The first thing I did so I would get out of this mess was to take a look on the map. I wanted to be as sure as possible of my location… Otherwise i would risk to get in even more trouble. After that, I tried to row myself out of the reed. But the waves had a clear message for me: No way! We wont let you out of this that easily! Every time I tried to get out of the reed and on open water, they pushed me back immediately. Fuck….
It didn’t take me long to realize the only other option how I could get myself out of this situation. It did hurt in my hart since I knew, I would have to do some damage to the nature. Even so I would try to keep it as small as possible, I knew that there would be some damage.
I had seen a got point to take BEA out of the water around 100 meters north of my position. But since the waves made it impossible fir me to leaf the reed , I would have to get through it. If I was lucky – as far as lucky applies in an situation like that – I could get next to the reed and not in it, but still…
Where I was right now, it seemed almost impossible and even dangerous to take BEA out of the water – so this wasn’t an real option.
But I had made one mistake while thinking about the new plan: I was kind of aground the reed. Even so we where technically still in the water, we where sitting in the reed – and not swimming. Even after I took the sword out of the water it took all my power to move the boat. I had to press the reed in front of us down, than push (yes, push – not row!) my girl a little bit forward, then again to press the reed down… And so on. When I looked back, I saw a horrible picture, you could see where i had been, like a street through the reed. It was destroyed from the water level up, just the part under water still existing.
Suddenly, I saw a big trunk in the water, right in front of me. Again and again I tried to get around it. But every time when I was half way around, the back of my girl got pushed behind the trunk and with out, the hole boat. But taking the way behind wasn’t an option – I would have just gotten deeper into the reed, and this was the last thing I wanted.
After some time, I was tired of turning BEA around and around… So I just tried it the other way around. And- it worked! We didn’t just get next to the trunk, we even got out of the reed and into the water. Immediately, I started rowing. The waves already started to push us back but I managed to row the biggest part of the way we still had to go. Now, we where almost in the bay I was planning to get to. The last meters’ were, once more, hard work. But I was soon done and we arrived in the northern bay of the lake. Wind and waves where way less strong than they had been out on the lake.
I tied BEA up and got ashore. Behind a multihull, in his wind shadow, I took once again a look on the map. There where two possibilities. I could take BEA to the next Harbor. It wasn’t far away – but well, the way was kind of terrible. Since the direct way was impossible – a little forest and a fence where between me and the port – I would have to take her quite a bit over land. And, which was the main reason I didn’t liked this option: I would have to take her for a long way, maybe a kilometer, over a street. If I would do that, I also could just dump her right here – I was (and still am) sure, that the street would destroy the hull. I had no wheels so I would have to pull her over the ground. And a street wasn’t exactly good for the Hypalon, the material BEA was made of.
But there was also another possibility, one I liked much more since it would let my little girl stay alive. I could get her to the channel I tried to sail to and try to get back on the water there. Of course not sailing – sure, this wouldn’t be a good idea. But maybe, just maybe, I could row to the next port in Koudum. I would have to row a bit over a lake, but it wasn’t that far and, If I could get out of the harbor and be prepared, I could get into the channel without anything happening I didn’t want. As far as I could see from this point, it was all pasture and it wasn’t used at this time. So no harm would be done. But before pulling BEA there, I wanted to take a look. The direct way would be around 500 meters – but since there where some fences with gates – open gates – between the channel, and me it was more like 1000 Meters, I guess. And I didn’t know, if there was any reed where I wanted to get BEA into the water. Also I didn’t want to spend too much time here. This was obviously private ground – and I didn’t know who owned it, so it was impossible for me to ask for permission. Otherwise, I might just have asked if it would be okay for me to stay for one night. Tomorrow the wind wouldn’t be that strong and I could leaf on the waterway. But…
Well, I went south. When I almost reached the channel, I had to stop. There was a fence in front of me – a fence without a gate. But even if there had been one, it wouldn’t have helped anything. Behind, there were trees and reed – no way, I would get through that with BEA.
So I decided to go east, the only other point where I might reach the channel. The sun was shining and walked helped me to relax. It took away some of the stress. Then I found a place. There where some big stones at the riverside. Not perfect – but I could get BEA over them without hurting the hull. So that would work.
On my way back, I looked to the ground. But even while I was really looking for it, I couldn’t found stones, glass or just anything that could harm my little girl.
Back with my girl, I took everything out of her. Not just my bags, no, also the rudder, the tiller, the sword and the complete rig. Then, as empty as it would get, I pulled BEA out of the water and took her on land. And now, I got all the stuff I just had removed from my boat back into her.
It took me around ten meters to realize, that this wouldn’t work like that. With all the stuff inside her, I couldn’t pull her very far. It was just to heavy. Grr…
But I had decided to take her to the channel – so this was what I wanted to do. And to do so, I had to take one thing after another out of her, bring it to the channel and then come back.
This would take some time and I had no clue when I would reach my goal. It wasn’t late yet, but still.. taking all my stuff to the channel would take some time.
Back at BEA, after I had brought the first jib back to the channel, I drunk the last bit of ice tea I still had and also some water.
Since the water was the heaviest thing left in BEA, it was the next I took to the channel. For a second, I thought about emptying them, but that decided that this would be stupid. I didn’t know, when I would reach the next port where I could get water. So instead, I brought them all the way to the channel. Halfway, I had to get a little break. It had cut into my hands and I was exhausted. That was some heavy work… What helped was, that I thought that this might even be enough. With the heaviest kit bag and the water out of BEA, she wasn’t that heavy anymore. Still, heavy, but not as much as before.
And I was right. Back, at BEA, I tried it – and it worked! Now I could pull her. Sure, nor for hundred or even more meters. But enough at a time.
The sheet I used to pull BEA cut into my hands and I hurted, but that was worth it. After around one third of the way, I took a break. And got up on the dike.
But what was that? It felt like the wind would be not as strong as before anymore! Or?
And there was no reed around her as well. So… maybe I could row starting here?
I could row to the channel to get my stuff and then continue…
No more pulling BEA, having a sheet cutting into my hands, that would be something…
But just when I thought about it, I felt a squall. Sure, it still felt less then before. But: Here, it would be hard to get my girl into the water. And: Who knew, if there was really less wind. It just could be a mind game, me whishing so and believing that it had been before. Or the wind could get stronger every second.
And getting her out of the water right here if it didn’t work out? Even harder then getting her into the water… No, I would stay with my plan.
While pulling my girl over land, I realized something crazy. I’m happy! I was really surprised. What please! Every bone in my body did hurt, I felt tired, almost empty, nothing had worked out the way I wanted it to (I had planed today to get over De Fluezen and the Heeger Meer, maybe even over the Sneeker Meer. That’s already not an option anymore…) …and, despite all this, I’m happy?
But all this didn’t change the fact. I was happy. Not just a little bit, no, everything inside me was happy, my soul was smiling. It was all good. The sun was shining, it wasn’t cold (even so this might have been an effect of the hard work I had done…) and, the most important thing: I was on my way. This was my voyage. My adventure. Sure, it didn’t work out the way I had planed it to. But, on the other hand: Which good adventure does?
I’m under way! Even so I might if to change my plans, my ideas of this voyage. It wouldn’t end today.
Realizing that I was happy was more than good for me. Suddenly, I had strength again I hadn’t know was still in me.
I had pulled BEA around half the way when I heard a tractor coming closer. I knew from the beginning that this was private ground. But since I hadn’t know who owned it, It hadn’t been possible for me to ask the owner for permission. And, since it wasn’t used at this time, I had hoped no one would care. I hoped that I hadn’t offended anyone.
But even if – the fastest way for me to get away from the private ground was to get me and BEA to the channel since it was the closest exit. So I continued pulling BEA.
And, I thought, maybe he wasn’t on his way to me.
But just seconds after I hoped so, the tractor was next to me. A young man, maybe two or three years older then me looked at me and… smiled.
“Hoi. Kan ik je helpen?”
Surprised – I had forgotten how friendly the Netherlands usually were, one more reason to love this land – I looked at him. Than I stumbled something like “do you speak German?
Yes, he did speak a little bit German and asked me, if he could help me. I could tie my boat to the tractor and he would bring her to wherever I was pulling her. After assuring that I wouldn’t drive fast (my girl wouldn’t like that) I tied her to the tractor.
And the young man towed her with his tractor all the way to the channel. He drove really slow so that I could walk next to my boat, making sure everything was okay.
Also I opened and closed the gates on the way – the least I could do. Later, I realized that closing them wasn’t necessary – the young man with the tractor had to drive back at some point…
It just took us a couple of minutes when we arrived at the channel. I was (and still am) so thankful to the man. But to him, it wasn’t a big thing – like something everybody would have done.
“No problem!”, was all he said.
While the tractor drove back, I looked at him for some time.
Everything was good. I didn’t know at this point, how the voyage would go on from this point. But I knew: I wanted to stay here. The voyage wouldn’t end today. I would make it.
I knew, that I wouldn’t have to sail long distances to have a nice time here. I couldn’t even if I wanted – but I didn’t have the feeling anymore I would have to. For a short time, I had to thing about a blog I like to read – fortgeblasen.at
The sailors, writing this blog were kind of sailing slow and still seemed so happy. And now, I started to understand why.
The distances wasn’t what mattered. It was, what you would get out of the way you’ve walked.*
I was happy. I finally had arrived.
The events in this post happened on 08th March, 2015
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*This is my interpretation. I don’t know them personally so I can’t tell anything about there feeling or the reason why they travel the way they do. If you’re interested – some of the stuff on there homepage is in english.