During the autumn of 2022, Rex aired me out on pursuing a month-long adventure in continental waters, probably the whole of June to avoid continental school holiday periods. Once he had my approval, he checked with his good wife, Meryl, confirming that there were no events cropping up during that month. The feedback was good, Meryl had agreed that we go sailing for the whole of June.
Repairs were carried out on Duonita during the winter months, and in April we planned to do a three day shake down. This turned out to be a sail to Bradwell, followed by two days cowering in the marina there from a torrent of rain, strong winds and freezing temperatures.
With a couple of weeks to go before our departure, we drew up an ambitious rough wish list agenda, aiming to visit new places and routes, and visit places we had not visited for some time.
Our port of arrival on the continent was chosen to be Zeebrugge. A fellow sailor, Paul Kemp, had mentioned to us that he had arrived there last year, and discovered that the passport control was actually based by the marina; a real bonus. The rest of the plan was divided into three sections.
We had a pipe dream of sailing to Antwerp, which lies far inland within Belgium at the end of the very busy, tidal Westerschelde. The channel is very narrow, and huge containerships plough along it continuously. The issue we had with travelling up to Antwerp was the times of the tides when we expected to arrive in conjunction with access times into the marina. It all conspired against us so we dropped the idea.
Section 1 boiled down to sailing from Zeebrugge to Ternheuzen, from where we could get a bus to Ghent. Then, sailing from Ternheuzen through the unexciting Kanaal door Zuid Beveland, we could visit Yerseke or Wemeldinge before calling into Goes. We could get a train from Goes to Antwerp, or sail on to Dordrecht and get a train to Nijmegen.
Section 2 involved sailing to Scheveningen via the Haringvliet and Hellevoetsluis. Scheveningen would serve as a base to explore Den Haag, Delft and possibly Leiden and Harlem.
Section 3 involved sailing from Lemer up the Prinses Margarietkanaal to Sneek, and then do a reverse of what Rex, Meryl and I had covered in 2013. Effectively we would travel from Sneek to Grou, then Leeuwarden. From there we could do a detour up to Lauwersoog via Dokkum. Then head from Leeuwarden to Harlingen, possibly visiting Franeker.
That was an extremely ambitious plan indeed, and when travel time between these sections was taken into account, we'd probably need more like two months than the one month we had available. We knew we had to tweak the agenda as the trip unfolded.
The actual route taken can be examined on the route link. How the story unfolded can be revealed by following the diary link.
Read and enjoy!