Nijkerk - Grou(w)

As you’ll know Nijkerk was reached on Friday the 29th of March. We planned to leave on Sunday the 31st. To our astonishment the Randmeren-locks are not operated on Sunday, between the 1st of October (November?) and the 1st of April. We did not think about that at all, as it is a commercial route as well. Well, this meant that we were forced to turn around on Sunday the 31st, retake our position in the mouth of the Arkervaart and leave not earlier than Monday. Well, we eventually did and had a lunch-stop inside Harderwijk’s superb new harbour. See week 36 of last year. The night was spent at the Pierland island inside the Veluwemeer. For more see week 14 in 2018. We moored at exactly the same spot. A new discovery was the grave of Oalde Pier (Old Pier), apparently the one the island was named after.

Tuesday the 2nd we left already at 8:20AM (the dog!). Although we planned to make long days -they’ll come later on!- we could not resist having an overnight stop at lovely Elburg. See week 14 of last year afresh. Again we were able to moor at exactly the same spot. It’s a great town to meet friends (we did), buy diesel (we did) and do the necessary shopping (we did). The next morning we left for a really long cruise at 8:56AM. On the way we passed Kampen around 12:45PM. We just had to picture its lovely riverside as seen from the river IJssel.

  • Grafhorst

    A lunchbreak was made around 1:45PM on the Ganzendiep at Grafhorst...

  • Magpies

    ...where we spotted two magpies, deeply in love with one another.

A free mooring-space on the Vollenhovekanaal, very close to Blokzijl, was our destination for that day. We stopped the engine not earlier than 5:26PM. That was a long cruise actually! In the past we have publicized a picture of this spot, so this time we offer you a picture of the view before 8AM the next morning.

Meanwhile it’s Thursday the 4th of April. We started that morning at 9:00AM and headed for Blokzijl, with Ossenzijl the intended spot for an overnight stay. Just before entering Blokzijl’s harbour we spotted a rare white heron on the canal-bank. The lock-keeper at Blokzijl filled his lock, let us in and asked us for our destinanation. When we told him about Ossenzijl he informed us about a blockage over there for ships over 12 meters (40 feet) because of construction works(?). The only way to enter Friesland from where we were was in a proper Dutch word, ‘buitenom’, meaning via the former Zuiderzee, since 1932 named IJsselmeer (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afsluitdijk). The friendly lock-keeper emptied his lock and we left in reverse, almost with the tail between the legs.

  • Op de zeebodem

    Our (2 hours) detour led us into the Noordoostpolder (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noordoostpolder) after descending some 5 meters(!)...

  • Typical polder-view

    ...(16,5 feet(!)). On the way we spotted a holiday-home appropriately named ‘Op de Zeebodem’, (At the Bottom of the Sea), we enjoyed...

  • A Mig in the polder

    ...the typical utterly flat landscape and noticed, all of a sudden, what we think was a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 jet from the cold-war-era.

At 3:45PM we ascended the Urkersluis (sluis = lock) some 6,5 meters(!) (21,5 feet(!)). Yes, 1,5 meters (5 feet) more than the entering-lock, as the west of the Noordoostpolder is lower than its eastern part, tackled by a lock in the centre. Think of a sloping sea-bottom and you’ve got the picture. We eventually ended up in Urk’s harbour, Urk being a former island, since draining this vast part of the IJsselmeer a part of the Noordoostpolder. Later on we changed position inside the harbour, as at the shown spot the incoming waves bounced back severely. For a moment we feared all our liquour would fall down out of the (open) liquour-cupboard. Fortunately we could prevent this from happening. A liquour collection demands a huge investment, you know.

Urk (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urk) still is a very important fishing-centre. Not for amateur-anglers that is, no, for professional fishermen. Besides, as proven by this picture, shipyards are still in full swing. Because of our tight schedule we unfortunately were unable to visit the interesting Urker fish-auction.

On Friday the 5th of April we left Urk a 9:00AM and entered the IJsselmeer for the first time in our lives. This is what (a part of the old) Urk looks like as seen from the water.

Around 11AM on our way on the IJsselmeer. There is a load of huge energy inducing windmills.

Thanks to our good friends (co-winterers) Nico & Tineke Iseger’s advice we bought an Android tablet and the waterways-program ‘Navionics’. The built-in GPS informs us about our position and the direction to follow. Our fear to get lost on a (former) sea is now a thing of the past.

It’s lovely to cruise on ‘wide water’, especially when one’s lucky with the weather.

Just another picture of what we experienced that day. It was really magic!

The first port of Friesland at the end of our chosen route is Lemmer. A lovely place, we can assure you. We only had time, on this occasion, for a lunch-stop, aka dog-walking stop. Lemmer looked very attractive. We’ll be back.

Our interest in, and love for, the beautiful Frisian horse will never wither.

That day we ended up at 4:22PM next to an island inside the Prinses Margrietkanaal, close to a village with the interesting Frisian name of Easterwimerts. The island proved to be ideal for the dog; less so for us because of the suction caused by passing (huge) commercial ships (despite of us being behind the island) – sometimes over a 100 meters (333 feet) or loaded with around 100 containers.

  • Loneliness

    We left the island the next morning, on Saturday, at 9:40AM. Next to our overnight-stop-spot there’s another mini-island even with a house built on it. That must be owned...

  • Togetherness

    ...by someone who loves to be on his/her own (and own a boat of some sort). Not much later we spotted this walking company (walking part if you like) on the canal bank.

  • Let’s cross over

    Our destination for that day was (somewhere in the neighbourhood of) Grouw – Grou in Frisian. We decided to aim for the adjacent Pikmeer (Pikmar) and were able to find an acceptable mooring-place. After letting the dog run in an adjoining meadow we spotted an even better space, as seen...

  • For the weekend

    ...on the first picture. It’s another island (so no dog gone missing, swimming at most…) and there’s no narrow pontoon, and there are rubbish containers, and… Anyway we did the tiny crossing and this is where we have been/are for the rest of the Saturday and the Sunday.

Still Grou – Pikmar. This was our view of the sunrise at 7:20 this morning, heralding a beautiful day. We gladly acknowledge: it is!!

This week’s statistics.

Engine ran during 26 hours and 54 minutes (26,9 hours) – first day (Sunday) 0,3 hours (lock closed), second day 3,9, third day 1,8, fourth day 7,3, fifth day 5,3, sixth day 5,9, seventh day 2,4 hours. Yes, we are going forward rather fast now!

Generator this week 3 hours.

Weather: Monday: sunny. Tuesday: sunny, but cold. Wednesday: clouded. Thursday: clouded. Friday: part sunny, part clouded. Saturday: clouded, cold wind. Today (Sunday): mostly sunny, favourable wind for the sailing-enthusiasts.

Hope to see you next week again!