So, we're home and I've been lazy enough. Time for this post. It's been so long now so I probably won't remember the details... Also, I seem to have lost all the pictures from enkhuizen and onwards so this will be a text only post. Will try to keep it brief so you don't get bored with me :)
We sailed from Enkhuizen to Amsterdam. We left Ijsselmeer and went through the locks just outside Enkhuizen to enter Markermeer. It was quite windy, around 26 knots. Since the depth of the lake, is no ore than 3 meters (10ft) the seas become quite choppy with a high frequency. It was a long day and we arrived in Amsterdam at night, just before dark. Strangely enough Amsterdam has quite few marinas, at least if you want to stay near the centre. We choose Sixhaven, a marina on the opposite side of the city center. Prices seemed quite high at first, compared to the rest of Holland, but for €25 everything was included, water, electricity, internet, showers and even soap for your laundry.
Since we were separated from the city center by the channel, we had to go by ferry to get there. This was not a problem though. The ferries were only five minutes from the marina, they departed every five minutes and were free. Five minutes after the ferry departed you stepped of at the Amserdam Central station. Seven minutes walk from there and you are right smack in the middle of Amsterdam. I've been to Amsterdam quite a few times before with the old job and I have to say that of all the cities I've visited, Amsterdam is my favourite. It's a very international city, you hear more english than dutch in the streets and it's got this special atmosphere that is hard to describe. It's also very liberal with the Red Light District, which is actually a beautiful part of the city to just walk through, and all the little coffee shops. The smell of weed is like a lid over the entire city. There's also a very long shopping street which is "great" if someone in the crew likes to go shopping (not naming names but pointing fingers). Someone bought, among other things, a very nice leather jacket.
We stayed in Amsterdam for almost a week. When we finally left it was quite windy again. If we had known just how windy, we would have waited. It didn't seem to bad at first and we were quite sheltered as we went up the Nordhollandkanaal towards Alkmaar. About half way to Alkmaar we had to pass a small lake and the landscape was almost completely flat and open. The first part of the lake we motored against the wind doing around 2 knots with full power. As we turned starboard we had the wind from port and the landscape opened up even more. We heeled over 10-15 degrees under the rig only, no sails up. I estimate that the gusts hit 50 knots and the air was full of water!
It felt good to finally creep back into a shelterd channel and the final part up to Alkmaar was pretty calm. Alkmaar is a very nice and coasy little town but still has enough shops for you to buy pretty much anything you might need. They also have a cheese market where you can buy local cheese, some up to 400 years old! I bet they'll hav a very special odor!
From Alkmaar we went on to Den Helder. Not much to say about that, the place was a dump, a real disappointment. We're usually not easily scared but it was frightening walking around in Den Helder after dark.
In Den Helder we invented a new way of going through a lock. We decided to go on the "outside" from Den Helder and thus had to go through the lock. There was aboat in front of us as we entered the lock and instead of just tying up just inside the gates we continued to moor just behind the onther boat, which was stupid as there was no need to be so tight. Anyway, the other boat went for the åprt side of the lock, but ran into problems and had to go for our side. We had to move and as the lock master started filling water we only had one line tied up. The water got hold of the boat and we ended up sideways in the lock. It was OK though, Ingeborg is 15 meters LOA and the lock must have been at least 15.01 metres wide. No harm done!
From here we went on to Vlieland, which is one of the West Frisian islands. A very nice island bur expensive. As bad weather was approaching we descided to go back into the channels and thus once again sailed to Lawersoog. We arrived at night and rushed in with the tide doing 9 knots over ground.
We went through the lock the next morning and Lotta made pancakes. As I was eating pancakes and generally enjoying myself at the helm I suddenly noticed that we were slowing down. We had hit a mudbank IN the fairway and had to be pulled out by the duych rescue society. For free though. Excellent service! We continued to Groningen where we met a very nice dutch couple who we spent the night with. We stayed in Groningen for two days as it was a very nice place, full of students. We aslo had to find a new filter holder for one of the fuel filters and hve the mizzen repaired, we shred it on our way to Vlieland.
From Groningen we went on to Delfzijl where we stayed over night by the locks, waiting for morning. We had one incident on the way. I was switching fue tanks and got the valves confused. In other words, I closed the tnk we were using before I opened the other one and the engine, ofcaurse died... I rushed upstairs and we got fenders and lines out. Fortunately the shore of the channel wasn't rocky but clad in wood and quite low. Lotta steered closer and I jumped ashore just to find out that there was nothing to tie our lines to, only small rocks. As I stood there holding the line a riverbarge passed by and sucked Ingeborg out. I was flat on my back on the rocky shore trying to hold her back. As I too was about to get sucked into the channel, the stream changed direction and Ingeborg came back. We scarfed the lines and managed to tie them up to a couple of trees on the other side of a bike track. 30 minutes of work, bleeding the engine and we were on our way again.
From Delfijl we motored down the river Ems, with Holland on our port side and Germany on our starboard side to Borkum, a german island. The marina, Port Henry was a dump with pontoons full of holes, no light at night and although the chart said it was supposed to be 1.9 metres deep, it was only 0.5 metres at low tide. We lay safely in the mud though. The marina is about 7 kilometres from the town on the island but there are buses. The town is really nice and that was lucky since we gad to spend four days on Borkum with an easterly gale howling through the rig. We used to go into town and we sat at a hotel by the beachwalk and watch the waves getting thrown 15 metres into the air as they hit the reef outside of the island. We'd had occasional problems with the engine during the previous week. Sometimes we couldn't get more than 1500 RPM. As we were about to leave Borkum, the engine wouldn't start at all. It tured out that the stop lever on the engine had got stuck. Nothing serious, I jsut poked it back with a screwdriver. It turned out though that the lever can get stuck BETWEEN open and closed and this was the cause of our problems with not reaching full power.
We left Borkum and sailed the 100 miles to Cuxhaven. Two incidents. Just before dawn we had an override of the sheet on one of the winches. Since we had the genua sheeted hard we couldn't release preassure from the sail by going into the wind and we had to cut the sheet. I was tired and just cut the sheet by the winch which was kind of dumb. I should of course have cut it close to the sail... The othe incident was with the engine. Just before dawn we had started the engine to motor up the Elbe. Suddenly the engine died and we found ourself drifting between ships going in and out. 15 minutes later the engine was bled and ran again. I never knew why it stopped but it would take several days before I trusted it again. I hate motoring!
From Cuxhacen we went into the Kiel canal again and stayed over night in Brunnsbüttel. From there we went to Rendsburg where Lotta´s mother with boyfriend came aboard. The next day we went on to Kiel where we spent a nice night out. The next day we sailed on and shred our mizzen again. It's just so old and thin like toilet paper. Luckily it was shred below the first reef and we could still use it reefed. It was quite windy and choppy. We sailed to Heiligenhafen, where we stayed for three days due to bad weather. It was nice hving company, almost like vacation.
From Heilgenhafen we had a great sail up to Hesnaes in Denmark. We were on a broad reach under full sails and for a couple of hours we averaged 7.5 knots! From Hesnaes we had a nice sail under a grey sky to Skanör in Sweden where my parents came with dinner. The next day we sailed the last 18 miles back to Malmö, home and work.
Its been two great months, I mean really good! The boat has been shaken down and we've got a few things to fix, but generally she works really good. We also found out that we get along really well confined to 12x3.6 metres for two months. We never once got homesick, missed the TV or missed work. In fact, it actually felt a bit sad coming home again and we immediately wanted to get back out there again. Plans are forming though but more about that in the next post...
/Hampus, back in the so called real world.