Saturday, 20 August 2016

Half way notes

In time and miles we're about halfway. How to summarise the trip so far? 

Certainly successful in that last year we airily said "we'll go to Amsterdam and see some canals" without much idea of what was involved and needed. Then with minimal planning, a lot of it as we go along, we've made it work. Only today did we try to buy a chart for the Delta area because it is not covered by Staandemastroute or by Imray Netherlands charts (that we bought online in UK the week we left). The one Chandlers in town was open and he did have one copy of exactly what we needed. 

One downside was the 26 hour crossing, in that we asked ourselves "why do we do this" at 2am when approaching unidentifiable lights. And yet it is great experience and nothing bad happened. Another downside is the many mooring manoeuvres every day due to bridges and locks, and the small marinas. Our lovely strong seaboat is difficult to control at close quarters. And yet all we have is a couple of scrapes and some embarrassing memories, both of which can be polished away. Plus plenty of boat handling experience for the future. The language had also been a struggle; although they almost all speak English, the key navigation and information books are resolutely in Dutch only. And bridge timing info differs between 2 books and a website. Thank goodness for Google Translate! 

One could conclude from this that sailing out to sea during daylight is the way to minimise stress, and that's true if you are away from shipping lanes, shallow waters and vicious tides. Oh, that's why the Med is so popular! Ah but we don't like it that hot. Hard to please or what? There is another angle to reducing boat stress, and that's to stop doing entirely new things and places, and go where we have gone before while we still remember the tricks and rules for getting in and out. 

Of course we're glad we came and we're looking forward to more open water as we make our way home. 

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