.

A bit later a gravel barge came along.  Here you can see how it has to slowly maneuver to go around the bend here in Delft.

 

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Then just before 18:00 the Michielsen Gang showed up, fully packed and loaded.  Lindy and Roy were going afterwards to a party in Goes.  Once seated the big question was ” when will Marius and Wilma arrive” .. 2 minutes later.   After the obligatory Dutch way of congratulation everybody with Deb’s Birthday, we had coffee and beer in the common, group therapy circle, so well described in the many books written by Ex-Pats about the Dutch.
At 18:00 Matthijs showed up with his electric sloop to take us round the Delft Canals.  Where to great joy of Marius, he revealed that in the middle ages, Delft was the Beer brewery center of Holland with over 400  breweries.  And as cute fact, the roads along the canals angle towards, the canals, so that it was less work rolling the barges into the barges for transport.

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As you can see there were a few very very low bridges.  As Renata, just recovers, from the Bridge duck and sees another great building.  Matthijs dropped us off close to the Beesten markt, where we went to Spijshuis De Dis for Deb’s tasting Birthday dinner.

 

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The staff was excellent.   At a sudden moment Marius asked for a cup of coffee. Deb quickly quipped….that must be in a beer glass, you can’t drink coffee, so the staff obliged.

Then wen Daniel needed a beer, we were able to have him sip it out of a coffee cup, since Daniel never drinks coffee.

Upwards and onwards #2

The silence at Kever haven was deafening and blinding.   We must have gone deaf, because it was so darn quiet and we did not had to close any of the drapes!   Sleep was peaceful.   We woke up to an overcast sky, with ‘buienradar’ telling us we would get some rain.  When leaving Jan was stupid enough to break the silence by playing his ‘bye-bye . au revoir’ MP3 over the loudspeakers.
After turning onto the Kager plassen Deb took the wheel for a bit, because the PC-Navigo display on the PC was not giving us any directions.

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But after some fiddling, it showed us the route to Leiden.    We encountered quite a bit of heron’s and swans, even a really big one.

 

 

As you can see it is kinda funny being in a boat, and seeing the water higher than the houses.  We were looking over house roofs, while just being in the boat.
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Then we encountered Leiden, a bunch of bridges and then a railway bridge.  This bridge ONLY opens on .34 and 04 every hour.  So I checked in via VHF and was told, be ready at 10.31.    10:31 came and went …we waited and waited but no change of lights.  Overheard a large commercial asking for the time and he was told 10:59, because a train would be passing by at 10:56.  So a bit more delay, but who cares in retired life !    Then at 10:56 NO train, yet the lights changed and we were able to get through and on our way to Leidschendam.      During our wait, a few more boats gathered,  one barge like ours, called “Energy II” a Tug boat and a small boat, so I let the barge, who seemed in a hurry pass and heard he was going to Schiedam.  Great now he can speed ahead, call the bridge keepers and make it easy for us.    Seeing the Leidschendam windmill Deb got ready for the lock.

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Getting closer to the lock we saw a new way of cleaning your dog…..just let him jump in the water while on the leash.

And then the lock ……a quaint old fashioned hand controlled lock, with 2 bridges, in the center of the town.  Energie II, the barge going to Schiedam peeked out to see if we all could fit in it, and after a few moment waved us to follow him.  Slowly we eased ourself into the lock, with the lock master assisting with directions, while the diners looked on.   The ropes got on and we had a few leisurely minutes to snap picture.

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After Leidschendam onwards to Den Haag.    Den Haag has Heron’s in its coat of arms, and we saw these buggers nearly everywhere ever since we left the Kager Plassen.

Just passed the hoornbrug we saw the new cycling bridge, a light structure that swings to the side instead of up.

 

We also passed the of LAGA building, where the student ‘corps’ of Delft University rows.

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The we arrived at the Delft harbor, where because of lack of space we had to moor along side another boat.   Looking around I saw a nice new built Dutch barge model “Vrijbuiter”.  Looking in the DBA guide, I found out they we members, a new Zealand guy and his French wife and 2 kids, who were going to cruise Europe for 2 years.

 

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5.2 engine hours
5 liters
32.2 Km

 

 

 

upwards and onwards

So we wanted to see Delft Jazz this weekend, plus Frank is throwing his USA BBQ this Saturday, thus…barging from Zaandam to Delft   72.8 KM  with many bridges and some locks.  The locks in Holland are nowhere near the ones on the Ohio River, or the French  Frexeneit locks.  The dutch ones are modest, 2- 4 inches sometimes 6-8 inches, don’t forget may times the canals in Holland are 5 – 8 feet above ground level.    Just fun , sitting on the barge, and seeing only the roofs of house along the roads.

We set of at 10:00, checklist completed, mast lowered and off we went to Amsterdam, because the quicker route via Haarlem is not passable for recreational boats.  The Haarlem lock being close to the big  IJmuiden sealocks was bringing in too much salt water.  remember, the driest summer in ages.

Did the Zaan then The North Sea Canal, then de oude hout haven and onto the first set of bridges on the Kostverloren Gracht, all went smooth until….the nieuwe meersluis.  Last year that was a clusterfuck, and today was a upper CF.  When we arrived the lock was opening and a swarm of little boats sped out, the other large boat in front of us was ready to go in, when……the lock closed…..a quick call on the VHF got us the answer ” I had to close it because I am changing shift, my colleague will open it up and have you on your way soon” so we waited . and waited and …the lock started filling from the other side…so we puttered around, wind blowing.  Offcourse the little sloops and a few speedboats were jostling for position, even though there was no opening in sight.  Got a few times close to them, especially when the only looked forward. Finally over an hour after we arrived the locked opened on our side.  A few small boats were trying to get in first, and I did shouted loud to deb ” they have no clue that IF I loose control, we will be totally making them flat like a can of Sardines” . Which caused a chuckle with a few of the more controlled boaters.   Once in the lock it took forever to be lowered the  1 inch if that.  Most likely the new lock keeper was emptying the lock with a 5 gallon bucket.

But off we went onwards to Schiphol, the Ringvaart van de Haarlemmer meer polder.

Next bridge, Schiphol draaibrug, where we were told to wait 15 minutes, so we attached a line and turned of the engine. A small boat moored along side.  The lights jumped to red-green, so I turned the key.   Yet NO sound, besides the buzzer.  No starter, no noise.  Bloody Hell.  Ok    Deb jumped to my help, moving things away, so I could jump it no the belly of the beast and slay whatever horrors were not allowing us to leave.  I decided to to a Mike Cockran solution and bypass the starter solenoid, while trying to do so , I saw a loose connection.

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And voila, the beast sprung alive.    I haled Schiphol Draaibrug again, apologized and quite quickly the bridge opened.

After de ringvaart we came to the westeinder plassen, a very nice typical polder scene.  The canal with many small boats along the sides and houses lower than the canal.  I found a mooring place in the Kager plassen and dialed them.  The manager lady was very nice and reminded me that the Leimuiderbrug is closed for recreational boating from 16:00-18:00.  it was 15:25 and 3 KM to go, so we should be OK. BUT for safety lets speed up a bit.  Well J-K listened and started going faster and faster and got up to 15 KM/hr.  after a bit I did hear a sputter but the engine picked up again, so I slowed a bit and kept going at around 12 km/hr.  Then . ….silence…engine died……turning the key..NOTHING.  Holy Moley . …I am barreling down a canal at 12 KM/hr and I have no engine…not much control.  trying to steer as good as I could the barge slowed down, but because of the wind an no real good rudder action, the barge was barreling towards some sloops on the side of the canal.  I dashed forward, and was able to lasso a mooring pole and let the barge kinda bang into it, stopping it.   It did resulted into the ‘Remy Manoeuvre” invented by ( then only ) Ltcl R Michielsen of the Royal Dutch airforce.  Where he decided to block the canal du Briare from potentially harmful airplane.
Together with Deb we tried to get the stern to shore, but no success. We waved a small sloop down and with their aide and pushed the stern in so I could secure a second mooring line.

So this was the second calamity today.  Ok no sound nothing, so no voltage.  Ok lets test first if we have 12V.  Well the ONLY thing on the engine battery is the head.  Well that worked. next step opening the engine panel. ..A rats nest of wires ….voltmeter out and lets see where we have voltage. Starting with the key switch, none of the contacts had 12V… GREAT another contact that cant stand the ‘good good good vibrations” ( Beach boys).  lets follow the wires…..well it would be easier to explain some  tax code to 2 year old Amelia !!!!  So grab wire, cutters, tools and lets fabricate quickly a wire from the battery to the key switch.   Deb was a perfect emergency assistant!  Wire done, pressed on what looked like the main 12V ‘contact ‘ of the switch and yes …it was “alive”  ( short circuit).   But we arrived at 16:12 at the bridge, and moored at the restaurant the marina lady told us about .  It was time to give Deb enough Wine to not worry.   BUT ..lets call the bridge keeper on VHF to confirm he won’t open for us.   The answer we got “Correct I won’t open for recreation boats, BUT you are in luck in about 15 minutes I am expecting a commercial, and you can get through after him”. We looked and Deb was really in need of some beer and food.  But gave in to the fact that we could save and hour waiting.  So we grabbed the beer from the fridge, chips and olives and sat down on the bow.

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15 minutes later….NO commercial yet….mmm should I call the restaurant and see how quickly they can make bitterballen ?   No so we kept sitting and then 10 minutes later the bridge opens.  Rushed to the back and started the engine, and went through.  A bit later we arrived at the mooring ‘keverhaven’ . a really nice peaceful nature mooring.

6.5 Engine Hours
36 Liters of Diesel
40.6 Km

 

Au revoir, the first lines and auwie

So it was an early morning. A final breakfast in bed for Megan, and for Peggy in the wheel house.

And yes I did play the Bye Bye MP3, creating chuckles. .
Side note…..As a horn I bought a 2 * 20 Watt MP3 player, so I have different sounds for different occasions.  A selection of sounds are available by request . Just as it is fun to play the sweeper MP3 in the morning in the marina…

Quickly a stop at the store, where Megan bought all the Stoop wafels, and a bunch of jars of Mustard to take home.  Yes Tom you will get a jar of Zaandam Mustard, prepared in the local original mill along the canal and a big bag of Dutch Licorice.  We made the trek to the Railway station  with all 4 suitcases, and hopped on the train to the airport to catch the Thalys to Paris.  There was the usual rush to get in, and to make things more complicated there were some travellers who did not had a pre-assigned seat so they sat on the fold out seat in the small entrance way, and yes their luggage was nearly blocking the entrance.  So I just showed it back to them so everybody could just get in, but it was packed.

 

Back to the barge, to meet Lindy, who was going to start the “hatch art”.  Last year Deb decided we needed to spruce up the big hatch on the barge with some more art.  So together with Lindy they came up with ……..Jan boot kleur vb-3.jpg

The hatch has to be cleaned and the drawing started, unfortunately the cloud cover vanished, as you can imagine the steel deck became hot enough to fry an egg on it.  We placed the white sun screen cover over it and Lindy kept on drawing.  After 4 hours of work , she had to go home, to finish on a later day.

 

In the mean time I was finishing up my switch panel with covers, but boy is it hard to properly route the wood for the hinges.   Luckily Roy will use this as a template and make a really good looking one.

This way the switches are out of sight, and divided in two groups, a general daily use group like, 24V lights, USB wall chargers,  fresh water, bilge pumps, apero alarm  etc, and the second group is cruising.  Thus the Victron Venus, navigation lights etc. Once the panels are opened there will be a form where I can slide the Ipad in for navigation etc.

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And even though I wrote the safety instructions, it does not mean I always follow them ( since “I am Invincible” as the villain in one of the James Bond movies shouts out).  I did stubbed my little toe against the front deck hatch. Did not seemed

too bad,  an hour later I put on sucks and shoes to walk Lindy back to the railway station, get back and unveil the my foot and voila…a nice  auwie.