Wednesday, 3rd August – Reflections On Last Week
Well, apart from the fact that the weather was not that great, the week’s holiday was a good break. However, we are both glad that we have a week’s holiday in Greece to look forward to in six weeks time. Fingers crossed that won’t be grey!
Looking back at some of the ongoing problems, the Ultrasonic Antifouling device is not impressing. The log wheel had been left in place since the last trip (only a couple of weeks – well, maybe three) and was seized up again. Once cleaned, it was okay. Kim has tried e-mailing the company many times, but they just refuse to reply to any e-mails.
The other ongoing problem is the house battery. We just about managed to keep it going. This was achieved by going to bed when it got dark and not using any lights. Even so, we still had at least two nights when the “low battery” warning light came on and we had to fire up the engine whilst moored up, to recharge the battery. Clearly a new house battery is at the top of the shopping list.
We are over to the boat in a couple of week’s time with Kim’s grandson Zachy for a flying weekend – out Saturday morning, back Sunday afternoon. We then have a four day break over the August Bank Holiday. We are tentatively looking at a trip to Tholen and Bergen Op Zoom. No doubt the weather will bring into play its own agenda!
Friday, 19th August – This Weekend
Tomorrow we are off to the boat for a “flying visit” with our grandson Zach. Don’t want to speak too soon, but the forecast is looking pretty good.
Break out the Jolly Roger!
Sunday, 21st August – A Weekend with Zach
Maggie and James came down on Friday evening and dropped Zach off ready for our 7.00am departure Saturday morning. We caught the 8.00am ferry which was not our preferred option but we had been unable to book the Shuttle. After last year, we had learned an important lesson, so made sure we stopped en route to top up Zach's sugar level!
We got to Delta Marina about 2.00pm and having prepared the boat, including hoisting the Jolly Roger, were ready to depart an hour later. The objective for our mission was to find a desert island for the night. It was one of the more pleasant weekends, although not exactly wall to wall sunshine. Nevertheless the water was packed and so it seemed were all the islands. Zandkreek & Bastiaan were hardly a surprise and we nearly got a spot on the Goudplaat, but were just pipped at the post by another saily boat. Never mind, we thought, there is always room on the Haringvreter unattached jetty. But no! The little harbour was unsurprisingly packed out and so we turned towards Veere. It was by now getting on for 5 o'clock - 6 o'clock Dutch time and we figured the day trippers would be departing the visitor jetty. But no, again, it was packed. We now turned back down towards the Bad Hotel, thinking we would probably end up back at Delta.
Fortunately, as we passed the long jetty on the Western side of the Haringvreter there was plenty of space, which was just as well, since as we turned towards the jetty so did a mobo coming from the opposite direction. He went one side of the jetty and we went the other side. The sense of relief when you know you are securely tied up for the night is very welcome.
Whilst Wendy got the dinner on Kim and Zach went off to explore the island, but they didn't find any treasure.
After dinner Kim and Zach went off armed with bucket and net to see if they could catch some crabs. They only caught the one, but he was a monster with a barnacle on him!
After taking him back to the boat to show Wendy, poor old Kim had to walk all the way back to the shore to release him back into the same bit of water that he had been taken from.
As usual, Zach was very good when it came to bed time and settled down straight away, leaving Kim and Wendy to sit in the cockpit and enjoy a fabulous Veerse Meer sunset.
The winds had been very light and so the whole trip had been done under engine only.
We woke the next morning to a rather grey and somewhat windier day. After breakfast, whilst Wendy did the washing up Kim and Zach went to explore the bit of the island they had missed the day before. This time they found some treasure! Whilst walking along one of the woodland paths they came upon a group of deer off to the side in the woods. The deer were very timid and soon ran off.
The trip back to Delta was a bit more exciting as we were able to sail from the Bad Hotel under genoa only most of the way back. We were back in Delta and tied up by 12 noon. The journey back to Dunkerque passed without event and the ferry trip was notable only for being absolutely packed. Well it is peak season. Kim and Zach had a meal in the cafeteria and then we rather foolishly vacated our table for other diners to sit at only to find we then couldn't find any where to sit down. After wandering about for 20 mins or so we were lucky to be stood by a table when the man who was hogging 3 seats got up and left - a bit of a Haringvreter moment!
As a weekend entertaining Zach it was a roaring success again! He is such an easy-going chap and a delight to have with us. The weather was actually not that bad - it was quite warm and Kim even got a swim on Saturday at the Haringvreter.
We had a bit of sunshine - we even had to put sun cream on Zach & Kim! Wendy did all the manoeuvring of the boat - out of our berth at Delta, alongside at the Haringvreter, leaving the Haringvreter and back into our berth. All of which was good for Wendy, since she had not really handled the boat since the Easter debacle.
Wednesday, 24th August – The Bank Holiday
The Bank Holiday approaches and what does the weather hold?
The season is rapidly coming to an end and this coming Bank Holiday Weekend could well be our last decent trip over to the boat. We have got the Tuesday off work so have a four-day weekend and are hoping to go to Tholen down in the far eastern end of the Oosterschelde. Since we are having a week’s holiday in Greece in September (no it’s not a sailing holiday!), our next trip after this weekend is not likely to be until October and then we really are looking at the end of the season.
Back to the weather, well the forecast is pretty mixed – some rain, some sunshine, disappointing temperatures and moderate winds with maybe the odd gale (if you believe Weatheronline!).
Friday, 26th August - Bank Holiday Weather
Catching the 8.00am ferry in the morning and the weather doesn't look too bad.
Not very warm though!
Tuesday 30th August - Not Quite According To Plan
We caught the 8.00 am ferry out of Dover on Saturday and hit some pretty foul weather through Belgium (torrential rain, very poor visibility), eventually arriving at the boat at around 1.30pm. Fortunately it stayed dry long enough for us to unload all our stuff, but was very blustery and eventually a few sharp showers hit us in Kortgene as well. We ummed and aahed but eventually decided to stick to the plan and head off early the next morning (by 8 am!), in order to catch the best of the fair tide to Tholen.
Contrary to the forecast (there's a surprise!), the next day was not a lot better. Kim was all for staying put in the marina, but Wendy managed to persuade him to give it a try as the forecast was for the weather to improve. We headed off down towards the Zandkreeksluis in 20 knot winds and threatening skies. Wendy was still up for it but Kim was not so happy, so we turned round and headed back up the Veerse Meer. There were some short but very heavy showers, accompanied all the time by some very strong winds. We put the sails up off the Bad Hotel but shortly afterwards spotted a rare space on Arneplaat which was relatively sheltered, so decided to go for it. Tempers were getting a little frayed by this point and it seemed better to get hunkered down while we had the chance. Just as Wendy was bringing the boat in, the heavens opened once again, she could hardly see where she was going and Kim was concerned about stepping off on to the potentially slippery jetty in the rain.
The up side to the unpredictable weather was that we were treated to some wonderful cloud formations. The clouds in Holland are always spectacular, mainly because it is so flat and you can see all round, but this weekend was something else!
After lunch we went for a walk around the island, which has a bit of everything - trees, a lagoon, reeds and flower meadows.
The clouds continued to be a source of fascination right up until the sunset took over with some equally amazing views.
Monday morning started with some lovely sunshine and seemingly a bit less breeze, though still rather chilly for the time of year. We had a leisurely start and eventually set off for Veere via Kamperland at about 11.00 am. Once out of the lee of the land, however, we found that the wind had far from died away and even with 2 reefs in the main and the genoa well reefed, Kim had to take the helm as Wendy was physically unable to hold the wheel. The boat was heeled right over on her ear and stuff was flying everywhere down below. Winds of 25 knots plus. Exciting stuff!
We had initially thought that the fuel/pump out jetty in Kamperland would be relatively sheltered but we were wrong. Wendy brought the boat in but at the last minute was unable to bring the boat round through the wind to go alongside. Kim then had a go and eventually managed, after a lot of rope pulling and heaving, to get us safely alongside.
As we headed through the channel between Kamperland and Veere, we could see that the visitor jetty was packed. With the "gung ho" boot now on the other foot, Kim was all for going into the Kaai at Veere, whereas Wendy (who has an illogical "thing" about Veere), did not think it was a good idea. The wind was blowing straight down the Kaai, which is favourable, but the entrance to the Kaai is very narrow and windswept and you cannot see how busy it is inside.
Once inside, you have to turn round and moor up with your bow pointing outwards, irrespective of the wind direction. Wendy couldn't believe that there would be any room inside, given how busy the visitor jetty was, but she couldn't have been more wrong! Kim had the best part of 100 metres of totally empty jetty.
Once tied up we had an hour of the wonderful Veere microclimate before the clouds built up once again. Whilst Wendy went off for a return visit to the local museum, Kim solved a long-standing enigma and managed to pump up the fenders. We then went for the obligatory Veere walk, still in awe of this beautiful little place, even though we have been here many times now. It really does have it all in a wonderfully compact space. We then rounded off the day by visit to Veere's other little gem - the Yacht Club - for an excellent dinner (diet suspended for a day!).
Tuesday morning was as grey as the previous days, but with noticeably less wind, even within the sheltered confines of the Kaai. We got away just after 9 o'clock and headed down towards the Bad Hotel under genoa only. Once past the Bad Hotel we got the main up and had a pleasant, if tame, broad reach back to Kortgene.
As we won't be sailing again before October (every weekend in September is already taken up!) we decided to bring some of the bedding and other things home as they will not be needed this season. It is still only August (just) and for us the season is almost over, we hope to get a couple of trips in during October and then clear the boat at the end of October.
For the second weekend running the ferry crossing with DFDS was awful. Again we struggled to find anywhere to sit down as the ferry was packed out, a bit of a surprise to us - we thought the Tuesday after the Bank Holiday would be okay, but obviously not. The first part of the journey was spent - along with many others - on the floor! Not something we expect to have to do at our age! Kim has said he will not be block booking crossings for next year. We have already lost one when we didn't go because Kim was unwell and we still have four left for this season. With, at best, only two more trips, we will be trying to book the Shuttle.
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