Here and on our website ’t Majeur we tell about our live aboard and the adventures to be as we barge trough Europe.

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Friday, 29 October 2010

The Shitrace

towing along the Spaarne qays    

all the crew back on board at the end of the qay

Shitrace is a direct translation from the Dutch word strontrace, which is the name of  this race. The object of this race is to transport manure (stront). This week the ships of the shitrace came by our barge. It was an imposing sight and we are front row here.

one last push to the bridge, portside
Since 1974 this an annual race, from Workum (in Friesland) to Warmond (in Zuid Holland) and back. In the olden days, the manure for the bulbfields was transported along that route and the vessels may now only do it sailing, hunting and poling.
 They must pass through the Spaarne, and since we are located next to a bridge we could see very well  how they do it.
They are big heavy boats and the crew, on both ships there was at least one woman present steering and encouraging, was visibly tired but they still had a long way to go.
The first ship that passed had the misfortune of having to wait for the bridge had until the other was close enough.
passing the bridge

Their advantage was that they were in a straight line for the bridge when it opened (in the morning during rush hour in Haarlem) and they were quickly through.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Gouda-Haarlem and around in Holland

We finally really arrived in Haarlem and it is very good here, more on that later. 
Although only in late September, we could already see autumn coming, the summer flowers in the bags have been replaced by winter blooming pansies and spiders are very active throughout the ship, it does provide a nice picture.

                                                          Wednesday, September 29 we left  Gouda,   we passed at 11am through the lock, at that time the doors on either side of us could open and close again right behind us. It has something special as a lock to pass.                                                    
En route to Alphen aan de Rijn, we called a friend who lives there and since we could moor right in the middle of the city she could join us for tea. In Alphen we decided to stay so we could eat together and there was a good berth for a few days. However nice there, the next morning we left since all the passing, commercial, traffic causes such draught and waves that even we were bouncing against the wall, it was no fun.

Lifting bridge in the Gouwe
In the Gouwe we passed some beautiful lift bridges, three in a row, impressive buildings as you come sailing along and pass underneath them.
Just before we arrived at the Braassemermeer there was a fuel station with red diesel. We stocked up for the winter so the stove can burn nicely.
While we were there, it takes a while before you have 2000 liters of petrol, a thick fog came up. We did not look forward to proceeding in this soup to Haarlem but fortunately the pump owner also had a marina where we could stay for free because we had already tanked enough. The fog quickly disappeared and we lay there with lovely views over the Braassemermeer, very nice.

Greenhouses and mills

The next day we did really the last stage of this season, through the Ringvaart to Haarlem. One of the most  "Dutch" routes, past villages, many greenhouses and several mills and all with beautiful weer.
This last part became special. For the bridge in Lisserbroek we were behind the Nelleke, a large empty commercial sand ship. The bridge was temporarily out of work because of a broken engine and thus caused the Nelleke trouble. They had to sail through Haarlem before 16 am (between 16 and 18 hours there is no passage trough Haarlem) otherwise they would miss a cargo and a lot of money. The workers at the bridge managed to open it just for the Nelleke and we could pass along. The Nelly shot with great speed through the bridge and raced on further. Michel thought he could easily pick up at the next bridge but all the bridges opened as the Nelleke aprouched she went with a speed of 12km per hour (6 is allowed) through the canal. We followed with the same speed went just as smoothly through all the bridges and asumed that all oncoming traffic was out of the way because of the Nelleke.

Spaarne and in the background the St Bavo church
With brakes squealing, we could stop in time for our winter berth just behind the Langebrug Spaarne (see link) and Nelleke raced through, hopefully they got there in time.
It was fun and exciting (for once) and actually also good for the engine before the winterstop.

It suits us very well in Haarlem, it is friendly, nice shops, restaurants, cinema, in short all the pleasures of city life. We were fine without and enjoy it now that it is there, we can live here well till april.

work in progress
The first weeks will be spent completing a variety of projects, there is a ceiling and lighting in the wheelhouse, the guest bathroom is completely renovated and a new sink (an old sideboard from the original rear deckhouse) installed there and then we go on to the living room one more time.
Now that we don't move anymore in the coming months there will be little to mention on the blog. Perhaps the sailing in of Saint Nicholas as he comes along our ship or when something special happens or if we have worked out our plans for next year I will say so. For the winter I stop the blog and when we go sailing again I'll continue.
If you want to know if something is posted or the site is updated, notifie us through the link following 't Majeur, at the top on the right, and you get a message.

Finally, it's nice to have a map showing the entire route we have sailed through the Netherlands. We really enjoyed it and it was as if we discovered our own country. Although next year we plan to sail in France, north-west France, we will certainly once do an different tour in Holland, we still much to see.
Around in Holland