Ossenzijl - (J)irnsum

Monday (almost traditionally) the 16th of April we left Ossenzijl at 11:04AM. After about ¾ of an hour, cruising De Linde/Lende, we spotted two men seemingly searching for lapwing-eggs (kievitseieren). We cannot be sure – one of them could have lost his wallet… Anyway, the lapwings were protesting loudly. A part of the Wikipedia-page in English: “Harvesting eggs. …. In the Netherlands, there is a cultural-historical competition to find the first peewit egg of the year (het eerste kievietsei) (should be kievitsei, ed.). It is especially popular in the province Friesland, but there are also regional competitions. Gathering peewit eggs is prohibited by the European Union, but Friesland was granted an exception for cultural-historical reasons. The Frisian exception was removed in 2005 by a court, which determined that the Frisian executive councillors had not properly followed procedure. As of 2006 looking for peewit eggs is permitted between 1 March and 9 April, though harvesting the eggs is now forbidden. In 2008 the first egg was found on 3 March, in Eemnes, Utrecht, and the first egg of 2009 was found on 8 March. Over the last century, the first peewit egg has been found earlier and earlier in the year. This is ascribed to both increased use of fertiliser and climate change, causing the growth of grass needed for egg laying to occur earlier.” See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_lapwing for the full article – especially the name-variations in English.

This time we do have a few pictures of the views while on the way. The weather-conditions of last week contribute massively to attractive pictures, of course. Here’s the first one, taken while cruising the Jonkers- of Helomavaart.

Around 1:15PM we approached our intended destination, being Echtenerbrug/Delfstrahuizen. Last year we arrived there on the 15th of May and had no problem whatsoever to find a mooring place. This pre-season time, however, the entire armada of hire-boats was still there, making us think that we might be forced to turn around and leave ‘with the tail between the legs’. It proved to be not that bad. We found a space on the opposite (Delfstrahuizen-)site and were able to switch off the engine a few minutes later. Bye the way: can you imagine we enjoyed a strong internet-signal?

On Tuesday we left a few minutes before 10:00AM, cruised the Pier Christiaansloot, Tjonger and Engelenvaart (sloot and vaart in Frisian: sleat and feart), the last one being completely new to us, on our way to the intended destination, being Heerenveen (It Hearrenfean). We suspected to be charged for a mooring over there, but were pleasantly surprised to find a free space – which is a sort of a miracle when being within an urban area.

The rear-view in the morning from the Heerenveen-mooring, situated on the edge of the town. The name of the village on the horizon is Oudehaske. It is, again, as Dutch as Dutch can be.

We have been in Heerenveen for 3 nights(days), the maximum period permitted. One of our favourite outdoor cafes was ‘Het Gerecht’, meaning court of justice as well as dish/course. The building’s name is Oenemastate and dates from 1640. See for more: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oenemastate - only in Dutch or Frisian. Coming back to the name: in the past the building accommodated, among other things, the court of justice. Nowadays it’s a ‘grand café’ – so it’s a very appropriate name.

  • Dr Willem Frederik (Wim) Duisenberg © Udo Ockema

    He drowned in his swimming pool after a heart attack at the age of only 70. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wim_Duisenberg. (We were unable to turn our own picture 90°.)

  • Who he was - what he did


    Born Heerenveen, 9 July 1935 – Died Faucon (F) 31 July 2005. (Co-)founder of the new European monetary system. First president of the European Central Bank.

On Friday the 20th Heerenveen was left behind at the very civilised time of 10:17AM. According to our waterways-map it should be possible to take in all the water we wanted after some 5 kilometers/over 3 miles. That proved to be true. We made a temporary stop starting 11:17AM and duly connected our hose to the tap. Next to the tap we discovered a rusty tube with a slit on top and a written sign, telling us ‘Watergeld hier in werpen’, meaning to put (a voluntary amount of) money for the water into the tube. We did, starting with a coin of € 1,00. The coin instantly ended up in the grass underneath the tube. What?? Well, the tube did not have a bottom (rusted away?). We checked whether there were more coins in the grass – to no avail. The water, therefore, was for free and no-one will ever know how much we were planning to pay. The place was left at 12:30PM – over an hour of taking in a few litres/gallons.

It is a fairly long stretch after leaving Heerenveen in the north/west direction that the course of the canal is next to the course of the railway. A bridge is constructed in the rail-track and is operated by contacting a 088-telephone-number – which could be anywhere, possibly Leeuwarden in this case. This bridge leads from the waterway Het Deel (It Deel) into the Mûntsjerak – back towards the centre of Heerenveen. There’s no direct connection into Heerenveen’s centre from where we were moored (at the edge of the city). A detour of around 14(!) kilometers/8,75(!) miles is required to bridge a distance of around less than 1,5 kilometre/1 mile ‘as the crow flies’.

Another bridge in the railway-track

Anyway, here the bridge closes again after a boat passing – and this is what it looks like. Again we are amazed that this works so smoothly, while this is a pretty busy railway-track – and that, fortunately, it seems 100% accident-free.

Because we -well, at least one of us- over-and-over-again feels a sort of mesmerised by this kind of technique, a picture of this utterly reliable part of the railway.

Well known aquatic-sport-centre Akkrum was reached that afternoon. We found a nice mooring-spot in Akkrum’s Meinesloot/Meinesleat, at the ‘Tusken de Marren’-marina. As this picture shows the weather was still great and the lay-out of the marina offered a nice opportunity to sit outside, enjoy life in general and the sun especially.

Welgelegen – Akkrum. See https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welgelegen_(Akkrum) – only in Dutch, but more explanation with the next set of two pictures.

  • From left…

    Welgelegen was founded in 1924 by Suster van der Vegt. De houses, for unmarried women and widows, were built in 1928. The garden was created in 1929. On...

  • …to right

    ...Welgelegen’s grounds an ‘octagon’ (as opposed to ‘pentagon’), dating from the 18th century, already existed. The entirety now is a national heritage site. (Wikipedia.)

  • Faded flag

    The colours of our large flag were faded, beside a frayed edge. So we bought a new one in Akkrum, at Jachtwerf Oost.

  • Bright flag

    They sold us 88 litres of white diesel, too, at ‘only’ € 1,39 per litre. The flag, 70 x 100 cm, was € 17,95. Not too bad.

Saturday the 21st, good bye-Akkrum-day. Without paying too much attention to the time we started the engine at 11:58AM and cruised towards the Meineslootbrug at a distance of some 200 meters around the corner. When approaching the lights started showing double red, meaning the bridge was out-of-use. Although a fellow boater told us that the bridge was supposed to be served uninterrupted and our documentation seemed to contain the same information, we had to wait until 1:00PM for the bridge-keeper to return. Well, we are not in a hurry and entered the Kromme Knilles (Bended Knilles, there’s more to it – too complicated for this blog) 1:00PM sharp.

A snapshot taken when cruising the Kromme Knilles, just to show what spring is doing to the nature at present. Everything is colouring green rapidly, the flowers are blooming, in short, it’s a real treat to witness it all and, dare we say?, to feel like being a part of it.

Already at 1:45PM -the engine ran for less than an hour on the Saturday, we moored at the corner of the Prinses Margrietkanaal (visible in the background) and the beginning of De Boarn, leading towards Jirnsum/Irnsum – at a distance of less than two kilometres/over a mile from the village. This is where we are now, Sunday the 22nd of April 2018. Next Sunday we hope to inform you about the coming week. We haven’t even an idea ourselves what we’ll do, or where exactly we’ll go. Bye for now.