You’re a guest, you don’t pay

A smooth wind pushed BEA northwards. It was a beautiful afternoon. My goal? I wasn’t 100% sure yet. I wanted to get to Makkum, but if it would be too late to get there, I also could sail to Bolsward. Both would be fine with me.

From time to time, sailing yachts and a few open sailboats passed by, but most of the time I was alone. The only sounds were the sounds of nature and those my little inflatable sailboat made, pushing herself through the water. A time to dream.

All the bridges opened for me. The people working there were quite friendly, usually I didn’t even have to wait! A bridge, opening for a little 8 foot inflatable – well, that’s something you wouldn’t find anywhere else! The people are just so lovely.

When I reached Tjerkwerd, I had to make a decision. If I still want to go to Makkum, I had to take the canal leading West-Northwest. Or I could just continue to sail north and go to Bolsward. But I had been fast enough – and even to this meant that this would become a long sailing day, I took the canal towards Makkum. Soon after that, the wind died. I had to row. The landscape was beautiful and without hurrying, I continued on my journey.

Some horses joined me as long as they could, walking right next to me ashore. I still can’t figure out why all those horses do this – again and again and again – but it’s always a great experience.

At the next bridge, I had to wait. The light was double red. A break. But I just didn’t want to wait – so I started putting down my rig, just to put it up afterward. But wait – why did I do that? There was no wind, so the rig wasn’t doing any good for me currently. Even worse, the sail, hanging in the middle of my ship was stealing place I could have needed for rowing. And tomorrow? Well, tomorrow I’m planning on rowing against the wind. So no need for the rig as well. A few minutes later, I put it all down again before rowing the rest of the way to Makkum.

Makkum is a beautiful little town, right at the shore of the Ijsselmeer – and not so far away from the Wadden Sea.

BEA was tied to her berth for the night. Well – at least if I would be allowed to put up my tent. This wasn’t a sure thing since “here” was the center of an historical town. And not a camping ground. Following the signs, I managed to get to the harbor master just minutes before he would have closed his office.

After trying talking Dutch a few words, he stopped me, telling me about all the languages he spoke – and which would be best for me.

Then I explained him that I had to put up a tent to sleep – if this would be okay?

“Sure, no problem.”

Happy – I hadn’t had a plan B – I looked at him. He seemed to believe that I thought that I could stay for free – which, of course, I didn’t – and said:

“But of course you have to pay! How long is your boat?”

“8 foot.”

He looked at me with huge eyes.

“Are you the guy, who sailed through all the bridges with an inflatable sailboat?”

“Yes.”

“You’re a guest, you don’t pay.”

What? I was allowed to put up my tent in a really touristic and historical town, in a country where this is usually forbidden – for free? I couldn’t believe is.

“Thank you!”

After putting up the tent, I went for a walk. It was to late to go to the Wadden Sea – but walking through the ports, looking at all those different boats and enjoying the view on the dike to the Ijsselmeere was great as well.

I bought some Fries for dinner and enjoyed the evening. What a nice place to be.

All event’s happened on the 29th of August, 2015.

Back to the first blogpost about this voyage.

Sebastian

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