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2nd July 2008 - Another Great Weekend

We got an early shuttle over on Saturday morning and Wendy, Maggie and Zach walked/waddled/trotted respectively to the village for some essential supplies while Kim and James got ready. Zach was then kitted out in his life jacket, which he took to immediately without objection and we got ready to set off. The wind was much stronger than forecast (a good F6 out on the lake), so we motored all the way , losing count of how many times Zach looked around him, with a big grin on his face, and said, "We're on a boat"!

There was also quite a swell on the water and we even got a bit wet as some waves broke over the bow, but nevertheless we made it to Veere in record time (1 3/4 hours), choosing to moor up to the visitor pontoon, which was surprisingly empty. As the pontoon was on the windward shore, Wendy brought the boat in faster than usual and at a steeper angle, only to have to change approach completely in the last few boat lengths as we came into the lee of the land and totally different conditions. It was scorchingly hot in Veere and we were grateful for the breeze by then.

A walk around the town proved that even after so many visits, this beautiful little place still holds some surprises. Zach was very taken with the fortified Napoleonic tunnel and we never did make it to the cannon.

Dinner was, predictably, a bit late, especially for our little pirate who almost fell asleep in his sausages, but it had been an excellent day with everyone enjoying themselves. Interestingly, as the day went on, the boat changed from being Grandad's boat, to our boat to Zach's boat!

Sunday was a bit cloudier but with much less wind, so we were able to sail back some of the way with just the genoa, though we did put the engine on a few times to speed things up. Our arrival in the berth was marred by Wendy over-compensating for the wind and hitting the bow on the pontoon. A classic case of needing to trust instincts rather than do everything by rote, but no damage was done and still more lessons were learned.

The trip back to Calais was uneventful but rather spoilt by a long wait at the tunnel. Predictably Zach was an angel and just took it all in his stride, though by the time he got his takeaway pizza back here in England he was too tired to eat it!

All in all a lovely weekend with Maggie, James and Zach and we look forward to doing it all again next year!

4th July 2008 - Oil Leaks?

Last Sunday, after we had got back to the marina, Kim had a good look around the engine compartment and discovered that there was a bit of oil under the sump. After cleaning it up with kitchen towel, we then discovered the presence of some red liquid in addition to the grey oil. Quite where the red liquid had come from was not clear, it was only evident on the kitchen towel and on Kim's hand - then of course, on Kim's T-shirt, on the bed linen etc, etc !!

A phone call to Volspec - a UK Volvo dealer, suggested the red liquid might be transmission fluid, but in any case, on a year old engine with only 110 hours on it, there should not be any leaks at all.

A 'phone call to the marina technical department and a conversation with Peter has resulted in arranging for them to have a look at the engine next week. We are next over to the boat the following weekend, so hopefully it will not prove to be anything major.

7th July 2008 - Electrical Panel Upgrade

Many months ago. we got a letter, first from Clipper Marine, then from Lombard Marine and finally from our insurers, all alerting us to a recall on part of the electrical panel. Despite several calls to Clipper, nothing much happened, no doubt due to the boat not being in the UK. Finally Clipper have agreed to post the panel to us so that Kim might take it over to Holland and fix it himself.

A 'phone call today, confirmed that it is being posted out tonight, so we should have it for this weekend.

Kim will be going over with Stewart & Tom for a boy's weekend and hopefully to do the following jobs:-

  • Adjust all the doors so they open & shut properly
  • Change the electrical panel
  • Connect up the new 240 volt socket in the saloon
  • Connect up the new 12 volt socket in the saloon
  • Run the secondary wiring for the Garmin chart plotter to the binacle

The ferry is booked for Friday night out and Monday night back, so hopefully all the work will get done and we'll get a sail.

15th July 2008 - Black Swans & Haringvreter

Due to work pressures, Kim had to put back the Friday night departure to Saturday morning. Once we arrived at the marina, we found they had their annual Havendag Festival on, so Saturday afternoon, after getting provisions from the local shops, Kim set about the jobs on the list whilst Stewart & Tom amused themselves around the village before returning to the boat to chill.

Kim got all the jobs on the list completed except for the wiring to the binnacle for the Garmin - which was always likely to be a job too many. So all in all, a successful afternoon.

We sat up late watching a DVD of the Godfather whilst listening to the live music from the festival outside the pub.

Sunday we set off for Veere, but as is often the case with a westerly wind, we chose to motor most of the way. The plan had been to stay on the outer visitor jetty, but it was packed out with dinghys, so we had a few futile attempts at anchoring, before heading off to find an island jetty. More about anchoring (or not as is the case) on another occaision.

We were fortunate to find space (and sufficient water depth) on the island of Haringvreter. Another one to add to the list of jetties we can use.

This is a large island with cattle and even deer on it. The boys had great fun exploring by foot and by tender.

We had a very sucessful Cobb "Bar-B-Que" on Sunday night and a relatively early night. All too soon it was Monday morning and time to head back to the marina. The wind was blowing off the jetty, so whilst we fired the engine up, we actually left the jetty entirely under sail - genoa only. Sailing back in the opposite direction from Sunday we were able to do a bit of sailing, but as is often the case, the clock was against us, so we finished off charging back under power at 6.5 knots!

Got packed away, after cleaning up ready for the next contingent of guests and caught the 6.00pm ferry from Dunkerque.

The Black Swans?

Here they are. They came to visit on Monday morning before we left Haringvreter.

28th July 2008 - More Hawaii Than Holland

In spite of all Kim's travelling and ridiculously early starts for work recently, he managed to get home a bit earlier which made our departure more leisurely than of late. Mandy and Pete were joining us for their first trip to Emjaytoo and although all exhausted, the adrenaline and excitement kept us all up and chatting till gone midnight.

Saturday morning dawned a bit cloudy but very warm. By the time we had returned from the usual trip to the Meermarkrt, however, there was barely a cloud in the sky and it was lovely to get out on the water and cool off a bit. As there was more wind than originally forecast, we were even able to sail "properly" for a mile or two, with both the main and genoa, albeit somewhat in slow motion!

Predictably, the whole of the Veerse Meer was heaving with boats but we were lucky enough to find a boat to raft up to on the visitor pontoon at Veere and were soon joined by another boat on the outside. Part one of the stroll around Veere provided lots of photo opportunities - even for us! Kim achieved his aim of getting to the end of the breakwater opposite the Campveerse Toren and took some different views of the Kaai.

Upon returning to the boat, we found that the boats on either side of us in the raft had gone, leaving us beautifully tied up directly onto the pontoon, with lines fore and aft and even bow and stern springs. Pretty impresssive. So with the skipper reassured and after some refreshments and a rest, we set off to see the rest of the town. The bells from the town hall are always a feature of Veere, but on Saturday evening we were treated to an hour-long rendition.

Once back on the boat, Kim got the Cobb going and we had an excellent meal, accompanied by Mandy and Pete's bottle of champagne and much laughter and frivolity (the exploding sausage being followed by a an overly zealous BBQ briquette which smoked profusely and would not go out until finally dipped in the water!).

The night's sleep was not the best with the bells every half hour, the heat, the ducks and even an interlude of the slappers, but we nevertheless started Sunday in good spirits, with breakfast in the cockpit in temperatures of 32 degrees in the shade! Kim bumped into Hans on his way back from the showers and apparently the rest of the Netherlands had had thunderstorms and torrential rain, so we were very fortunate. Having opted to get the later ferry back, we were able to have a leisurely start and lap up the holiday atmosphere.

Even after a relaxed lunch in the cockpit back at our marina and cleaning the boat, we had time in hand so were able to drive up to the Neeltje Jans visitor centre to see the enormous tidal barrage:

and then to stop off at Vrouwenpolder for an ice cream (thank you Mandy!) on the beach. It was staggering to see so many people there - like Camber Sands on a bank holiday!

As ever, the journey back seemed quite long but we still managed to enjoy ourselves and arrived back here about 9.40. It was a great weekend with lots of laughs and some amazing weather (don't listen to the forecasters!) and we hope that our guests will be up for joining us again in the future, for Pete to hone his roving fendering skills and Mandy to have the chance to swim from an island.

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