Cruising with an inflatable Sailboat Part 2

Haven’t read the first part yet? Then you should read it! 

Part 2 – 30th August till 07th September 2014

30th August 2014

It’s the first day at which I’m not planning to move on. It’s so beautiful around here with the sea, I definitely don’t want to leave… Not yet.

I would have loved to get up and to the sea, but since there is a loud street near by which kept me from sleeping well at night, I’m still tired. But thee main reason why i didn’t get up early was, that it was raining. And it wasn’t just a little bit – no, this one war strong.

So instead of getting up, I did the same thing as Yesterday evening. Reading.

 

It was around 8 a clock when the rain ended. Now i got up and to the sea. I enjoyed the view wile walking into the town to the groceries store. The stuff they had wasn’t what i expected, next time i would visit another one.

But that was forgotten on the way back. The sea has this great thing, i don’t know what it is. But the waves, the wind, the smell… It’s just…

 

Soon After breakfast on the camping round, I walk back on the dike. This time, to only goal was to enjoy the feeling of being here.

Also, I had a book and a little camping chair with me – which made it even better.

 

Jumping from stone to stone like a child, I moved away from the city and all the dog owners walking dogs around here. I like dogs – and also sometimes some humans – but it was great when there were less and less folks wandering around.

Now, having found a nice and quite place I sat down on my camping chair. There were no more people talking and laughing around me, no dogs walking by. Just the sound of the sea, hitting the dike… and some seabirds.

I’ve spend hours, just sitting there. Looking at the sea, than reading a view pages and looking out there again. It was simple – and absolutely wonderful. While looking out to the sea, I can see sailing boasts, cruising between Kornwederzand and Harlingen. I wished I could be on one of this boats at this moment. But still, it was just great sitting there and I was really happy.

While looking out there, it happened that some pretty dark clouds were coming near and near.

Some people were walking by and talking about those clouds – believing they wouldn’t come to Harlingen. But I knew better. Not just that I was here which itself would be a good reason for bad weather to hit Harlingen, the clouds were also heading directly towards the town.

Out there, over the sea, it’s already raining and soon, there will be some bad raining where I was at that moment. If I had learned anything in the past week it was one thing: never trust the weather.

I have to get back to the camping ground, but there isn’t a reason to hurry… Not yet. So i enjoyed the view. The clouds didn’t damage the picture. In some strange, wild way they changed it – not better but also not worse. There it was – the face of the wild sea. So beautiful.

 

While walking back to the camping ground, I looked out to the clouds again and again. When I was on top of the dike right next to the camping ground I realized, that I had waited some seconds to long with walking back. There were just seconds left until it would start raining.

What happened next could be in a movie – I have to smile while just thinking of it.

Walking down the dike, I closed my sailing jacket and put up the hood of it. Some people walking by just looked at me like if I was crazy. And then, just seconds after I made myself as rain proofed as I could with what I had with me, it started raining. Not just a bit but a lot of water just fall down from the sky. The rain was really strong.

Even while I meant rain, it was pretty great to be right with the weather at least once. I was sure, that would change – I mean the fact that i was right – but still, great.

As strong as the rain was, as fast was it over. Five, maybe ten minutes. But still, since the book was really great I spent around a hour reading in the tent before I walk back on the dike into Harlingen.

Not just the old buildings are nice to see – there are just so many old, traditional sailing boats around there, as a sailor, you have to love it.

But even with all this great things around, I feel like I have to leave town. There are just to many people, I can’t handle so many humans. At least not now, after the past week. Shortly I asked myself if this is normal – and then decided to ignore this question.

After shopping groceries once again, I walk (needless to say: over the dike) back to the camping ground. I allowed myself some well tasting lunch which needed more gas than usually. But I had more than enough left so this didn’t matter.

While writing about this day and powering up my electronics I watched the end of the festival in Harlingen. There was a big firework I could see from the camping ground.

While lying down, I’m a little bit sad. Half the voyage is already over… The last day especially since leaving Woudsend have gone by very fast. But it was such a great time and I’m sure that there is a great week ahead of me so when I finally fell asleep, I was quite happy about where I was.

 

31th August 2014

 

Stay or go one. This was the decision I had to make at the next morning. The weather was good, nice wind and even the direction was good for what I had planed. But: Leaving would mean leaving the sea – I I didn’t know when I would be capable of coming back. For sure, it wouldn’t be more than a year. But still: My heart wanted to stay.

So I decided to… decided nothing for the moment. It was really hard for me: I had to decide between sailing and the sea. And – how the hell should I do that? I wanted (and still want) both! So yeah… that sucked.

To have as much information as possible, I got my iPad and went to the restaurant which was part of the Camping ground. I ordered myself a cup of hot chocolate – and the Wi-Fi Key. Pretty fast I had both.

First thing I did was checking the wind report. I didn’t care about the weather much – the wind was important.

Without a decision, I enjoyed my chocolate. It tasted quite well.

Back in the tent, I took a look of the map.

Today and tomorrow, the wind would come from the west so going east would be perfect downwind sailing. Two days from now, this would change – and one day later again. I had to get to Leeuwaarden which was normal for two days. But, thinking about it: It should also be possible for one day. Of course, it would be more than five to six hours, but hey! One day has 24 hours so that should be possible! On the other hand: It wouldn’t be easy, being that long (not 24 hours but for sure more than I had been before) on board. So, should I really do it? But thinking about the two day variant, I realized there was no place on the way where I really wanted to stop. Sure, there would be some nice town – like everywhere around here. But no place I wanted so much to be like here, near to the sea. This made the decision simple: I wanted to stay for one more day.

But: I wanted to use this day. So after talking to the guy in the reception, making sure me staying would be no problem and packing some stuff in a back, I went for a walk.

If it would have been hot, I might have taken a bath in the sea, there was a beach near by. But therefore, it wasn’t the right season. And this was so much fun, I didn’t miss anything.

Cause there are less people and no town near by, I walked south. But instead of using the way, I walked and jumped – once again – from stone to stone. This was much more fun. When there were less and less people I also started singing. To be fair: I can’t sing. Not good at least – it’s more like…. Bad. But this didn’t stop me, there was that feeling in me and it was so much fun…. Since no one was around I could hurt with that, I just enjoyed this little freedom.

 

Suddenly a Sheep stood directly in front of me. But when I remembered that this was quite normal for this area, I just bleat at it and went on.

After walking south for like two hours, the way ended. There was a fence right across the dike. Also, here this part of the dike ended. Looking south, I saw the Ijsselmeer, Looking west and north the Waddenzee.

On my way back, I needed some breaks. I wasn’t used walking with sandals…

What didn’t change was the singing. My favorite song on this day was “Hey Pipi Langstrumpf” – a funny child-song.

A little bit more than five hours after I had left, I was back at the camping ground.

Shortly before closing time, I manage to get to a groceries store and buy some stuff for the next days. It had it upsides that those stores have opened Sundays around here – even while I felt kind of sorry for the woman and men working there on Sundays.

 

Before writing a little bit about the day I had to look for my pen and sharpener. After looking everywhere and making a mess, I finally found them. But who the hell stored them in the wash bag?

Oh, right, that was me….

 

Instead of going back to the tent after writing and charging, I went up on the dike. Today I had finally a great sunset. It’s nowhere so beautiful as at sea. Dreaming, I watched at it. I wasn’t the only one – a bunch of people from the camping ground where also standing there and watching. But when some clouds covered the sun, they left. So I where alone when it looked out again, just to disappear behind the horizon for the day.

It will be some time before I’m back on the coast. I don’t know how long – month, maybe a year. So I made sure to enjoy every second, keeping it in my heart. This was my very own sunset.

A long time after the sun disappeared behind the horizon, I finally went back to the camping ground. I would have loved to stay even longer – but tomorrow I’m going to leave (and I’m looking forward to it!) so I have to get some sleep.

Still: It was a great day and I’m feeling very peaceful.

 

01st September 2014

 

From Harlingen to Leeuwaarden

 

“I have to go”. This is the first ding I will write down about this day later. And basically, that’s it. Of course, I could have stayed but then I would have to choose another way back. And that would have meant rowing my way south – and the same way I had come here. So, with what I wanted, I had to leave today.

Even while my clock rung at 06.30, I didn’t get up. It was seven o’clock when I finally managed to get out of my sleeping bag. But still I wasn’t in a hurry. I build down my tent, stored everything where it belonged… and then went for a walk to the sea. I wanted to enjoy the view one more time and that was, what I did. I had my breakfast there, on top of the dike with the great view about the Waddenzee.

A part of me would like to stay. It’s just so beautiful. But I know that I would regret staying when rowing my way south instead of sailing. Also, another part of me wanted to sail – today. The weather was great and I would be back. So I didn’t even have to decide, it was clear to me that I would sail.

But when I untied the lines at a little bit after nine o’clock, first I had to row. There where a couple of bridges between me and the channel at which I planed to sail.

 

The Channel checked out to be… well I think ugly is the right word. It was possible fo me to sail on it. But there was industry everywhere. Also the waves of all the powerboats jumped back after hitting the riverside. This made it very hard for my girl to sail, all the way jumping back and back and back slowed her down. Since the waves were jumping back, it wasn’t only for the short time when a powerboat passed by. No, minutes after they had passed by, I still had to fight with there waves. To all this, there where big, grey clouds as far as I could see, hanging in front of the sun.

 

But then, there were the little thing which made me smile. Like the one, big traditional Sail ship, not motoring his way up the channel but sailing – without the motor on standby! It was just such an impressive picture.

 

Some times later, I was almost sucked in from a big boat. I had to row and Sail downwind to make sure the effect wasn’t that hard. But still, we came closer and closer to the big boat. But, at the end I was capable to slow the effect down enough to not get in trouble. The big boat made it way west and I managed to get out of it range without harm. Still, I didn’t want to know what would have happened if there would have been no wind and nothing to row…

But that wasn’t enough. All the water, the ship had sucked in came out and made some pretty big waves, jumping around in the channel. It was almost impossible to my lil girl to sail forward.

 

But it was around five in the afternoon when the real trouble started. The weather report for this time was wind force two. But instead of tow it was… zero. And I wasn’t at my goal yet. Or, to be clear: I had some hours of sailing in front of me to reach the port I had to reach! And, with no wind, there was one thing I could do: Row. The channel wasn’t that beautiful, it was cloudy, the waves and no now wind to sail… I was frustrated. Looking forward to tomorrow, leaving that channel and going to another, smaller and possible more beautiful one was a good thing to do, made it me row a little bit stronger.

It was a lot of fun, sailing on the channel. Not course of the channel but cause of the sailing part. Even with all the problems with the waves and ships, it had been fun. But now, I had to row…

Like if all this hadn’t been enough, one more thing had to happen at this day. When the sun touched the horizon, I wasn’t in the port. I had missed the first port, I hadn’t seen the entrance. That wouldn’t have been a problem, but I couldn’t find the next one. It should be somewhere around where I was – but I just didn’t see it. And now, I had to make an decision: Row back a little bit, maybe one hundred meters to a windmill I had seen where I could camp or search for the port, possibly going back to the windmill later and risking to have no light at all when setting up the tent.

I decided to go back. I wasn’t ready for a night sail.

Since it wasn’t exactly a place to spent the night, with or without boat, I had to improvise. I towed my girl to a fence and to a huge tent pig I had brought with me for a case like this one.

While getting my stuff out of BEA, I managed to step into a hole full of dirty water. But luckily I didn’t hurt myself. Also, there was some loud music from a festival near by. And it wasn’t music I liked.

Beside all this, I was feeling happy. I did it – I managed to get here, tomorrow I just had to sail south which was perfect since the wind would make it impossible to sail east. Also I was quite proud of myself: I managed to get here, even while it took me 12 hours onboard my little inflatable Sailboat with just two little breaks to pee. Everything else I did while sailing (and rowing): Getting food ready, eating, navigation…

And, to all this: I finally had a nice landscape around me! The place I landed was so nice, I loved it immediately. But I knew: I had to leave early in the morning.

Even with the loud music, I slept pretty fast and good.

Also one thing should be said: It wasn’t the perfect day, there was lot of trouble, most time not a nice landscape and the weather wasn’t nice either. But: Not a second I regretted that I had left Harlingen this day. It was great to be on the water, sailing again.

 

 

02nd September 2014

 

From Leeuwaarden to an Island south of Akkrum

 

I woke up at half past six. Since I was wild-camping, I had to leave as soon as possible. As fast as possible, I stored my stuff including the tent on board. After that I was ready to enjoy breakfast and the landscape surrounding me.

My bag hurts a little bit from the long day yesterday but It’s all good. I love it here, it’s really beautiful. The windmill, the channel, all the nature around…

At 8 o’clock, I left. Looking back to the channel I had been sailing on yesterday and the first minutes today, I saw the first boat for the day (beside BEA).

The landscape is wonderful around here, I love it. Just that the wind isn’t really blowing yet and I have to row isn’t great. But still, it is a nice beginning for the day.

 

I decided to stop in the next town – Wergea. My storages of water and food are almost empty, I have to refill. Coming from the north, the first thing I saw entering town was industry. Or, to be clear: Boating-Industry. A lot of old boat, some still swimming but looking like they could sink every second, some on land and definitely not capable of swimming anymore. I love boats, seeing them in a state like this almost made my cry.

But the second I left the industry part of the village behind, I found a sweet little town. And in this town, I met the first woman bridge-guard while cruising in Frysia. She opened the bridge for me and, after towing BEA up and asking her for directions, she also told me where I could find a supermarket.

After buying some groceries, I rowed to the ending of the town. There was a harbor – and a public toilet which was clean, a part of the port. The perfect opportunity for me to refill my water bottles!

Leaving Wergea, there was one more surprise: Wind! From now on, I was sailing – not rowing – south! Having a nice sail with a great boat like BEA in a magical landscape… what could I want more? I enjoyed every single second.

Shortly before entering Grou I saw for the first time a sailboat with the blue pennant of the sailing forum I was using. The EmiLu.

Grou is a nice town. Sailing through it was fun, everywhere old buildings, water (of course…) and trees. Especially a lonely hours with some trees on an small island appears to me like a magical pace.

Soon after leafing Grou behind, I managed to sail the wrong way once again. I was to lazy to unpack the map which was stupid. Now I had to unpack it – and look where I could be and which would be the best way to go.

But it checked out to be not as bad as I thought. There was an alternative route I could take – which was, considering the weather report and the wind direction reported for the evening even beater.

Back on the channel I wanted to go on now, I realized that it already was 4 o’clock. The problem with that: Some bridges have a break at 5 o’clock for an hour. And I didn’t know if the bridges in Akkrum were one of those. So even while it was a good sail, I started rowing to be even faster. Reaching Akkum, I realized that It was unnecessary. The bridges here hadn’t a break at five o’clock.

When I left Akkrum, the wind was stronger then when I entered the city. Almost to much for BEA – almost. But since it was just a little bit left to my goal and it wasn’t to much yet, I enjoyed a nice sail with good wind.

Since I’ve been fast, I reached my goal a couple of minutes later. It’s an island which is part of the Marrekrite – the society which offers free berth in the nature all around the province.

But I was surprised how big it was – this wasn’t just a little bit of land inside the water. You could walk around it for quite some time, it was more than one hundred meters long. There was even a small stream on it!

When I stored it this morning, the tent was still wet. But after putting it up, it was dry after minutes and I could get my stuff inside.

The time my pasta needed to get ready I used to write about what happened. And after another day with grey clouds, at this evening the sun finally came out. It was a great sunset. And: How often do you camp on an island, (almost) alone and looking out to an beautiful sunset? Well, for me this is something specially and I loved it. What I great ending for a nice day of sailing.

 

 

03rd September 2014

 

South of Akkrum to Heeg

 

I slept long. After sailing long distances for my little girl the last two days and getting up early to do so, today I had a bit more time. Without a clock ringing, I woke up around 8 o’clock (which is sleeping long to me). And since it was foggy outside, I stayed inside reading a book.

Breakfast time was today at nine and I chose the waterfront as the perfect location. The fog was almost gone, leaving a pretty landscape. The sun is shining, I appreciated the feeling on my skin.

After storing all my stuff in BEA I untied the lines at 10.30 am. There is just a little bit wind but enough for my boat to sail. For one or two hours this worked out well. I was slow – but that’s normal for me with BEA. But since it was a wonderful area around here and I had time, I enjoyed it.

But when I sailed on a channel heading to Langweer, I had to sail against the wind. With all the other boats sailing here, it was hard to get forward. After losing a lot of time for like one hundred meters, I decided to row.

At the next lake, the wind is strong. Force 4, almost 5 I believe. This is a lot of wind for my girl but the real problem was, that I had to wait a quarter hours for a bridge to open. There was a big road so it didn’t open before there was a hole bunch of boats waiting.

At the other side of the bridge, the landscape is beautiful as well. But wind and waves reminded me of what happened last week while sailing between Woudsend and Sloten. Even so, it was a nice sail – not I couldn’t relax.

One think I was proud of was the fact that, even with all the wind and waves I managed to read the map and navigate. I had sailed a little bit to far south and still managed to find the channel – using buoys for navigation the first time.

On the next channel, there is another bridge. I passed it and continued sailing on the next lake. But just for a really short time before heading north. On the channel I used for that, it was forbidden to sail without a motor running in stand-by. Why wasn’t there anything about that on the water map? If the wind wouldn’t have been so havey, I would have sailed the lake south, but with that much wind I decided to sail the 50 meters (or something like that) north on the “forbidden” channel. There was no boat near by and I thought “safety first”.

Sailing on the Johan Frisochannel, I was back were I had been last week. After passing by the Marrekrite Place I had stayed for one night and one last sail for the day on a lake, I reached the Harbor “Heegerwal”. This time, I didn’t sleep on the island but in the port. This way it was possible to me to take another look on this nice place.

Shortly after getting BEA ready for the night, a nice couple comes to me, telling me that they would have seen me yesterday. I found out that they were the ones with the powerboat, tied next to BEA at the Island I had stayed the last night.

After eating a little bit bread with cheese, I went for the shower. It’s almost a wonder, that the harbor master didn’t send me away. I hadn’t have a shower since Harlingen. This would be bad under normal circumstances… but I had rowed a good part of the time, wearing my warm sailing gear! Since leaving Harlingen 50 hours ago, I had been 27 hours on the water. And 21 hours of this, I was wearing my warm sailing gear (was stunk by now to).

The shower was great, I felt like reborn. Now I was actually reading to go near people.

At the tourism office I found some free Wi-Fi which I used to send an e-mail home, telling them I would be fine. After this was done, I went for a walk through town.

I like the Netherlands Harbor towns and Heeg is one of them.

Back in the tent, I thought about dinner. Pasta – Pasta or Pasta? No, I didn’t want pasta… again.

So I went back in town in bought myself a Pizza. Also Italian but different. Instead of eating it in the nice looking restaurant where I bought it, I took it back in the harbor. The view was just way better.

After dinner, I went to the showers to charge my electronics and write some stuff about what happened to me today.

While doing so, I witnessed some nice sailing. A big group of open Sailboats (Polyfalken) – I guess around 20 – sailed into the harbor. One behind the other, maybe one or two meters between them. Without a motor – no, just sailing. And still: They managed to do a great job. There was nobody hitting another boat or needing a second try to dock there boats. What a great thing to see for once not people failing docking but showing how it’s done.

 

 

04th September 2014

 

From Heeg to Warns

 

After getting a new Weather report at the Tourism office, I bought me Vla and roll for breakfast. It’s sunny and I enjoyed breakfast in the harbor. But at the same time, I’m a little bit sad. Today will be the last day of sailing. Well almost – I plan to sail tomorrow a little bit, but it will be just one or two miles. And today I will just sail at places I have been before. Yes, it is a great area, I love the nature around here. Also weather is great. But still, I feel that this voyage is getting to it end.

I have to tell myself to smile, otherwise I would have become to moody.

At 10.30, I untied the lines. I’ve got perfect sailing weather: Sun and a nice wind out of the right direction. What could I want more?

After a way to short time, I left the Heeger Meer and De Fluezen behind. Since thought it would be a nice thing to just sail after putting up my tent, I stopped at De Kulliart. But when I found out, that I would have to pay 20 € for a night if I left my boat in the water… no, that was to much, I didn’t want to pay that amount.

So I continued. But on the next Lake – De Mora – the wind was very squally. While it was just wind force 2, the squalls were something between 4 and 5. To get a little bit rest, I sailed on the channel north. Should I visit Koudum?

But when I got to the bridge, I decided to turn around. I would have to get down the sail and I was not willing to do so.

The Wind wasn’t that strong on the channel, but since it didn’t reach the lower part of the Sail, just the top, it was a wired thing.

Usually, I wouldn’t have done that, but this way I’ve seen at least a little bit of something new today.

Back at “De Mora”, a Squall hit BEA. If I wouldn’t have worked against the wind, my girl would have capsized.

At the same time, a Powerboat drove by, making some heavy waves. They hit BEA at the same Time. All this at once was more than my girl could handle. The leash, holding the Sail got lose at it took some time before I was capable to catch it and hold the sail with my hand.

When I sat back I had a even more scary feeling. It felt like is some air had left the tube. Could it be that all the waves and squalls hitting BEA at the same time was to much?

It was possible for BEA to swim with just one tube, but I didn’t want to risk that. And, what was even more important: I was very worried about my girl. Since I had started this voyage I felt in love with my boat. I wanted to protect her, make sure she was fine.

But there is just one thing I could do at this time: Sail to Warns – where the next ports where.

This gave me some time. While sailing with the sail in one hand, the tiller in the other, I reached the bridge in Warns. I had to sail through this one – the last bridge of this voyage – to get to the port at which I started the journey. I used the time needed for the bridge to open to tie up the sail again. Also I realized that there was no or at least not a lot of air leaving the tube. I would get in the harbor without problems… at least as far as I could see.

Behind the bridge, I entered the port where our journey had started. After getting my stuff out of BEA, a started pumping some Air in her. Holding my ear to the valve, I could hear a little bit air getting out. But when I closed the lid over it, I couldn’t hear a thing. But the tubes didn’t get hard, no matter how much I tried. Needless to say I was worried.

 

Spoiler: Back in Germany, using a new pump, it all worked well again. Not BEA, just the pump I used was broken!

 

Sitting there with my lovely boat, I was very emotional. Worried about my girl – what if she was seriously damaged? Instead of leaving her alone I the water, I lie down on the tube I didn’t worries about to be with her. We have been through so much, I just couldn’t leave her alone at this moment. She wasn’t just an item to me – to me, it was like a living being with feelings, with a soul.

After lying there for some time, I realized what I had managed to do. I had made a real sailing voyage with BEA, me beloved inflatable sailboat! We did it – despite all the people saying it would be impossible. We had such a great time!

 

Later in the afternoon, I got my car out of the hall and drove to Stavoren. Driving a car was quite wired after two weeks of sailing.

I bought some beef. Together with the potato’s I bought in the morning, it would make some nice dinner.

 

Back in the harbor I checked for BEA. But she was fine – not more air had left the tube. She was happily swimming next to the tent.

While dinner, I thought about the past two weeks. I’m just so glad for the time I had – it was so great. I know that this was just the beginning of my sailing-life as a boat owner. I have dreams – and I’m not willing to let them be only dreams forever.

 

Before sleeping, I read the last pages of the last book I had with me.

 

05th to 07th September 2014

 

That was kind of my sailing voyage. I’m back where I started. The next day, I sailed the last meters till Stavoren where I visited a “come together” of sailors of the “segeln-forum.de” There I had the cheapest berth (beside the Marrekrite-places) of the hole holyday. I paid 7 Euro – for two nights. After talking to some sailors I met there, I went back to Warns to get my car. Stavoren is a nice town next to the Ijsselmeer and I enjoyed being there – I met a lot of nice Sailing folks there and the Town is a nice place to be. Another highlight to me where the two pendants another sailor gave to me: One of those blue once, marking my girl and me as part of the “segeln-forum” community and another one from the KNRM – the Netherlands’ Search- and Rescue Organization.

Picture taken back in Germany

I hope you liked it. If you did make sure to follow my Facebook-Page or RSS-Feed to stay up to date.

Before I bought BEA, i sailed for a couple of day’s on an 30” Sailing Vessel. More about that – HERE

Oh – And I have done another voyage with my girl. More about that –HERE

Sebastian

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