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13th August 2008 - All Change

The original plan was for Wendy, Kim & Stewart to have a long weekend, going out Friday morning and returning on Monday, stopping off at Goes on the way back to pick up Jimbo who was going to attend a Reggae concert at Eindhoven following his trip to a Heavy Metal concert in Germany.

However, due to various hiccups in Jimbo's plans, he decided after a few days in Amsterdam, that he would skip the Reggae concert, so we picked him up in Goes on the Friday and he came on up to Emjaytoo for his first visit.

We spent Friday afternoon in the marina, after getting provisions at the super market in Goes, which was in line with our original plan to go to Zierikzee on the Saturday.

However, on the Saturday morning, as we departed the marina, Kim thought the engine sounded "odd" and then Wendy noticed there was no water coming out of the exhaust/cooling water outlet. The engine was switched off immediately, before it had a chance to overheat and Kim discovered that, when he had done the engine checks, he had not put the inner cover back on the raw water filter and thus the system would not pump any water for cooling.

The problem was quickly overcome, although, as it was pretty windy, 12-14 knots, we did end up being blown onto another boat and had to be helped to fend off by the owner. Although the engine was restarted without any adverse effects, Kim was concerned that the impeller (used to pump the water round) may have been damaged by running dry. As we headed down towards the Zandkreek Sluis the wind steadily increased, pushing 20 knots. Given that it was Jimbo's first trip out and Kim's apprehension regarding the engine, we decided a trip through the Zeeland Brug and up to Zierikzee was not such a good idea. So we turned round and headed up towards Veere (and back into the comfort zone).

The weather was generally overcast and blustery and, as is often the case when heading up to Veere, mostly well forward of the beam, so plenty of motoring.

As you can see James has his own approach to sailing.

Although, we did manage to get him up into the cockpit for some proper sailing.

When we got to Goudplaat, we found that there was plenty of space, so even though it was quite early in the afternoon, we decided to stay till Sunday morning.

Kim & the boys went off exploring the shoreline leaving Wendy to enjoy half an hour of peace & quiet.

Not quite sure exactly what Jimbo has been exploring here!

The planned bar-b-que was replaced with a meal cooked in the oven and eaten down below due to the bad weather. We were then "entertained" if that is the right word, by a Belgian yacht who went aground on the other side of the channel from where we were moored.

They didn't seem to have much idea of what to do and sat there for a long time with all their sails up, seemingly "sailing" their boat deeper into the mud. Eventually they got the sails down and managed to attract the attention of a passing mobo, who then tried to tow them off the mud without any success. Bear in mind that the Veerse Meer is non-tidal, so there is no tide to float you off. They then started to make some very shabby attempts at a "PAN-PAN" call (or as they called it "BANG BANG") to which they got no response - which was a bit disconcerting, since there is an inshore Life Boat based at Veere, less than a mile away. It was actually unusual for us to have our VHF switched on and thus able to listen to what was going on, especially as we were moored up. In the end we phoned the Harbour Master on our mobile 'phone to advise him of the situation. Then the Veere Life Boat came on the radio. By this time the Belgians were having a second attempt at being towed off, and weren't listening to their radio. We then ended up giving the Life Boat details of the type and name of the vessel, the location and the nature of their problem.

Thereafter the Life Boat appeared on the scene very quickly, as the latest set of ameteur rescuers gave up and departed. They then attached a line to the top of the yacht's mast (via the main halyard) and heeled it right over and dragged it off the mud.

The next morning we decided that rather than have a leisurely return to the marina and head back to Dunkerque on the Monday as originally planned, we would get straight off home on the Sunday. Which is what we did. We had a cracking sail back to the marina - all the way under genoa only, doing up to 6 knots most of the way - the wind was still blowing upto 20 knots!

So, although our weekend ended up somewhat differently to what had originally been planned, we still managed to pick James up, he got to spend a couple of days on the boat, we spent Saturday night at Goudplaat and had a great sail on Sunday.

So all in all, a pretty good weekend.

As a post script, it is now Wednesday evening and the weather continues to be atrocious. We are heading back to Holland on the 23rd August for a weeks cruise up to the Grevelingenmeer. That is only 10 days away, so hopefully this weather system will blow over and we will get some decent weather. Otherwise, we will be off to Greece in September to try and get some sun!

24th August 2008 - Breezing To Bruinisse

Set off on Saturday morning with Julie & Trev for a week's cruise to the Grevelingenmeer. After stopping off in Goes to get provisions, we arrived at the boat Saturday afternoon and spent the rest of the day chilling out. Kim was able to pick up the small outboard for the tender which we had got the the marina to service. The annual Protest Wakeboard contest was in full swing, so our evening was also accompanied by music and singing.

Wendy plotted us a course from the marina to Bruinisse, although was slightly surpised when double checking on the chart plotter to find that the course to steer took us via Llanelli - a quick check of the waypoints entered, indicated that she had put in the degrees west instead of east. Needless to say, much laughter ensued!

We made an early-ish start and set off on the approx. 18 mile trip to Bruinisse. The winds proved stronger than expected and had us on a very broad reach/run making much faster progress than expected.

We stopped at the lock waiting pontoon for an hour or so whilst we had lunch and the entered the lock. It was pretty quiet - only a few boats. We went port side to as usual and got a bow line on. Then it all went wrong! We failed to secure the stern line in time and the stern blew off. The next thing is we are broadside across the lock. We could not get back along side without the boat ending up facing the wrong way. So rather than reverse out we waited for the lock to go in the opposite direction and returned to the Oosterschelde side, span round and re-entered the lock - much to some people's surprise. This time it all went to plan and we finally tied up in the larger Bruinisse marina at about 5.00pm.

After a "Mythos", we walked into the town to find a restaurant. On the way, Julie stopped off to check her mussels!

We went in the De Vrienden Van Bru restaurant as recommended in one of the pilot books and had a superb meal.

25th August 2008 - Blustering To Brouwershaven

Monday morning and the wind had not abated. However we got off our mooring (rafted to a German mobo with very nice people) and sailed on a close reach with two reefs in the main and some genoa furled up, almost all the way to Brouwershaven. Brouwershaven in English would be Brewer's Harbour - quite appropriate!

We were regularly getting 6 - 7 knots most of the way, off 18 - 20 knots of wind, and all on one tack.

The final run in was on engine and it was a pretty narrow channel with the wind still blowing strongly. We stopped at the Harbour Master's office, which is the control tower for the storm sluice gate and got allocated our berth right in the old harbour, rather than in the new marina, which was brilliant. Well it was, until we got into the old bit! Wendy was faced with a very tight u-turn to set the boat up to moor starboard side to in a very tight space up between two other boats, against the quay. She did a brilliant job of putting the boat straight in, first time, although, as she said afterwards, she would not have wanted to have had to have a second attempt!

The afternoon was spent wandering around the little harbour side town, initially in brilliant sunshine, but later in increasing cloud.

All the time the wind was still blowing quite strongly. Julie was in her element, because Brouwershaven was having market day!

Off to the Yacht Club for a beer and then back to the boat for lasagne & salad.

26th August 2008 - More Antarctic Than August

The day started cloudy but quite warm. The wind seemed a bit less and we set off initially for the visitor centre at De Punt. Once out into the Grevelingenmeer, the wind was howling and the buoyage quite hard to follow. The visitor centre looked deserted and the pontoon very exposed, so we decided to head towards Ouddorp.

By now it was blowing hard, very grey and quite cold, so we broke the golden rule and had a cup of tea/coffeee up top.

Having dropped the Ouddorp idea, we tightened up and headed towards Archipel. It was now ceasing to be fun. On a sunny day, the beat might have been described as a "cracking sail", but it was now just hard work. Eventually we decided to give Stampersplaat a go, as both Kim and Wendy were keen to get in somewhere.

The approach was tight and the turn to raft up wasn't quite as quick as it should have been, resulting in a rapid change of plan as to which boat we were rafting up to, but all ended well. We had a pleasant walk, saw the ponies and generally did the "touristy" thing - within the confines of a small, uninhabited island in the middle of nowhere -

before settling down to a pleasant late afternoon/evening in a lovely location, spoilt only by the manky weather!

27th August 2008 - Stampersplaat To Herkingen

The day started well with a pleasant chat to the Dutch man on the boat next to us. It was a bit less windy but still a bit tricky to leave because of the wind and other boats, not helped by the choice of full astern instead of full ahead (by Kim for once, instead of Wendy!). Evetnually we made our way back down the Grevelingenmeer in good spirits. Winds were about 13 knots so good sailing, mostly on a broad reach, though the weather remained gloomy.

The approach to Herkingen is down a mile long channel and is certainly narrow (40 metres) but is well marked and clearly visible - even in the August gloom!

We chose to go into Herkingen WSV marina. The town itself turned out to be nothing special, but was interesting inasmuch as all the roads from the old port lead downhill. No wonder this was one of the worst hit places in the 1953 flood!

The evening saw Julie produce a wonderful chicken stir fry. We then all had an early night as we needed to make a fairly early start the next day in order to get back to our unscheduled stop at Bastiaan de Langeplaat.

28th August 2008 - More Adventures In The Lock!

More thick, grey cloud. We spent most of the day under engine, but managed to use the sails down the Oosterschelde on a good broad reach.

After our experiences on the way into the Grevelingenmeer, when we landed up broadside and then facing backwards, we thought we had had our share of lock adventures for one holiday, but the Zandkreeksluis proved equally entertaining! As it was high water springs, the level in the lock was very high (we could see grass and flowers along the edge of the road!).

This made it very hard to latch on, as even the top row of rings was a foot or more down. Trev managed to get the ring with the boat hook, then the end broke off! Later as Kim was using the same boat hook to push us off, it fell into the water!

As we motored up the Veerse Meer into the wind, it was quite cold but there were a few momentary glimpses of sun to remind us that this was our summer holiday!

Kim was uncharacteristically gung-ho about giving going into Bastiaan de Langeplaat a go, Wendy a bit less so, but after some tentative poodling around we eventually chose the outside of the pontoon near the picnic table, in 1.8 m of water. We later found that the people inside had 2 m so we will be more daring next time.

We had a brilliant barbecue cooked on the Cobb on the picnic table - the first one this holiday.

Kim even managed some sort-of-sunset shots:

All in all, we agreed that it was the best evening of the holiday so far and that the Veerse Meer knocks the Grevelingenmeer into a cocked hat!

29th August 2008 - Visiting Veere Again

We awoke to bright sunshine, followed by heavy mist, then a gradual re-appearance of the sun throughout the day. We had a leisurely start, feeding the black swans and watching the other boats leave.

We then motored up to Veere and had a wander round before heading back to our marina. There was not much wind but we managed to sail most of the way, even "racing" a Malo for several miles.

In the evening we had a meal in 'T Kompass. The spare ribs were excellent, though the service was a bit poor, and we had the usual good laugh and enjoyable last evening.

30th August 2008 - The Big Clean

Predictably Saturday dawned bright and sunny and we set to on a major boat clean. Whilst Kim and Trev did a sterling job up top, Julie and Wendy got cracking down below. The boat was soon looking spick and span again, ready for our next visit in a couple of weeks - amazingly one of the last of the season. Where did the summer go?

As time was a bit tight, we took some rolls with us and stopped for a makeshift picnic in Sas Van Gent. It was scorchingly hot. Having driven through the town so many times, Kim had been keen to stop there for a look, but it turned out to be rather more attractive from the car than in real life!

The ferry home was very busy but on time and for once it was warm enough to sit up on deck and check the ferry's route on the GPS chartplotter. It kept us amused for half the journey anyway!

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