After reaching Ijmuiden and crew returning home, Grateful Red had its own 2 week vacation from the pounding seas and driving wind and rain. Nestled in Seaport marina, just off the coast of the North Sea in Ijmuiden, I remained on the boat to follow progress on boat repair and “regrouping”.
While Ken was back in the US for those days, I was visited by Shelly Meise, and together with Niki, Ken’s oldest daughter, (who flew over from London for a weekend) we explored Amsterdam. One great night at Gerhards for a “blind” winetasting experience left us with a small sense of Bordeaux Rightbank verses Leftbank. Or, so we say! We did a local canal boat tour and were blessed with reasonable weather.
After the visits were over and Ken returned, we got the boat ready for the last leg of the 2009 travels. The Stand mast Route of South Holland. This route would take us through locks, bridges, flood barriers and wonderful Dutch countryside and villages. We would arrive in Bruinisse in Zeeland (South Holland) where Grateful Red would “rest” for the winter.
We departed Thursday, September 10th, leaving Seaport Marina and taking a quick right hand turn out of the marina heading to the North Sea Canal Lock. A quick motor towards Amsterdam and taking a right turn at the Spaardam Lock and bridge entering the Zijkanaal C.
First Stop – Haarlem where we tied up just North of the Gravestenenbrug on the East Bank of the canal.
Showers and toilets are in the old bridge keepers house at the Gravestenenbrug and access tokens were purchased at the harbor office. All within close walking distance to the boat. Truly a beautiful site, being tied up in the city center on the canal. Leneke and her daughter and boyfriend treated us to dinner at one of their local restaurants and by next morning, we were through the first swing bridge and heading off.
Leneke had discussed route planning with Ken with suggestions to take time to sail in the Kagerplassen. (small lake on the way).
This route led us to Leiden where we made plans to spend an entire day exploring. Docking at the Municipal harbor and “squeezing” into our box mooring, we were greeted by a local boater who explained where to go to pay for our mooring and showers.
Our departure the next day was a concern. The marina had filled up prior and we were not sure if getting the boat out of the mooring box would require us asking the boat on our port to leave its mooring in order for us to swing the stern to clear the pontoons. No problem in the end, as most boaters left early for their return home. (it was Sunday and the end of the weekend).
Rented a canal motor boat for a day cruise around the Dutch countrysides and the Leiden city canals. Extraordinary experience!
Discovered a wonderful Saturday Market that was open all day. Restocking of some great cheese and fish for dinner.