Dutch Cruising
(or more specifically - cruising in the Delta Region of the Netherlands)


As mentioned elsewhere, our move to the Netherlands came about following a Centre Parcs holiday at Port Zeeland on the Grevelingenmeer. We finally picked on the Veerse Meer as it was the most southerly of the old river estuaries and therefore the closest to drive to. A quick look at Google Maps shows what it looks like and why it's called the Delta Region.

Some History

Everyone knows of the constant battle the Dutch have had over the centuries trying to keep the sea out of their country and most people learnt about the transformation of the Zuider Zee into the IJsselmeer when at school – well I did anyway! What people are not so aware of is all the other amazing feats of engineering the Dutch have achieved, particularly in the 20th Century.

If you’re old enough, you will remember the flood of 1953 when wind and waves conspired to flood around 150,000 acres of Eastern England and over 300 lives were lost. In the Netherlands 1,835 people lost their lives and in the aftermath, the Dutch Government of the day declared that such a catastrophe should never happen again. Thus was born the “Delta Plan”.

The south of the Netherlands is dominated by the combined deltas of the Maas and Schelde rivers. The 1958 Delta Plan Act set about creating a number of inner and outer dams and storm barrages to control future flood waters. The result was that river estuaries such as the Veerse Gat were closed off from the sea to create the Veerse Meer. The last of the major closing off projects was completed in 1987, nearly 30 years after initiation.

Keeping our boat, as we do, in the Veerse Meer, we are reaping the benefit of the Dutch engineers’ creation. And what a creation it is too!

The Delta Today

Today the Delta comprises the following bodies of water:-

The Westerschelde

The Westerschelde river estuary is totally open to the sea and is a major European seaway, serving the Belgian port of Antwerpen. The story goes, that when the Dutch first conceived the Delta Plan, they wanted to barrage off the mouth of the Westerschelde. But since the river's estuary led to the Belgian port, the Belgian government of the day kicked up such a stink, the Dutch had to back down!

As a river estuary to sail in, it is does not have much to offer as it is very busy with a lot of commercial traffic. From our point of view it is the best route into the North Sea. Emjaytoo's first major passage was from Ipswich to Vlissingen and then up the canal to the Veerse Meer. More recently we went back through the canal, into the Westerschelde and down to Oostende.

Places to visit:-

Vlissingen - or Flushing as the English call it is on the Northern side of the Westerschelde. It is the main arrival point for the southern Netherlands and gives access to the Kanaal Door Walcheren leading to Middelburg and the Veerse Meer. There are two marinas to choose from, the Michiel de Ruyter which is accessible directly from the Westerschelde and the VVW 'Schelde' marina inside the lock at the bottom end of the canal. A word of warning about the Michiel de Ruyter, our Dutch chart 1803.02b suggests there is only 0.7 to 1.1 meters at LAT. How ever we have seen some quite large boats in there. If you are heading up the canal then the VVW marina is convenient and rather pleasant even if it is surrounded by industrial/dock developement. It is however a very long walk into the city centre. On the other hand it is only 5 mins walk from the railway station and the foot passenger ferry to Breskens. When Kim brought Emjaytoo over from Ipswich, he left her for a week or so at the VVW and it was a simple matter for the crew to get the ferry over to Breskens where Wendy was waiting to collect them all.

Middelburg - perhaps should feature under the section for the The Veerse Meer. It is about half way up the Kanaal Door Walcheren, between Vlissingen and Veere. For most British yachtsmen crossing the southern part of the North Sea, it is probably the first really quaint part of the Netherlands that they see. Middelburg is the Provincial Capital of Zeeland and more information can be found on Wikipedia . The amazing thing is that the city was completely flattened by the Germans in 1940. After the war, despite all the records having been destroyed, the city was rebuilt to it's former glory - the buildings you see today, that appear to be hundreds of years old, are in fact "post war"!

Approaching the city from either the north or the south on the canal, the only point of note, if you are continuing on, is a series of opening bridges that you have to wait for. But don't pass on, divert off to the west and you enter a small canal that leads almost into the city centre. There is a municipal harbour master who can find you a berth for a few nights and from there you can explore a wonderful Dutch city.

The municipal harbour has all the normal facilities and there is a Yacht Club on the quay side serving drinks and food. There is a well stocked chandlery and you are only a short walk from all the cafes and restaurants in the city centre.

Spend a day wandering around all the old buildings and delve into some of the narrow alley ways where you will see a townscape that has changed little from the days of the Dutch East India Company.

Breskens - is on the south side of Westerschelde opposite Vlissingen. We have not been there so can't comment. If we visit in the future we will add comments.

Terneuzen - is further east on the south side of Westerschelde and is best known as the point where the new tunnel under the Westerschelde exits. It is also the entrance to the canal that leads south to Gent in Belgium. It is a very industrialised area with lots of commercial wharfs. There is a yacht harbour with direct access off the Westerschelde and there appears to be a smaller one just in side the locked canal.

Having visited Terneuzen by car, we would have to say we would not choose to visit by boat other than as a refuge/bolt hole!

Back to The Westerschelde

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The Veerse Meer

The Veerse Meer is the smallest of the river estuaries to be closed off. The eastern end was closed off from the rest of the Delta system when the Zandkreek Dam was completed in 1960. A year later the seaward end was completely closed off from the North Sea with the Veerse Gat Dam. At the seaward end is the old town of Veere and from here the Kanaal door Walcheren goes south to Vlissingen. With the canal and the lock at Zandkreek the meer has a small amount of commercial traffic passing through it, but predominantly, it is a leisure area with a number of fully equipped marinas and plenty of jetties available for overnight stops. The meer is non-tidal and until a few years ago the water was brackish. However, in order to improve the ecosystem, the meer now has sea water flushed through and has returned to being salt water.

Places to visit:-

Kortgene - This is our home port and the location of Delta Marina where we keep Emjaytoo. The main part of the marina has been in existence for some time. Adjacent to the main marina was a secondary port known as the Landbouwhaven. This was an agricultural harbour in the days when the Veerse Gat was open to the sea. When the dam was built in 1961 the harbour went into decline. Subsequently, the grain silos were demolished and the harbour side was redeveloped as residential/holiday homes and apartments. The old harbour became filled up with an eclectic mix of “house boats" most which have recently been cleared away to accommodate the latest phases of the marina. The marina has the usual facilities you’d expect from a modern marina, although the holding tank pump out facility is expensive at €2 and difficult to get access to as it is on the fuelling pontoon and inevitably you have to queue up with boats waiting to refuel.

Kortgene is a lively village with several pubs and restaurants. Our favourite is Iets Anders, where we have always enjoyed an excellent meal. The Overstaag is a restaurant that used to have an excellent reputation, indeed we went in there in 2007 and had a fantastic meal, however when we went in there a couple of years ago, it was empty whilst its competitors were packed out. The meal was okay, but we haven’t been back there since. Recently reopened after a period of closure is the Graaf Van Buren, but we have yet to try that. Over in the main part of the marina there is the Veerhuis, where we have eaten a couple of times. The food is good, but for us being in the Landbouwhaven it is a bit of a trek.

In addition to bars and restaurants the village boasts amongst others, a Spar shop, a bank, a butchers, a bakers and a disproportionate number of hairdressers. Down from the Landbouwhaven is a large camp site – the Paardekreek, which has a very well stocked shop.

Wolphaartsdijk - is a complex of four or five marinas including, somewhat strangely, the Royal Belgian Yacht Club. It is located directly opposite Delta Marina and of course being on our doorstep, so to speak, not somewhere we have ever been to by boat. However, we have visited by car on a couple of occasions and can report that it appears to have all the facilities you would expect including an impressive chandlery, a Spar supermarket and two or three restaurants. The main town, though, is about two and a half miles away and from a drive through, does not appear to be very exciting.

Bastiaan de Langeplaat - and the adjacent island of Zandkreekplaat are typical of the numerous islands that abound in the Veerse Meer. Presumably in the days when the Veerse Gat was a tidal estuary these islands would have been sand banks covered at high water. Now they are permanent islands equipped with landing jetties and some very basic amenities – rubbish bins and chemical “thunder-box” toilets. The amazing thing is that these jetties are free to use. The regulations for the area forbid stays of more than 24 hours and whilst the authorities do not appear to enforce them, most people seem to abide by them. In fact, a large part of the appeal is moving from one location to another each day.

The water in the Veerse Meer is quite shallow over a large percentage of its area – less than 2 meters deep and consequently it gets quite warm in the summer (over 25 degrees centigrade). Tied up to a jetty on a hot summer’s afternoon, swimming off the back of the boat followed by a bar-b-que is living The Dream.

De Oomloop - is directly opposite Bastiaan de Langeplaat on the Eastern side of the Veerse Meer. It is a small in, round & out mooring complex, which we were able to visit in late 2012. We went in, round and out, establishing that there is sufficient depth of water, but on the occasion we chose, it was busy and there were no mooring spaces. It had a bit of an "African Queen" feel to it and is on our list for an overnight stop in the future.

The Haringvreter - is the largest of the islands in the Veerse Meer and has three separate jetties. On the western side, south west of Veere is a long slender jetty stretching out several hundred meters into about 1.5m – 2.0m. This jetty tends to be fairly quiet, perhaps because it is on the windward side (given the prevailing south westerly winds). On the eastern side there is an enclosed harbour and jetty system giving about 2.0m on the outer side and down to about 1.0m in the actual harbour. This part of the island is very popular especially for shallow boats that can get right into the harbour and tie up at the grassy quay side. Here one can take advantage of picnic tables and an open grassy area to spread out. About a quarter of a mile south there is an unattached jetty close to the ferry landing stage. Because this does not have walk ashore access to the island it tends to be a lot less busy, even in the high season. If you have a tender then it is no problem to get ashore. The presence of a ferry landing stage suggests that land lubbers can take excursions to the islands, although we have never seen the ferry come alongside.

The island has the usual basic facilities – rubbish bins & “thunder boxes”. Large parts are fenced off as protected wildlife habitat, but there is a circular walk around the island – not always that well marked - but you can spend a very pleasant hour or so.

This island has cattle, horses and deer on it and the deer will often wander into the open area near the harbour in the evenings when the day trippers have gone home and the place is quieter. Definitely one of our favourites.

Kamperland - was known as a short canal off the Veerse Meer, with a marina at its entrance and leading up to the old industrial harbour where there were some municipal moorings. But last year, however, the top end was redeveloped as a new marina. We went up there in early in the year and it looked as if it had just opened since virtually all the berths were empty.

The town is a good spot for shopping, especially as Veere does not have any grocery shops. There is a C1000 supermarket, although it is a bit of a walk with heavy bags – about half a mile. As for the rest of the town, we can’t really say much. The marina looked as if it had not quite got up to speed. There was no evidence of fuel or pump out facilities, but then you have pass right by the ones at the main marina. There was a restaurant but no sign of a chandlers. There is also a Planetarium and a Laserquest type place, so it may get busy/rowdy in the evenings, but we don’t know.

We visited the main marina four years ago, when we had our MacGregor and stayed in a vacant between piles “box”. We ate in the restaurant and remembered the meal as acceptable. The fuel & pump out jetty is easy to get on and the pump out is only 50 cents which is a lot cheaper than Delta Marina.

Veere – this is without doubt the Jewel In The Crown of the Veerse Meer. Whenever we take guests over to the boat for a weekend, we take them to Veere and it never fails to impress. We also have some friends who live in Veere as well so that makes it especially appealing for us. Unfortunately the rest of the world thinks Veere is especially appealing, so consequently it is usually packed out.

There are three choices if you want to visit Veere. Least impressive is to stay at the Veere Marina which is at the top of the Kanaal door Walcheren just outside the lock. The marina itself is fairly basic, but it is convenient for the town. The next choice is the visitor jetty, on which one can stay overnight, but it has no electricity or water and is a bit of a trek to the showers/toilets. By far the best place is inside the harbour on the Kaai.

The Kaai is run by the municipal council and the Havenmeester has his office in the Veere Yacht Club’s clubhouse. The jetties have power and water; toilets, showers & laundry facilities are a short walk over a bridge and there is wi-fi, albeit a bit expensive. There is holding tank pump out, which is free - very impressive!. However, as is often the case, it is on a section of jetty that you are most unlikely to be able to access. We went on the Kaai last year and it was deserted, so we were able to get along side the pump out and make use of it. A night's stay, at that time, was around €17. The Yacht Club has an excellent restaurant where you can get a very reasonably priced meal. In addition there are plenty of restaurants in Veere and apparently the Campveerse Toren is very exclusive!

Veere developed as a major port for the import of Scottish wool during the 15th & 16th centuries and subsequently has some very strong Scottish influences. Since the closing of the Veerse Gat in 1961 the fishing fleets dwindled and Veere had to reinvent itself as a tourist town. To this end it has been very successful – too successful some might say. The Kaai is exquisite; the main street is like a film set and the Grote Kerk has spectacular views from the top. Add some Napoleonic fortifications, a windmill, a classic Dutch lifting bridge and the picture book effect is complete.

What Veere does lack is any type of shop, for buying food other than a baker, albeit a very nice baker. If you want food supplies, then you will need to head over to Kamperland. There is a bank though and a small chandlery in one of the back streets. Thereafter it is all touristy shops selling expensive toot.

Click Here For Veere Webcam

Oostwatering - is a large marina to the west of Veere, which we have not visited, so can't comment on. Being large, it presumably has all the facilities one would expect of that size of marina.

Middelburg - refer to the section on The Westerschelde

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The Oosterschelde

The Oosterschelde, or the East Schelde was closed off from the North Sea by a massive storm surge barrier, completed in 1989. This operates on a vertical gate system. When each of the 60 plus gates are in the open position, the tide is able to flood and ebb in the normal way making the Oosterschelde completely tidal. The gates can then be lowered to completely close off the river estuary from the North Sea. The storm barrier with it’s roadway on top was a massive civil engineering feat by anyone’s standards. It is actually in three sections with artificial islands Neeltje Jans and Roggenplaathaven. These islands were fundamental in the construction process and on Neeltje Jans there is a large exhibition centre devoted to the Delta Plan in general and the storm surge barrier in particular. It is well worth a visit either by car or by boat staying at the Roompot Marina near by. For vessels wishing to passage from the Oosterschelde to the North Sea there is a lifting bridge/lock facility at Roompotsluis.

About 5 or 6 miles in from the storm barrier is the Zeelandbrug which spans about 2½ miles across the Oosterschelde. This again, like anything the Dutch, build is pretty spectacular. Height clearance will vary depending on the tide, but if you have a mast, then you are best using the opening section adjacent to the north shore.

As the Oosterschelde is tidal there are some very large areas that dry at low water, so care is needed and you should stick to the buoyed channels. There is also a fair amount of commercial traffic exiting the Kanaal Door Zuid-Beveland at Wemeldinge and heading up to the Volkerak.

Places to visit:-

Zierikzee – This is one of our favourite places and definitely the best on the Oosterschelde. It's a mile and a half up a canal just west of the Zeelandbrug on the northern shore and is a major mussel fishing port. There is a marina along the left bank as you go up the canal and then at the top, on the edge of the town, is the town quay. This is a very popular place in the season and we have been rafted 7 deep! It's an interesting quay as it's tidal, but you moor to a floating pontoon, so no need to worry about the tide. There is power and water on the pontoon and toilets/showers on the quayside. They are rather basic and often collect a lot of dead leaves in autumn, but they serve the required function and the showers are hot.

A short walk from the town quay is the Oude Haven which is reserved for museum exibits of traditional style Dutch sailing boats, all accessed through a traditional Dutch double lifting bridge. The town is typical of Dutch Zeeland towns with ornate town hall and lots of gabled buildings. A major attraction, well worth a visit is the "Monstertoren", a church tower built in the 15th century, with terrific views across the Oosterschelde and surrounding area.

Zierikzee is well served with shops, banks and restaurants and there are a couple of chandlery type shops along the quayside. A good place to eat is the Eetcafe Marktzicht on the Havenplein. The restuarant is done out inside as a pirate's galleon, it is a bit of a rabbit warren inside with lots of cosy areas including one where water is periodically sprayed on the outside of the windows to simulate waves & spray. We ate in there in May 2010 and whilst it was very busy on a Saturday night, the food was excellent.

Be warned, the last weekend in August gets very busy as there is a Mussel Festival.

Roompot - Not been there yet.

Colijnsplaat - Not been there either!

Wemeldinge - Nearly got there a few years ago!

Yerseke - there is not a lot to say about this place. We went there in 2008 and the only thing we can remember about it was going aground when leaving. The channel is quite narrow and turns sharply as you exit the marina, so at low tide, a bit of time spent studying the chart and buoyage is worthwhile (something we didn’t do!). From memory the marina was okay, but the town wasn’t anything to get excited about.

Sint Annaland - is a pleasant place to sail to, being reached up the Krabbenkreek, a tidal estuary off the main part of the Oosterschelde. It looks as if it would make a good spot to anchor (we’ve anchored just for lunch) and according to our latest electronic charts, there are four mooring buoys opposite the marina entrance. Mooring is mostly between piles and the tidal range is about 3.0m. The piles are equipped with steel cables running up them so a couple of large carabiners are useful to attach your stern lines and then you moor the bow to the floating pontoon.

The marina has a restaurant that looks out over the river with terrific views and in July 2010 we had an excellent meal there. Other typical marina facilities appear to be on hand and there is a chandlery. The town is fairly bland, but does have a good supermarket within a short walk of the marina (or at least it did in 2007).

Bruinisse - is known as the Mussel Capital of Zeeland. There does appear to be more than one place claiming this title however! From our point of view, Bruinisse is the gateway to the Grevelingenmeer. It plays host to the locked entance, has a couple of well equiped marinas and the town has some superb restaurants.

Tholen - technically is not in the Oosterschelde, but at the far Eastern end through the Bergsediepsluis and into the Zoomeer. This is an artificially enclosed body of fresh water part way up the Schelde-Rijnverbiding that goes from Antwerpen up to the Volkerak. Whilst the canal is very busy with commercial traffic there is a pleasure craft route to one side that leads up to Tholen and keeps you away from the barges.

Tholen itself is a traditional old town that still retains some of its old star shaped fortifications and is a pleasant place to walk around. Two points of note are that it has a very large church, almost cathedral in size, and a very tall windmill.

The harbour is a bit industrial, but there appear to be some nice restaurants nearby. On our visit in 2012 we ate on board, so another trip to sample the restaurants will be due in 2013. There are several marinas and if on the town quay you get to use the facilities of the WSV De Kogge marina wich are very new and very smart.

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The Grevelingenmeer

The Grevelingenmeer was closed off from the North Sea in 1972 with the construction of the Brouwers Dam. The eastern end had already been closed off with the Grevelingen Dam and lock back in 1965. Because, when the lock was built, the Grevelingenmeer was still open to the sea, the lock is large enough to take commercial barge traffic. Today there is little or no commercial traffic, the whole area being devoted to leisure craft. Originally the Grevelingenmeer was brackish like the Veerse Meer, but now days salt water is sluiced through. Large expanses of the meer are very shallow – less than 2 metres.

Unlike the Veerse Meer, cruising the Grevelingenmeer is not free. You need to purchase a cruising pass which can be either for the season or weekly. The main marina J H Buinisse is a convenient place to get one and if you tie up at the waiting pontoon by the lock after entering the Grevelingenmeer, it’s a pleasant walk round to the marina.

In addition to the old towns/ports/marinas dotted around, the meer offers a number of natural islands and “sport islands” (man made islands) offering overnight mooring facilities. The Grevelingenmeer gets very busy in the summer and the lock at Bruinisse is reputed to be the busiest lock in the Netherlands.

Places to visit:-

Brouwershaven - means “brewers harbour”, not that we have found any evidence of a brewery. Again this a typical Zeeland port of old and you can easily visualise it as it was when the meer was open to the North Sea with fishing boats and small cargo vessels filling the town quay.

The approach to Brouwershaven requires some care as it is up a very narrow channel that, when approached from the east, doubles back on itself. The channel then has a single storm surge gate, which is only closed when required. The gate has a sill which is reported to only have 2.0 metres Clearance, although once inside there is generally between 2.3 and 2.6 metres.

The gate is controlled from the havenmeester’s office which is a modern control tower type building on the right with a waiting jetty. Once inside the surge gate there is a new marina complex on the right, then the channel turns right and becomes the old town quay.

The centre of the town is dominated by the harbour and the adjacent market square. When we visited in 2008 there was a market on Mondays. There are toilets and showers on the quay side, a museum, various shops and restaurants. Notably, in 2008 we found free Wi-Fi.

Archipel - is a cluster of three man made islands with mooring jetties. The smallest does not have direct access, but there are two berthing dolphins. The next island up has a single jetty with access to the island, but the access is pretty academic as most of the island is fenced off, such that the bit you can walk on is about the size of a tennis court!

The main island has about six jetties, a sandy beach and surprisingly, a brick built toilet block. We are not sure where the waste goes – presumably into a holding tank as the toilets are flushed via a hand pump not dissimilar to the marine toilet in your heads. In addition there are wheelie bins for your rubbish.

The views are spectacular and you get some fantastic sunsets.

Stampersplaat - is one of the larger natural islands – presumably a sand bank in the days when the Grevelingenmeer was a tidal river estuary. It has a wonderful little harbour along with the usual basic facilities of “thunder box” toilet and wheelie bins. The little harbour has a grassy quayside for the more shallow draught boats, whist there is deeper water along a couple of jetties. The island has ponies on it and they often come into the harbour area.

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The Haringvliet

The Haringvliet was closed off from the North Sea in 1971 by a series of sluices and dams, with a road running on the top. The whole project took 14 years to construct and was part of the Delta plan.

The eastern end of the Haringvliet is open to the Hollands Diep. Originally, the Haringvliet was fresh water, but in recent years salt water has been allowed to ebb and flow with the tide. The result is that the Haringvliet and the Hollands Diep are now tidal. The tide is often referred to as a pseudo tide as it only rises and falls by about 300mm. This is controlled by the sluice gates at the seaward end.

Places to visit:-

Numansdorp - technically Numansdorp is not in the Haringvliet, being in the Hollands Diep, but after you exit the lock at Volkeraksluizen, it is a good place to stop over before going through the Haringvlietbrug and into the Haringvliet. There is a large marina complex to the West of the town, but give this a miss and head up the narrow channel towards the town itself. Be careful of the submerged mole on the west side of the channel. Once up the top of the canal you will find a quaint little quay with the harbourmaster's office. There is some mooring against the quayside, but you will need fender boards as there are protruding piles. Better to get allocated a "box" between piles.

The toilets and showers are underneath the harbour master's office and the showers are the best ever. Be careful not to scald yourself. You will need a 50 cents coin (or maybe two) but the money is well spent.

Opposite the town quay is a very nice looking restaurant - the Schipperhuis, but when we saw that mussels and chips was €22 per person we decided to give it a miss. Maybe another time. The town has a RaboBank, an Albert Heijn supermarket plus loads of other shops.

Hellevoetsluis - This is the major town on the Haringvliet, having an extensive history closely entwined with the Netherland's Navy. The town grew up during the 17th and 18th Centurys as a major naval port and ship yard. The town boasts the Netherland's oldest dry dock and an absolute rake of buildings and structures from various periods throughout the town's history.

There are a number of marinas plus the "town quay" and Hellevoetsluis is today known as a major recreational boating centre. The Haaven and the Groote Dok are within the original fortified naval yard and the Haaven provides moorings up against the original harbour walls. There are toilets and showers available on the quayside and a small provisions store that rather presumptuously describes itself as a "mini market". There are also a number of pubs and restaurants. The main shopping area is a considerable walk, but does have a good selection of shops and an Abert Heijn Supermarket. Look out for the free mini tram as it really is a long walk.

If you are spending any time in Hellevoetsluis, visit the VVV and pick up an English language guide to the historical buildings and then follow the walk which takes in all the notable buildings and monuments.

Generally we found the place somewhat lacking in appeal - okay for history buffs!

Middelharnis - is on the south side of the Haringvliet up a canal about a mile long. The approach is through a storm gate that is in the open position and the canal is lined with boat moorings. The town quay is very picturesque, with lots of street cafés, which on a hot and sunny day create a “Mediterranean” atmosphere. On arrival select a vacant box displaying a green “flag” and then wander down to the Harbourmaster and tell him where you are.

When we were there, they were in the process of building new toilets and showers, although the ones they had were quite presentable, if perhaps a bit inadequate for the numbers of berths.

The town has some excellent shops and an Albert Heijn supermarket. We found a really nice quayside restaurant and enjoyed mussels & chips. All in all, on a sunny day it is a very pleasant little place to stay.

Willemstad - Like Numansdorp, Willemstad is not really in the Haringvliet, but at the western end of the Hollands Diep. Resist the temptation to go in the modern marinas and head into the town quay. It’s a bit tight and it does get very busy, but it’s well worth the effort.

We were up against the quayside which has piles sticking out, so you will need fender boards or at least rig some large fenders horizontally to cushion you against the piles. Being up against the quayside, we found it very dirty in respect of dust and grit which got blown on to the boat. Add to that three boats rafted outboard of us with their crews walking dirt on to our boat, we did end up in a bit of a state.

The pilot books said there were no facilities on the quayside, but we found water & electricity and whilst there are no toilets/showers on the quayside, it is only a short walk round to one of the marinas where you can use their facilities.

There is an excellent chandlers on the quayside and a supermarket and bakers in the town. Do take a walk around the outside of the moat as well as exploring the inside of the town, it is a superb example of the star shaped fortifications, typical of this part of the Netherlands and with well established trees and a proper footpath, it is a very pretty walk.

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Various Rivers

Dordrecht – is at the junction of the Beneden Merwede, the Noord and the Ooude Maas. If coming from the Dordste Kil (the South), you will have to negotiate the combined road and rail bridge. This opens approximately every two hours (consult your almanac) and there is a waiting pontoon tucked in a side arm to the East of the river.

We stayed at the KDR & ZV (Royal Dordrecht Rowing & Sailing Club) in the Nieuwe Haven which lies just behind the Engelenburgerbrug (opens approximately every half hour on demand). The Club House has quality toilets and showers – 50 cents for the showers and free wi-fi. The Harbour Master is very friendly and speaks excellent English (don't they all?). He will great you as you come through the bridge and signal you over to give you your berthing instructions. He is very precise and will give you all the information (don't interupt, you can ask questions afterwards, but you won't have any, because he will have covered everything!). The Nieuwe Haven is very convenient for the city centre, the Grote Kerk (cathederal) being only a few minutes walk. There is an Albert Heijn supermarket and numerous restaurants all near by.

If heading south towards the Dordste Kil, the Nieuwe Haven makes a good overnight stop as you can time your departure to suit the bridge opening. This is particularly important as there is no waiting pontoon on the North side.

Gouda – is just off the Hollandsche Ijssel down the Nieuwe Gouwe. When first entering the Nieuwe Gouwe there is marina off to the right, but it is located in a modern built up area and some way out from the city centre. Further on up the Nieuwe Gouwe past a bridge and lock you enter the old city. We went on the Turfsingel, which at first sight did not seem very attractive – we were moored next to the carpark entrance to a block of flats. However it proved to be very convenient for the city centre and surprisingly quiet at night. It also had the toilet/shower block close at hand. When we visited in 2013, these consisted off a small portacabin unit with very restricted opening hours, so do make sure you know what they are! There is free electricity and the showers are free too, but no wi-fi. There was water available, but only one tap working and too far away from where we were moored. We didn't see any signs of fuel or pump out facilities.

One word of warning, the lock and bridge do not operate on a Sunday outside of peak season. There is an alternative route out, but it has restricted air draft, so check with the harbour master. On the plus side, we only paid €15 for two nights and got a third night for free.

Gouda, itself is a typical old Dutch city with a market square dominated by the magnificent 16th century town hall and "grote kerke". The church, which by English standards is a cathedral, has the finest collection of 16th century stained glass windows in the Netherlands, if not Europe and is well worth a visit. The city has managed to retain a number of its original canals, although a lot were filled in during the 1960s & 70s. There is a good selection of modern shops including an Albert Heijn supermarket and of course, Gouda is world famous for its cheese.

The railway station is about 15 mins walk away and there is a good train service to Amsterdam, Haarlem and other places, so Gouda makes a good base.

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All information contained in this website is given as general guidance only, it's accuracy can not be guaranteed and it should not be relied upon for navigational purposes. Any persons visiting the areas described in this website should satisfy themselves that they have accurate and adequate navigational information/aids. The authors of this website accept no responsibility for any incident arising from reliance upon anything stated or implied within this website.