Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Pottering through the Polder

JH De Brasem where we stayed last night was indeed an excellent find. We were given instructions by telephone then met on the pontoon with lines caught and a gift of a jar of gherkins. JH stands for Jacht Haven which means yacht marina. The other type of establishment is WV which means something like yacht club - a more basic affair. All of them are much cheaper than the city and coastal marinas, €15 per night instead of €25-30.

We slept shockingly late and finally got underway after 1200, the fresh breeze nicely blowing us off the pontoon and turning us in the small space to exit the very narrow gap. 

It's another steaming hot day, we're thankful for the breeze. We progressed southwards across the Braasemermere (which is open water mostly very shallow - we followed a buoyed channel) down the Woudwetering and Heimanswetering (canals again now) and through Alphen aan der Rign. A very pretty town from what we could see as we stopped, hovered, jilled and then hurried through 8 bridges. Sometimes we tied up, never waiting more than 10 mins. Once an enormous commercial barge appeared from behind and then drifted alarmingly close as we waited for the magical change of lights from red to red-green which means about to open. We had to assume he knew what he was doing although between him and the jetty even our solid Nicholson would have been crushed into (fibreglass) matchsticks. 

We are truly in polder land now (first pic), puttering along 3-5m above the surrounding land which is beautifully cultivated. Even the classic windmills to hand (guess the pic). We decided we did not have the energy for Gouda today, mooring might be tricky, so we executed plan B. Turning off the main canal into a side canal called Otwegwetering we tied up and telephoned a number given to us by the WV we're heading for. Five mins later a woman appears on a bicycle and hand winds the little bridge up with much smiling and waving (pic). 500m further on is the alongside berthing at WV De Gouwe also confusingly known as JH Boskoop. An elderly gentleman advised us against squeezing into a small gap and directed us to a larger slot with a green collar around the bollard which means available to visitors. 

I should say that at the entrance to the side canal we had 0.0 under the keel and all the way up it is only 0.4m. Outside the main canals (where we usually have 2m or more) is not for the faint-hearted re grounding. 

That aside this is sleepy heaven in the countryside. No-one about, perfectly adequate facilities, floating holiday houses on the opposite bank. A motorboat arrived, a friendly Austrian family - unusual to see Austrians in boats. As the sun begins to dip and the heat eases we prepare a small chicken curry aboard and anticipate G&T or Scotch to toast the sunset. 

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