After having been there for six nights (on two different locations though) ‘s-Hertogenbosch was left on Tuesday the 23rd of August 2016 at 9:10AM. Only one lock, still on the river Dieze, had to be tackled that day before reaching the river Maas (Meuse).
Little herd of the same
Mother nature surprised us last week by offering a real heat-wave. The cows that we spotted on the riverbanks cooled themselves down by either paddling or seeking the shade. For more than one reason we consider them lovely animals.
We felt really blessed by having the opportunity to travel the river in these 100% sunny circumstances. After 5 hours and 20 minutes of stress-less (isn’t that an expensive ‘relexfauteuil’ too?) cruising we moored at a lake called ‘De Gouden Ham’ (The Golden Ham) next to Maasbommel. The (Maas-)water is really crystal-clear, almost drinkable one tends to say. It’s a former sand- or gravel-pit, now a huge recreation-area. Here’s only a small part, close to the entrance, visible.
De Gouden Ham - recreation
The shores of ‘De Gouden Ham’ are, for example, used for a camping-site…
De Gouden Ham - villas
…or so-called ‘water villa’s’, already visible in the distance on the left picture.
The next day, Wednesday, we left our mooring at 9:00AM sharp, did a round-trip on the huge lake (hence the two last pictures) and entered the river Maas again. This is a picture we made that day while the sunlight shone from the front. That’s risky but this time the result was excellent. Sheer luck!
Another one, taken on that glorious Wednesday. One-hundred-percent Dutch.
We reached Cuijk, more exact: we entered the Kraaijenbergse Plassen (Lakes), had to cruise on them in the opposite direction for three kilometers and found this lovely spot – where we were able to moor at 2:20PM after some boat-rearrenging. This is, again, a sandpit and the digging is a continuing story up till the present day. A digger is to be seen on the extreme right of this picture; huge deeply laden commercial boats are passing by on a regular basis. We are told that this set of lakes did not exist -at least not in the present shape by far- some 10 years ago. For more see http://www.kraaijenbergseplassen.nl/the-kraaijenbergse-plassen/.
As ‘De Gouden Ham’ charged € 13,00 per day without any facility and the Kraaijenbergse Plassen are for free (no facilities) we left the latter on Saturday the 27th at 9:12AM, after having been there for three nights. Immediately after a short stretch on the river Maas and entering the Maas-Waalkanaal it became all the more clear that the really huge ones are not far away anymore. To get used to this we met this container-ship on the canal. The guy at the helm certainly needs his radar equipment as his front view is (partly) obscured over, say, half a kilometer by the containers.
The only lock on the Maas-Waalkanaal is ‘Sluis Weurt’. The commercial (pusher)boat inside the lock was pushing two massive containers and is, errrrr, huge itself. No problem, though, as the lock is over 250 meters (830 feet) long and the commercial combination ‘only’ some 150 meters (500 feet). So the tjalk in front –our neighbour to be- together with our own luxe-motor were able to join quite easily.
Not very long after leaving the lock one enters the river Waal, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waal_(river). We duly reported our entrance to the Nijmegen Waal-authorities on the VHF. It’s wide and busy and the current is strong. We kept to the right as we cannot compete with the huge ones (and have no desire to try!). Therefore, we were close to the groynes (spur dikes?) and the movement of the water reminded us of crossing the Street of Dover ('La Manche', 'Het Nauw van Calais') in 2012. Keeping things under control was really hard work! Our destination: in front of the third bridge, visible in the distance on the left.
This is ‘our’ bridge with commercial traffic and a cruise-ship (135 meters/450 feet) underneath. We’re looking in the upstream direction. Because of the bend a lot of the commercial upstream traffic tends to use the inside bend – as to avoid the strong current in the outside bend. Of course the downstream traffic acts the opposite way. In that case -when passing starboard to starboard- the ships show a blue board as is visible here on top of the wheelhouse of the cruise-ship. Small ships like ours are not obliged to show a blue board; we are supposed ‘to co-operate’. The entrance to the harbour where we are inside now is visible in the foreground.
An overview of the Lindenberghaven, Nijmegen, where we were able to moor on Saturday at 12:45PM. The grey colour on the high standing poles show what the river-level can be.
The same spot here, seen from a different angle. Note the nice tjalk next to us, our fellow locking boat in Sluis Weurt.
Loads of beer - no balls
As soon as we could we started exploring Nijmegen… …and inevitably ended up having a drink…
Bitterballen - less beer
…followed by a second one, accompanied by ‘bitterballen’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitterballen).
Lindenberghaven and surroundings
A short 360 degrees (we’re unable to find the high, little o) video of where we are at present.
Already visible on the first part of the 12th (set of) picture(s) there’s an old coaster, 'Zeester', (permanently) moored inside the Lindenberghaven. We learned that this has been one of the fourty (40) Dutch vessels that were part of the ‘Operation Dynamo’ (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunkirk_evacuation), better known as the Dunkirk Evacuation – between 26 May and 4 June 1940. The ship then was called ‘Ruja’ (‘Ruga’?), owned/operated by P.H. Fekkes. There have been altogether around 900 ships involved in the action, saving almost 340.000 British/French/Belgian troops. Eight of the 40 Dutch coasters were lost in action. Bye for now.