Saturday, 15 November 2014

Gouda, then en-route for Haarlem

The next formal stop of the tour is Haarlem, which is a two day passage with an overnight mooring of the skippers choice. First, however, we have a layover day in Gouda.

Wednesday 30th July - a day in Gouda and evening entertainment.

The opportunity to have a day ashore is welcome especially as we are moored in the old city, however, some logistical challenges must be overcome first.  Challenge one is locating and accessing the limited toilet/shower facilities (turned into a social activity all of its own), challenge two is finding a local garage for diesel and humping the fuel cans back to the boat (most of us visitors have not yet become adept at finding the waterway fuel stations) and challenge three is getting access to the locked fresh water points (failed). Add in a fair amount of socialising as crews pass back and forth on the above challenges and the morning passes quickly, then the lure of lunch and sightseeing has me heading into the town centre.

Gouda town square, no cheese market today only a street market but the Cheese Museum, an excellent cafe and interesting side streets make for a pleasant visit, accompanied by the local church carillons which I enjoy hearing.

 Our hosts have organised some local entertainment for the evening, a "Biological Paelle" followed by a session with the local sea shanty choir. The dinner is hosted in a canal-side wooden building that is being restored as part of the local heritage work, with the food and local ale going down well. A boisterous session for what transpired to be the caterers first opening with the new enterprise. After a brief interval it was then on to the further entertainment with the choir.

The local cafe overlooking the moorings became the venue for an enjoyable session with the choir, accompanied by the gaffers and bolstered by good coffee, beer and apple tart in the late evening sun.

With wifi available at the cafe I was also able to make a promised Skype call to a special young lady on her birthday (the 2nd year I have been away sailing on the anniversary!)



Thursday 31st July, Gouda to Haarlem Day 1

To make the intended arrival time in Haarlem tomorrow it is necessary to be within easy striking distance tonight of the Sassenheim road/rail bridge (off NW corner of chart) in order to catch the 06:48 opening in the morning (the next opening is not until 12:08). The tour guide suggests anchoring for the night in Braassemermeer (32), however, I prefer to be closer to the bridge if progress allows and plot a route onward to the Keverland waters (42) a distance of 19 Nm.

The only timing constraint on today's route is the rail bridge (7) North of Gouda which opens at two hourly intervals, the first convenient opening being at 10:27 which the majority of skippers elect to use (including me). This entails leaving the mooring in time for the 08:30 lift of the first of our town bridges and time for us to crowd through the lock again. A few boats opt for a later opening in order to visit the cheese market before departing.

Waiting for the Gouda Spoorbruggen (rail bridges) at a shady "Wachtplaats" with plenty of time for a brew.  Note the algae around the boats. 

The weather remains fine and hot throughout the day and progress is good along the Gouwe, Heiman Wetering and Woud Wetering. I arrive at Braassemermeer at 14:00 and can see a few of the gaffers already at anchor around the lee of islands, Alice Pellow is in company and we agree to carry on to Keverland and moor/anchor there for the night. We have (relatively) open water and a reasonable breeze so it is engine off and a short sailing session, all too soon over as we enter the canal again to the north on the continuation of the Oude Wetering.

On arriving at Keverland via the Haarlemmermeer polder (35 - 40) we find that the area is proving popular and there are no obvious/desirable mooring spots available, so we choose to head for the nearby marina alongside the canal at Kaag. I phone ahead and the dock master confirms there is space and he will meet us on arrival. True to his word he is at the marina entrance and directs us to two adjacent berths convenient to the facilities and what turns out to be an excellent restaurant. Moored up and chilling out by 16:00. Good choice! Also good value, marina fee €11 inc. electricity and showers, evening meal and a few beers at the restaurant €20.

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