These are dangerous fish

So there I went on the little foldable bike to Hornbach to buy some hardware and stop at a bike crossing for the light to turn green, when I hear in Dutch “These are dangerous fish”. OK I think…what the frell? “They can do some serious damage!” I turn around and expect a homeless human with a beard and uncombed hair mumbling this. But I see a male in his 40’s on a bike talking to me. “I caught one while in Ibiza”, THEN it dawned on me……this guy looked at my T-shirt, and saw the Marlin!

Picture of shirt on bike

A better Oasis

when we bought Jan-Kees we were told it had a 640 Liter water tank, the first work visit I installed a water sensor, since it was just voodoo guessing how full the tank was. The next improvement was installing a 24V pump with e remote switch. The only way the pump could be stopped was by pulling the fuse, but that could only be done by removing wooden panel between the living area and the front storage area!

The next improvement was connecting it to the Venus, so we could read out the level anywhere on the barge. BUT since the fill opening was just a hole on the top of the tank, it has happened a few times that the tank overfilled, because the person filling it was distracted. Now to defend that person (me), he is suffering from squirrel syndrome.

Because we never used the generator, and we have 1040 watt solar panels (4 of 260) . decided to remove it and use that space, so we could have 2 water tanks. Based on the space available, putting a tank on each side of the barge, and leaving a space for a bow thruster, I found 500 Liter tanks at Postma tanks which would fit. Talking to the previous owner I found out he put the old tank in place by opening the large hatch, and removing the front living area wall to the front storage area. Since Lars was going to remove the small broken hatch and make it a larger one I told him a size which would accommodate putting the tanks in that way, saving the hassle of pretty much breaking down the whole living area.

Making the front hatch.

cutting out the old hatch
Nearly finished

Once back in Zaandam I cleaned out the front hold and started

The tanks arrived, and after clearing the front area I started maneuvering that tanks in place to go ‘down the hatch’ . but…no luck…..the tanks could not get in…….the hatch, made by Lars was too small. Wait too small? mmm yes and no. The total opening size was perfect, BUT they added a U frame to divert any water, making the opening about 10 cm smaller !!!

Since Remy was coming to help me the next day and had some limited time, I decided to remove all the clothing storage, the bookshelves etc, all this on one of the hottest days in the summer. (This is also the day that I developed my hernia, leading to a ‘semi emergency liposuction, but that is for another entry)

removed the interior wall
making a floor for the tanks to rest on

The flange we got from had a 25 mm diameter. When I ordered them I was not aware that that size is NOT a standard size you can get at Hornbach. So after ta trip to Hornbach we found a nearly fitting pipe, filled up the void with the white teflon tape, and wrapped the vulcanizing tape on the outside. Unfortunately, the pipe dropped quite quickly, and the only way to get fresh water was to drop a piece of tyleen directly connected to the pump in the tank. After calling the I ordered 2 pieces of pipe the correct diameter. Unfortunately the vulcanizing tape was swimming in the tank, which later was sucked up by the pipe, stopping the flow, so after emptying the tank we were able to get it out.

I did added 2 floats in each tank, one to warn the tank is nearly full and the other 1 inch higher as a final warning ( which can also be used later to close the electric valves, which I am installing later)

Because of the hernia, I did not do much more work on the system, but in 2020 I will get the 2nd tank ready, connect both tanks with an electric shut off valve, so that the pump can pump from both, or by closing one valve we can also level the barge a bit.

PLEASE PULL OVER !!! Flashing Blue lights!!!

So this Sunday morning we set of at 09:00 and when we arrived at the first bridge in Delft, de Hambrug, there was no response to a few VHF  Hails.  Looking on the ANWB app, it showed , NO SERVICE until 10 AM Sunday’s.  So we decided to moor up at the side. Just when we were moored, I saw the telephone number on the ANWB App and called it, The lady at Leidschendam Central said , NO we start working at 9 AM, so we will open the bridge for you . Relieved we set off, and when ever we got close to a bridge, we quickly saw the red-red change into Red-Green. 

Oostpoort brug h

Then past the Koepoort brug, we saw a bunch of skiff rowers.  LAGA the Student rowing club was out in full force, and being Skiff rowers, THEY owned the canal, according to their behavior.    We kept encountering them, paying absolutely no attention to the people around them. Then we arrive at the Hoorn Brug, where the height is 4.1 Meter and the movable part is 2.4 M . So we aim for the 4.1 Meter, we stopped to let some skiff rowers pass, and slowly ease in.   While we are under the bridge, a 6 person skiff comes in and bitches and tells us to use the other side.   Just past the bridge there was another whole swarm of skiff rowers.

The central bridge control, gives us the go ahead for the  nieuwe and oude Tolbrug Den Haag, and they turn the lights Red-Green on the Kerk Brug.  And surprise surprise, a Police car stops and waves to us and point to the mooring place.  I start to chuckle….bloody Students …their manhood must have been hurt by us not bowing to them.  Deb throws the rope, the bridge opens, I hail Leidschendam Control, and tell them sorry we can’t make the bridge the police stopped us.  So when we are tied up the 2 police offers look and look and look and  blurt out “we can not come aboard now” .  Well that is NOT my problem.. YOU directed us to tie up there.   
I do my story.  “there are 2 openings..One I can go through without interrupting traffic the other is too low for us, there are yellow light , which means watch out.  We are in the bridge and the rowers demand we move away for them, while they could have used the other” . The police asks a few more questions. like what is your length, are you a commercial, because I see a registration number there. (the US Coast Guard registration) Then they want to see some ID of me, to which I reply “sure come aboard”, creating dumb founded looks.  So I throw out “wait ..I’ll text them to you ”  The police hails some other person on their radio and wish us a great day and leave.  We continue our trip and just before Leidschendam lock a person in an official jacket of Rijks Waterstaat, the ministry which controls the waterways, on a moped shouts at us “are you continuing ?”    “Yes to Zaandam” was my reply.  “O’K . I have something for you “.   I think Holy Mackerel what do they want NOW ??????
We enter the lock an elderly lady comes close and takes the mooring line from Deb. I step ashore, and I see that person of the central control.   “We saw all what happend and overheard it, so we wanted to give you a present”.  He hands me a brochure “how to sail safe”, I look a bit surprised, he smiles and hands me a key hanger.  “Yes the brochure is for the rowers next time, just give it to them, they are always a BIG problem” we all chuckled.

Onwards we went to Leiden, where our main delay would probably be the railway bridge, so just as we are ready to throw lines over a bollard, we see the light go Red-Green !   wow no wait time and we continue.  Arrived at Kever Haven at 13:30

Here is Today’s Track


The hunt for Red October

The hunt for the water which on occasion seeps in. and collects in the bilge.  Over the past 3 years we have identified a few things which causes water to collect in the bilge. Water should be removed, for rust and for mold. We have seen a few windows which were leaking, and this year with painting the outside , we have also varnished the windows enough and caulked them enough that when it rains, there is no more water coming in.  Still some  water kept appearing, silently , just as the Red October with Sean Connery did.  Because of Deb’s Bday dinner, Renate and Remy spend the night on the boat.  In the morning Deb and Renate went bargain hunting, while Remy helped me with a few small jobs, like fixing the new wire to the key contact.  We also discussed blowers in the bilge and tried to come up with ways to improve the wheel house, in regards to rain diversion.  While we were exploring these options, I also showed Remy how some wiring was running and pulled the new pilot house carpentry away we discovered that there was quite a bit of water standing.  The water seeps in via the wooden top and the steel work.  The wooden window frames rest on a 35 MM wide L beam, but because the wood is the same width, the water slowly drips between the wood and the steel.  When I made the new pilot house control console, I did noticed there was rust already, which I then removed and treated with Owatrol.  This coming week I will put a thin strip of wood over the edge, and caulk the top , so that the water is diverted to the steel instead of the top.

A 9 meter boat with Belgians arrived and we admired their folding bikes





At night Deb and I went to the Market to listen to some Jazz and have a beer and Bitterballen en ‘olijfjes”

While walking to the Market we encountered a cute Ford, which is not sold in the USA

A Ford Ka



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.



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.


Can you park you car somewhere else…..or not having a life..

Last year when Marius drove over from Limburg to the boat and brought the sofa cushions, he parked his car.  The moment he opened the hatch to Jan-kees, Daniel popped a bottle of Hertog-Jan for him.  10 minutes later a knock on the door and a stranger peeked in, pointed to Marius and said ” you were going to move your car”.   Bewildered looks from all of us, and Marius explained that the spot he parked on was next to a disabled spot, and the guy who lived in front of it asked Marius to move his car.  So we did.  Fast forward to this year……Every year when we rent a car we rent a small one, and some people commented on that so this year we rented the extra van of Daniel, one reason si to give him some $ and just because it would be handy to move stuff.  Because there was construction on the spot where we normally can park, we had to park in the same street as Marius did last year…do I have to continue…?

So 3 days later we used the van to move some stuff and drive to Renata and Remy.  When we came back we started parking the car in a different spot, and the moment I steered that car onto the spot, a male walked to us qnd asked how long we were going to park there.   I looked bewildered and said one day….he replied it was blocking his mothers view….which view was smaller passenger cars and the other side of the street.  He did tell us there was a BIG parking lot at the end of the street.  But I was too tired to bother, besides the street is PUBLIC parking.  The old lady was quite agitated, because…”YOUR BIG VAN was parked 3 days over there blocking part of everybodies view” The next day we stepped in the truck and started backing up..  I was barely out of my spot and 2 cars stopped, the driver stepped out and were reminding us that there was a BIG parking lot 100 meters at the end of the street, and they don’t like seeing big vans parked here.

Wow I feel sorry for these people who have nothing better to do .

Update…so we parked the car on the BIG EMPTY car lot, and after being gone the weekend…I parked the car there again……while driving into the lot I saw a pair of eyes follow me.   Locked the doors and started to walk away when I heard . ” Can’t you park this van in front of your house” . lol  wow

Follow the electrons

Remember we had the big storms in January ( see Yes dear we do have storms in Holland) .  Right around that time the Venus warned me that the shore power was AWOL.  Well no Biggy was my reaction, the batteries are full , 800 AH 24V batteries ( yes Mastervolt, because I could get them really really cheap.) . so that is 25.44 * 800 = 20.35 KWH.  That would keep the bilge pump and Venus going long enough.

So mid March a friend goes to Jan-Kees,  they had a terrible flight, well they did book United!  Had no luggage and then NO 220V.   So some frantic texting ,  I suggested to look to the shore power , shore breaker, shore cable, breakers.   Well after a lot of work , they found out it was only the 220V primary outlet breaker who kept tripping.  Unfortunately, the shore breaker flips just before the panel breaker, so the harbor master was called a few times.   All what had to be done, was, uncouple shore power and test it while on inverting.  they exchanged breakers on the panel, but the problem persisted.   Perhaps some condensation water.  They gave up, did not wanted to listen to advise, because they knew how it all worked, and stayed on Jan-Kees without 220V for a month.

Then 3 weeks a Dutch friend goes to Jan-Kees, to do some cycling in the area.  Marius was in the same research department as me in the 1980’s so I knew he would find the problem.  We discussed it could be the Fridge or the outside light or outside motion light.   When I got a notification of the Victron Venus that there was no shore power, I knew Marius was testing.  the first thing he did was turn the outside motion light off, and VOILA…..Electrons were coming out of outlets. the Fridge got a shiver, and got cold.   Marius went outside and inspected the light and yes during the storm it must have shorted.  That is what you get with a cheap Chinese Led Motion sensor light in the mast.


Air heating is working

Tuesday August 15

The day started by sanding down the rust sport, created by the little ‘kernel’ or rust removed by the perago disk who flew around and landed on the deck.  They left a little rust spots sanded pilot house front deck.  I should have wiped/ hosed the deck after I remove the rust …………After the sanding I applied a coat of primer which had Owatrol added to it.  Owatrol converts rust and is a rust inhibitor.   The primer was dry in 20 odd minutes.

2 Kabola technicians came to assist Ron with the hot air unit.  The Temperature indicator showed an ambient temperature of 1C.    These technicians, did discover that one thermocouple should have been mounted factory wise was not.  So they needed a 7 mm drill and a pair of pliers, to make sure the drill would not go too far and puncture the heat exchanger.  The next problem …the 1C measurement was caused because the plug was not in deep enough.  And yes the heating worked smoothly and quietly.  We discussed how to optimally control it, and it was decided that the wall controller would control the furnace on and off, and the blower would be set on automatic and the temperature.  This way the fan will adjust its speed to the temperature of the outside thermocouple, and be very quiet.

Lindy and Roy coming, but are having delays with trains

Once Roy got into designing the frame for the switches, Lindy and I applied a coat of yellow on the top deck which I had just sanded and primed

While we Lindy and I were painting, Deb decided Lindy needs to make some art on the main hatch, which would be fun to look at, and on the hatch it can be ‘framed, and people will not really walk much over it.


Here you can see how Deb was trained by the swans.  They would gently float up, see that the window was open and make noise, Deb then dutifully would grab the lets over bread, feed them, at first by just throwing small pieces out the window, and later by holding it in her hand and the swans just picking it out.  Just like she did when were in France on Waterman

Roy and Lindy had to leave around 18:30, because of train troubles it would be a longer.  Because it was still light we drove to Wijk aan Zee for a walk on the beach and some food.  In this place you went in, ordered paid and they would bring it out.  So I quickly ordered 2 fun beers, a portion Sateh and a portion bitterballen.  I got my 2 beers and our number to be displayed on the table.   The Sateh came out….and no sign of the bitterballen, the chef apologized and said they would come out very quickly now.  We nibbled on the Sateh…and . 20 minutes later our beers were finished and still no bitterballen.    I went inside and smilingly explained and after excuses of the manager I exchanged the number for the price of the bitterballen.

While walking to the car, we saw this Abri ( Shelter in French) which was a sea shell on its side made in 1993.  Deb sat on the little bench and the sound was amazing, it really amplified the sea sounds


Hoor de wind waait door de bomen

Saturday July 29

“Oh hear the wind blow through the trees” . the beginning of a St Nicholas song, and correct at that December time.   That song popped up when I woke up….blimey the flags on the mast were enduring quite hard winds,  Yes there was rain too, quite a lot. more than the normal 19 -27 drops of Dutch rain during the day.  It was only 6:30 am, around 9 am it got sunny and nice.

When Deb woke up, she wanted to take a shower, which she would enjoy..since we have UNLIMITED hot water …but her shower only lasted a minute or so….       “what happened?”  ..”it is cold ” Her reply was.   Bloody hell again troubles with the Kabola.  So even though one never calls a supplier on a Saturday I did call Ron and explained it to him and asked for him to come by during the week.

I went into the roof to clean up the wiring on the battery/ inverter system and pull a few more wires for the bilge, when I heard Deb say ” Visitors” and it was Ron and Jochem, on their bikes.  Ron went into the engine room, and concluded it was something to do with the circulation pump and air in the system.   Jochem asked me if I had a ‘ontluchtings sleutel’ . (a key to let air out of the hot water heating system  )

I replied “well you know the installer (Ron) told me earlier this week that he would bring one by the barge, but he has forgotten me ”  To which Ron answered ” see you can never trust these installers”, and we had a laugh.

Once they left I had to dash to Hornbach and Klaas Mulder to get some parts.  I had dropped a little screw from the Battery monitoring shunt and I needed extra plumbing for the water tank, so I could install the new pump, and have an easy way to blow the pipes with air to winterize.

At Hornbach, I found the screw, but the plumbing department was like Home Dumpo or Lowes .  “I don’t know, why don’t you use our quickfit system and this is not my department” .  So I was rather peeved when I went to the checkout and presented my 76 cents of screws and when I pulled out a debit card, the teller pointed to my plastic bag with the parts I took along to see how to fit them . “what about these?”  “Uhmmm these are mine whom I took to see for fitting!”  ” Well I think they are Hornbach’s” . “Uhmm NO you don’t have these items” . ” Sir we have 30,000 items so we definitely have them” ” wel i took them in myself” .  “well next time anything you bring in you need to show so they can write you a ticket” .   “what????? so I need to show my underwear?    what about my key ring, I KNOW you sell them here too” . OH I really nearly broke loose in a rant. I just walked out, and hope Praxis across the street would be a better place.   FAT chance……their assortment is even smaller and asking if anybody can help  in the plumbing department is being answered ”  I only work here not in plumbing and nobody can help you”

So back in the boat I had to take a beer and relax.

Hey Jan is the boat locked?

WHAT…this message popped-up on Whatsapp.  Well yeahhhhh the boat is locked!,  Lam texted me this message, so because of all the commotion with his work he forgot to take the keys with him, and he was already in Chicago waiting for his final segment.   So a quick back and forth texting started.  Where to first solution was Daniel arriving tomorrow at the boat after work, and then a second solution was pulled out of the hat by me; Mint, she was off work tomorrow and with the offering of a big bag of Dark Chocolate M&M’s she would drive by Daniel and get the keys and meet Lam between 12:00 and 13:00.  Since his plane lands at 10:20 he might have to wait a bit…so he bought a nice bottle of aged rum.  More to come.

So at 05:25 EST  ( 11:25 local) I got the text  “At Jan-kees, harbor master had keys, Zaandam is very nice.Almost bucolic, checking if shore power is on, so the M&M’s don’t melt”.  I read it and went back to sleep, to text back at 07:45 EST.  Then Lam calls, all happy, about the Market, eating Kibbelingen, shopping at Hema and the fact that he is on hollliday and does not need to do didly!

A good start after all .