The Baltic–Fit the 7th

14/7 Sat Some delay while the harbour master does his rounds just when I wanted fuel, but got away and nearly (but not quite) got through Groningen with the 1st mid-day outbound convoy. Everything costs and I only reached as far as Garnwerd. This was a very friendly mud-berth marina when I was there before. It’s now upgraded into a very friendly finger marina with proper water depths. Recommended.
15/7 Sun Just caught the 1st bridge out of Garnwerd & trolled along pretending to obey the speed limit (6 km/h). All down the Reitdiep to Zoutkamp & the Lauwersmeer & back in to the Dokkumer Groot Diep (tiny) and the Dokkumer Ee. Chose to stop at Burdaard/Birdaard rather than risk finding Leeuwarden full up. The price is right, but there’s no soap, no hand drying and NO paper in the loos.
16/7 Mon Moved on SW and got round NW Leeuwarden in the normal slow pace convoy and S Leeuwarden with its slow big bridges–no major delays. Onward to Heech/Heeg which I always like. Picked the Passantenhaven this time as easy to get into. Simple boxes, paper in the loos and an enthusiastic HM on duty 12 hours a day.
17/7 Tue Heech has everything, including a Co-op and a Camping Gaz supplier where I needed a new regulator. Got down the Johan Frisokanal to Warns: the wind was looking a bit frisky and I wanted fuel so I stopped for the night. I do NOT recommend this place. There’s nothing ashore and it’s a boatyard rather a marina.
18/7 Wed Over the sea (IJsselmeer) via Enkhuizen to Volendam. Choice of Gemeente or commercial haven. Should have picked the commercial as the tourist noise was deafening in the town centre.
19/7 Thu On down the Markermeer towards A’dam. The SW side of the meer is swarming with fresh-water ‘sea’-weed. Luckily I didn’t have a problem with the engine or prop but picked up a massive garden wrapped round the keels. Got this cleared while in the Oranjesluis (bagged for disposal ashore). Straight past A’dam to IJmuiden and the Seahaven marina–everything except a supermarkt. This is the biggest (& most expensive) Dutch marina.
20/7 Fri Back out into the North Sea (tides & stuff). Tides are wrong and the wind light Northerly so motored most of the way to Scheveningen where the Volvo fleet had recently finished and the World’s Offshore Championship was underway. Got clearance through into the inner basin but had to turn left & moor onto temporary pontoons. For those who have read my reports in previous years, I must now report the loss of the “Supermarket of Doom” (it was cursed with an invisibility spell): it’s been replaced, on an adjacent site, by a jumbo ‘Jumbo’ supermarket and there’s no way you couldn’t find the entrance.
21/7 Sat The tides being wrong, I couldn’t do the normal route direct to Roompot but halved it to Stellendam instead. I have now found the 2nd most expensive Dutch marina & it’s rapidly turning into a fresh-water Sargasso Sea.
22/7 Sun The second half started without the tide but gradually picked it up. Arrived at the Roompot Marina. No WiFi and the restaurant is in chaos (as admitted by the maitre d’). But, the saving grace of this marina is that you can just walk over to the caravan park where there’s a super?mini-markt and an out-door café which is only ALMOST out-of-control but manages to find food (and drink).
23/7 Mon Necessary provisions from the caravan shop, then out again. Arrivals getting late into the afternoon now, so I decided not to risk finding Blankenberge ‘full’ and went to Zeebrugge instead. This has perked up quite considerably now that the Royal Belgian Y.C. has some competition. Real showers, real staff, and the club-house is open for the first I’ve seen in 27 years.
24/7 Tue

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