Tuesday 29th July, a comfortable distance of 19 Nm to cover but some restrictive bridge times.
The route takes us along De Noord (0 - 9) and the Nieuwe Maas (9 - 13), both busy commercial waterways, then onto the quieter Hollandse Ijssel (13 - 36), with the day's routine set by the timings of two bridges and to a lesser extent the tidal currents. The tour guide recommends a departure from Dordrecht at 13:00 in order to catch the 14:15 opening of the Alblasserdam Bridge (6) on De Noord (which only opens every two hours) and to be at the Stormloedkering/Algera bridge (17) on the Nieuwe Maas before 16:00 as it closes from then until 19:00 for the land based peak traffic.
A guided tour of Dordrecht has been arranged for the morning, alternatively there is free time for shopping and acting the tourist. Come 12:30 and the first of the boats start making their way out of the harbour. The weather is fine but with a fresh breeze (from the wrong direction) and we progress on schedule toward Gouda, with Hyrst of Eremue and other boats with short masts able to take advantage of the 12m bridge clearance at Alblasserdam and get ahead of the fleet. Whilst travelling in this group of smaller boats I notice that Barbara is occasionally operating the manual bilge pump on Moon River but does not appear unduly concerned and going about her usual practice of photographing the route. Maybe a bit of additional maintenance needed on arrival.
Ahead of the fleet: Hyrst of Eremue and East Breeze from Moon River
The sting in the tail for today is the entry into Gouda which requires us to leave the tidal Hollandse Ijssel via the Juliana lock, then into the Gouwekanaal and Nieuwe Gouwe to access our mooring at Turfsingel in the historic area of the city (36 - 45). A further three bridges and a lock to negotiate after the Juliana lock. A passenger vessel (having priority) takes up most of the lock in the Nieuwe Gouwe and subsequently a fair few of the gaffer fleet, including East Breeze and Moon River, get through while I hold for a later opening.
ANWB chart of the Gouda entrance as shown on route plan (waypoints 36 - 45) above.
Our moorings in the area H by the windmill.
On reaching the berthing area I make to go alongside Moon River but get directed alongside East Breeze as Moon River is having problems, emphasised by the number of people taking an interest. Once moored I join the group at Moon River to discover that the boat has had significant water ingress, to the extent that the water level is well up the seats in the saloon! Buckets are being used to clear the saloon water into the cockpit with another team bailing the cockpit water overboard. There is considerable concern as the water cannot be bailed fast enough to reduce the level. A further conflab ensues, then a moment of realization and some mirth as it is noted that the cockpit drains are open and well below water level due to the number of bods on the stern, so maintaining the cockpit water level! Everyone out of the cockpit and magically the cockpit empties. The saloon crew keep bailing and eventually the boat is dry enough to close the sea cocks and start investigating the source of the leak. After ensuring no further significant water ingress was happening and the boat was not going to sink overnight Barbara was accomodated on another boat, with further investigation postponed till the next morning. The problem was eventually diagnosed as a severly leaking exhaust system at the water injection elbow join caused by a combination of a) the hose not fully fitted during installation and b) the hose hardening during the previous days overheat episode and losing the elasticity holding it in place. Repairs were effected and the boat back in commission that morning thanks to the capability of our Dutch hosts and other gaffers mucking in.
Barbara was a great example of remaining cool under duresss, what with the pumping out and helming/photographing as normal whilst underway then dealing with the aftermath of the incident. She did admit to having a little bit more to drink that night than usual though.
Moon River with correct water level restored!
Gouda R&R time