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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Off to Berlin, but first....

Our route of the last month

Already it’s over a month since we left Amersfoort, after spending six months in one spot around mid March the itch starts.
When leaving we were happy to have a very competent first mate on board who sailed us safely through the bridge

First start the engine
Then careful navigating

Although winter was not too cold, to be measured by our gasoil consumption, we did have a bit of snow.

We enjoyed the grandchildren and babysitting, it is a new experience each winter because we haven’t seen them for a while then and changes are easy noticeable.
Each week one day babysitting and doing fun things.

Grandpa goes all the way …..

Both boys have regularly stayed over with us, fun each time.
Now we have a break but coming winter we’ll go back to Amersfoort as before.

Nathan playing with the farmhouse that once belonged to Steven
Panache  accepts a lot from the boys but is also relieved once they leave

As we cruised down the Eem we noticed a nice example of Holland-Waterland, showing that keeping the land dry is an enduring battle.
Building materiel in the midst of the flock
Raising dikes

First we went back to Vreeswijk. Last year we spent quite some time here as we were slipped and then we stayed as we had a long list of chores to work through; plus we liked it there.
There were still some i’s to dot and t’s to cross and with a Luxemotor “bum” having a pontoon comes in very handy; we could borrow it from the yard.
The ships bum
Michels bum

Going from Vreeswijk a bit south to Meerkerk where we had the electrician on board to re-lay some cables, so now we have a better output from our solar panels.
And on top of that our batteries did funny stuff, we suddenly charged them with over 64.000 amps, enough to provide a major part of Holland’s energy consumption.
After a bit of tinkering it turned out to be a mere software problem.

From Meerkerk Michel made a return trip to Antwerp, with a friend of his, to fill up the tanks so we can burn the heater again this coming winter.
Gasoil is so much cheaper there that it is quite profitable, even after deducting traveling costs.
There it all goes
There I was on the quay with my travelling bag, heading for Amsterdam for a few days, which was not bad either.
A bit eerie, for I not only saw my husband disappear but my house as well. It was the first time I wasn’t on board when the ship set sail.
Well, there is a first for everything and after a few days they returned with all my worldly belongings.

From Meerkerk back to Vreeswijk again where we would have someone on board who was to weld an extra frame to the canopy. Thus we can reset the main frame when necessary. Hopefully as effective as simple.
The construction with the tarp is quite heavy and if we lower and raise it frequently, it gets a bit out of shape. Which we can redress ourselves now.
The new construction consist of the crossed cables
This is a positive thing as we are still happy with the canopy and the up & down construction, hoping to be able use it for a long time to come.

Saturday, April 30th, we left Vreeswijk feeling that was the real start of this summers trip.
What added to the feeling was our turning East on the Lek river when we came out of the Koninginnenlock, and that was a first.
Unknown territory is fun; we didn’t go far as we stopped at Wijk bij Duurstede where we had not been before, by boat that is.

 Wijk bij Duurstede is a picturesque village

We do hope that in coming weeks the weather will be a bit better, especially warmer, because there is work to be done in the garden and the pots.

Unfortunately not all geraniums survived winter, unlike previous year.

The garden did better, maybe better protected by snow?

 People often ask how long it takes to go from A to B and our answer is that is depends on how long, how fast and how often we cruise.
To get you an idea I provide a few figures here.
Over land Amersfoort – Wijk bij Duurstede is a distance of 24 K, takes you about 24 minutes.
By boat that trip takes us over 12 engine hours (hours that our engine is running, waiting time included).
Opening hours of locks and bridges necessitate us to spread the trip over several days.
Since we left Amersfoort the boat did 408 K and 49 engine hours, we are now about one month on the move. You can view the route on the map on top of this blog.
We can do the Amersfoort – Berlin trip in 6,5 days (cruising hours calculated from 6 am to 12 pm, restrictions again arising from opening hours from locks and bridges).
At the end of this season I will provide an overview of planning hours and factual cruising hours for the trip we made, including the shortest route possible to Berlin from Amersfoort v.v. and the track we actually made.
We plan to come back in October so figure it out J

 This is more or less the plan for the coming months

We have started our trip to Berlin and surroundings in earnest now and in coming months I will keep you posted in this blog of what happens to us.
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  1. It looks very much like Nathan is teaching grandpa how to use the electric trolley."Don't go to fast Gramps - you'll frighten the shoppers."