Elwing II part 5

Tue 21/7

Weather boring, so I stay in and do some shopping, sightseeing & a little geocaching grabbing a travel bug. (If you want to know more, you can google for it.)

Wed 22/7

From Harlingen to West Terschelling. The tide (HW) is early afternoon, so wait till 12:45 to leave (the HM is away 12-13). Lock back out and motor briskly northward, in various directions as required by the channels. Wind is initially light WNW then becomes fresher but the channels are winding so no sailing. Met in the marina entrance by the HM & pointed to a berth. W. Terschelling has a TALL brick lighthouse (Brandaris) of which more in episode 6.

Thu 23/7

The rumour goes around that Saturday’s weather is going to be horrid. Still this is Thursday, so no worry yet. The notice board says to leave HW-3 for Ameland, but I & a neighbour decide we’re not that fast and start a little earlier. Wind W 2-3 increasing 3-4 (or maybe 5). Sail from just off 1 breakwater to just off the other. On the way I saw a dutch national launch (patrol/survey or some such). Anyway it’s a small cabin boat with jet propulsion & runs at at least 30 kts, name Vigilant. It comes up the end of the main Oosterom channel & tries to take a diversion through a shallow passage marked on the chart. And comes to a grinding halt, still plently of wash coming out the back but no progress. Wave to him (I won’t say how many fingers) & suggest he follows the main channel, which he does. Roars off out to sea along 1 channel & is soon seen screaming back in again along the other. I cut across through a quiet channel where I watch the seals basking on the sand-bank. Met by the Nes HM and again shown to a berth. Manage to drop the travel bug successfully.

Fri 24/7

The rumour goes around again: Saturday’s weather is going to be horrid. I don’t want to be stuck so there’s only 1 choice; can’t go back, the tides are now wrong; must go forward to Lauwersoog. Inside involves lots of zig-zags & very shallow channels, so it has to be outside. Start LW-2 to catch the last of the ebb. Looking at the chart, you can either go the long way round: well out to the west before you can get back east. Or cheat & use the obvious but unmarked passage close around the end of the island. Chart shows 2.4 m minimum depth & about 600 m wide. This starts off OK, the depth is fine, the channel wide; then there’s the offshore Bornrif. It starts at a good distance from the shore, and get closer, and closer & closer. Still if the depth is good, the water must be scouring through somewhere. See what looks like the light at the end of the tunnel and, at the same time, here comes Vigilant again; creams past doing about 40 kts, does a little wiggle to show where the best channel is and disappears off into the distance at the same rate of knots. I happily side-step into the foam & follow the wash for 10 mins into clear water. On my chart, the waypoint seems to be on the beach & the rif about the same distance. Carry on past a couple of gas platforms and re-enter via the SW Lauwers. The wind has obviously heard the rumour & starts increasing F5. Berth in the inside marina, no HM this time. Find a restaurant in the local sailing barge harbour.

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