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3rd September 2007 - TV Antena Update

Have just spoken to Peter at the Service Centre and he has advised that the TV antena has been fixed, the 12 volt socket has been connected up and even better news - the Autohelm has come back from Raymarine and been reinstalled. On Saturday I went to the caravan shop in our village and got a 12v plug to fit the socket provided on the boat, so everything should be working okay for next week when we go out for our weeks cruise with Julie & Trevor.

The only cloud on the horizon is the weather - it looks like being cold and dull, but weather forecasts this far out are notoriously inaccurate.

8th September 2007 - Plans For Next Week

This afternoon we are off to Zeeland for a whole week on the boat. Kim's sister & partner - Julie & Trev are coming with us and we are booked on the 15.15 ferry out of Dover, so should reach Emjaytoo about 19.30 hrs BST.

The loose plan is Kierikzee on Sunday and then up into the Grevellingen Meer. Then back via Sint Annaland and Goes.

Hopefully some updates along the way.

10th September 2007 - A Bridge Too Late

Arrived at the marina at 19.10, unpacked, ate our evening meal and generally had an enjoyable - if raucous - evening. On Sunday morning we motored to the fuelling pontoon and topped up the tanks prior to our passage through the Zandkreeksluis and into the Oosterschelde. Sailed up towards the bridge, beating with the genoa only. 20 knots of wind over the deck, 4.5 - 5.5 knots over the ground. Tacked most of the way up to the bridge, then put the engine on for the last half hour. Thought we might make it for the 5.30 opening but a mere hundred metres from the bridge and the bu**ers shut it! Started motoring around for what we thought would be the 6 pm opening, when Wendy decided it would be fun to radio them up, just as well as we found out that the next opening wasn't until 7 pm!

Net result was that we didn't reach Zierikzee until about 8 pm. Havenmeister had long since gone to bed, so chose a suitable looking Bav 37 to raft alongside and executed a highly professional example of team work - ably assisted by the complete absence of any wind! Gourmet meal of traditional British mariners' fare - Fray Bentos pies with roasted vegetables. Took ages to cook but we bravely whiled away the time drinking beer and laughing - but not too raucously!

Crashed out after very successful and pleasant day.

11th September 2007 - A Tower Too High And A Bucket Too Many

Having decided to stay the day and look round, we strolled around the shops and then went up the Monstertoren - a long way up (279 steps) but well worth it for the stunning views.

We also went to the post office and purchased a fishing licence and then went back to the boat for a late lunch, where we landed up with aching sides at the Dutch regulations, which seemed to advocate fishing with a stick, a length of wool and a clump of worms (though this sounded more like wood through Julie's giggles). We then had another stroll before a few beers and off to the restaurant, where we decided to partake of the local delicacy: mussels and chips, and wow did we partake! First came the empty galvanised bucket, then the mussels arrived on the table in another galvanised bucket, accompanied by chips and 3 sorts of mayonnaise and salad.

We decided to follow this up with a load of ice creams (delicious) and then made our way back to the boat. Another great evening, only marred by Julie being reunited at 3 am with the mussels she had eaten some hours earlier!!

Fortunately Julie was feeling a whole lot better and demolished bacon and eggs for breakfast, before setting off for a wonderful sail which saw us at 45 degrees most of the time.

As you can see, Julie is really enjoying it!!

We reached Sint Annaland in record time and anchored off the entrance for an hour or so for Trev to drown some bait. Having rafted up to a very expensive Hallberg Rassey 42, we went to town to do some shopping before coming back for an excellent goulash and rice. Another excellent day of laughter and fun interspersed with a few maritime disagreements between skipper and first mate - nothing too serious, but our respective solicitors have been informed!!

12th September 2007 - Up To The Grevelingenmeer

Wednesday morning we headed up to Bruinisse - the locked entrance to the Grevelinengmeer. There was virually no wind, 1 - 2 knots, so we motored all the way. Once inside the Grevelingenmeer, we tied up to the waiting pontoon for lunch, prepared by Wendy while Kim, Trevor and Julie wandered off to the nearby marina to buy a permit to use the islands in the Grevelinengmeer for overnighting. A 7-day permit cost 12 Euros - pretty good value, (even though we only spent one night in the Grevelingenmeer).

We continued virtually all the way up until we arrived at a man-made island called Archipel. In fact Archipel is three islands forming a small archipelago.

In this photo it looks like we have the island to ourselves, but there were actually quite a few boats on the main island but we were on the second largest island with only a Mobo and another smaller yacht that arrived later on in the evening. Our island only took about 5 mins to explore, then we went over to the main island, (all of about 100 metres away!) in the inflatable.

Trevor then had a go at fishing and after a while, actually caught a small fish.

In the evening we had a bar-b-que (no, not Terv's fish!), on the Cobb. Another meal that was far too much accompanied by far too much to drink! Then we watched the sun go down.

16th September 2007 - Not A Wild Goose Chase!

It had been our intention to spend two nights in the Grevelingenmeer and then go down to Goes for Friday night, returning to our marina on Saturday morning. Given that we had to leave for the ferry Saturday afternoon, we decided it might all be a bit of a rush, so headed down to Goes on Thursday. As it was a fairly long trip we got under way first thing and had breakfast on the hoof. Again there was little or no wind so we motor sailed some of the way and straight motored the rest. We even had some company for part of the journey!

We finally arrived at Goes at 15.50 and got a berth right in the inner harbour.

After going to the supermarket to get some more supplies, we settled down on the boat for our usual evening of over indulgence!

Friday morning we were awoken by a lot of noise and found that a floating stage was being set up in the harbour. After wandering around the shops to sort out our Rabo Bank Account and to register our account for the Digitenne Digital TV, we found out that there was a live music festival being staged at the weekend. Later on as we left Goes, there was a continuous stream of boats heading in and it became clear that our earlier stopover was a smart move. Had we gone into Goes on Friday night as planned, it would have been packed out.

After some sightseeing including some of Goes more famous inhabitants -

We departed for our home marina. Once back in the Osterschelde, we sailed for a while under genoa only, but as we were trying to beat into 20 knots plus of wind we gave up and motored home. By the time we got back the wind was howling and Kim and Trevor got soaked cleaning the boat down.

In the evening we went into the village and had a superb meal at the Overstag Restaurant. It is to be thoroughly recommended.

Saturday morning, after we had cleaned the inside of the boat and packed away, we drove up to the Brouwersdam to show Julie and Trevor the massive storm barrier the Dutch have built and to have a walk.

After a quick traditional Dutch lunch of chips and mayonaise, we headed off for Calais.

We all had a brilliant week. The weather was pretty good in as much as we didn't really have much rain and we had a few days of really good sailing. On the days when there was no wind it was quite hot - shorts & T-shirts. We all ate far too much and drank too much. Wendy and Kim pushed the boundaries a bit further by getting up into the Grevelingenmeer and racking up more experience with locks and bridges.

Our total distance covered was 72 miles, which was not bad since we did a bit of sight seeing as well.

So, roll on next time.

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