Saturday, 31 May 2014

Friday 30th May 2014 Altenrheine to Lingen. 29.1kms 4 locks

Bella leaving Altenrheine lock
7.2°C Cloudy, grey at first sun out later, still chilly. The cruiser that moored behind us overnight left at eight as a commercial went into the lock to go downhill. The small German yacht that was here when we arrived also set off heading uphill just after eight. We left at 8.25 am following loaded (with scrap metal) 85m commercial, Bella from Cloppenburg, into Altenrheine lock. Dropped down 3.6m hanging ropes fore and aft on bollards set into the steel piled lock chamber. When the lock was empty, masses of crows flew into the chamber to pick off anything edible from the metal
ledges. The little white yacht that we’d seen from the road when we went out in the car was still moored on the waiting area below the lock. We increased speed to keep up with the loaded boat on the 8.5kms to the next lock. A loaded boat called Donna was moored at the long quay before the Vehaus hafen KP122. Straight into Venhaus lock, following Bella, and dropped down 3.5m, again roping down the bollards in the brick walled chamber. The next pound was another long one, 7.9kms, lined with a wide variety of trees, holm oaks, accacias, limes and foxgloves flowering along the banks. We passed empty tanker Eiltank39 heading uphill, followed by a cruiser. No waiting at Hesselte,
The view down Hesselte lock chamber
followed Bella into the lock and descended 3.4m. Three cruisers were waiting below to go up the lock after we’d vacated. Loaded Dutch boat Amazone (67mx7.20m 811T) from Krimpen-an-de-Ijssel was moored below the lock. A short distance to the next, 2.4kms to Gleesen. A deep one at 6.4m with recessed bollards set in concrete walls. There were lots of golden eye ducks above the lock and, unusually, they didn’t all take flight as the boats got nearer. An empty Dutch boat called Marion from Maasbracht (85.96mx9.5m 1886T) was waiting below the lock to go up. It was 1 pm as we left the lock cut and set off down the river Ems, running at around 2kph and consequently increasing our speed downriver. Paused as Bella had stopped and was reversing into the scrap berth at a steel tube works, several boats were already moored in there so it was a bit of a delicate manoeuvre for a loaded boat in reverse. After all the recent rain there was quite a bit of tree debris coming down the river. 6.4kms into Lingen and the sun came out at last. There were lots of red marker buoys to keep boats nearer the left bank as we went through the flood lock at Hanekenfähr, a section of canal about 200m
Golden eye duck
long between two sperrtor (up and over drop-down metal floodgates) and a line of dolphins for the big boats to tie to – noted that there was nothing for sport boats, but then it’s most likely they would ban sport boats from moving if the flood lock was in use. 80m boat Nordwind was unloading at the silo quay in Lingen and loaded 85m Misando was waiting its turn with the crane. At 2.15 pm we turned right into the old basin and found there was a slot between several
Bella reversing into the scrap berth
moored yachts that was just long enough for us. Quay now full! A little later three large Dutch cruisers left. We had some lunch then I gave Mike a hand to unload the moped. It decided it didn’t want to go and started a slight seeping of petrol. Mike took the carburettor off and checked the seal on the float chamber  – it went OK after that. Needs the gasket looking at. It was nearly five when he left but it didn’t take him long to pick up the car and call at Real for bread buns and he bought the film DVD The Physician (12,99€ - £25 on Amazon – because it’s German!) that I’d
Red buoys in Hanekenfahre floolock
seen last time we went shopping (it has an English soundtrack). He was back at 7.30 pm.
Moored among the yachts in Lingen R Ems
Up and over floodgate at Hanekenfahr floodlock

Monday, 26 May 2014

Monday 26th May 2014 Ibbenbüren to Altenrheine. 17.5kms 2 locks

Ibbenburen hafen MLK
12.0°C Sunny spells and clouds, breezy in the morning. Clouding over after lunch, thunderstorms and torrential rain later. No one but us and the boat for sale (Blomholm) in the corner. Set off at 8.50 am and turned left on the last 4kms of the MLK. Met the first loaded boat by the first bridge, Aquarat (85mx8.15m 1199T) with a Dutch car on the roof but no flags (and no polish either, needed painting). Another was catching us up as we turned right at the junction on to the Dortmund-Ems-Kanal (DEK). Oriana (loaded) followed us round the corner to Bevergern new lock. There was a commercial already going down in the deep lock (8.1m fall) and Oriana went on the dolphins
Looking back up the MLK from KP0 junc with DEK
on the right, there was nothing for us to tie to and when two more loaded boats arrived we backed out of the lock approach, winded and went back to the junction. It was too windy to sit above the lock, the wind was gradually blowing us to the left with was a steeply sloping bank with rocks. Mike said the guy at the chandlery place speaks a little English we’ll ask where private boats are supposed to wait for the lock. The young man sent us another 500m towards Münster where there was a mooring place for sport boats (noted this one has an electricity box right next to it). There was a cruiser called Flying Saucer moored there and a
The queue above Bevergern lock DEK
young man was washing it down with buckets of canal water. He was German but spoke very good English and Mike asked him if he would use our radio and tell the lock keeper we were waiting for the lock. He did. The keeper said it would be about an hour and a half, then we could follow tanker Wotan. Great. We had a chat with the guy who said he was about a day and a half from his home mooring at Waltrop on the Datteln-Hamm-Kanal. His girlfriend arrived with a bagful of shopping. I went in to make a cuppa. At 11.10 am the keeper called to say we could come down to the lock. It took us ten
Behind tanker Wotan in Bevergern lock DEK
minutes to get there and three boats were moving, Wotan was going into the chamber and empty Corrado was moving on to the dolphins with loaded Libertas coming alongside and Mondial from Sneek was at the head of the queue. We followed the 85m tanker into the 160m long chamber and attached fore and after to bollards recessed in the concrete wall and went down seven bollards as the lock emptied. Left the bottom at 11.55am. A yacht was waiting on the quay below the lock and two cruisers were hovering in the middle. Mike kept our speed up above normal cruising
Top end gate rises up from the depths. Rodde lock DEK
to keep up with the loaded tanker on the short 3kms pound to Rodde lock. The lock was ready for us and we followed Wotan into the lock and dropped down 3.8m. It was 12.45pm when we left the bottom on the 6kms pound to Altenrheine. Loaded boat Julia from Priessen (86mx9.6m 1500T) was coming up the pound towards us. Mike waited until Julia had gone past then tried calling Wotan on the VHF. No reply.  Christine from Datteln (80mx8.20m 1089T) was unloading sand at a long silo quay at Bochert. Mike tried calling Wotan again and got an answer (German was not the first language of the cheery guy who replied) and told him we
Wotan leaves Rodde lock and we follow at a safe distance
were stopping above Altenrheine lock. OK, he understood. He could tell the keeper in his far off office that we’d stopped, we hadn’t got channel 82 to tell him ourselves anyway! Christine had finished unloading and was winding at the end of the quay to set off back towards Münster. Wotan went into the lock and we went to the left and moored next to the lock island wall in what was the entrance to the old lock (which had been filled in and completely obliterated). There was a small German yacht moored at the canal end and a permanently moored cruiser at the land end. We winded and
Coot and chicks at Altenrheine
tied up with our stern rope on the first bollard after the blue electricity. box. It was 1.30pm. Lunch. Gave Mike a hand to get the moped ready. He connected up the electricity, I checked how much water we had in the tank (3/4 of a tankful) and then I sorted out some washing. Thunder was rumbling round then it started to pour with rain. Mike had missed the rain. I helped get the bike back on board and he moved the car to a visitor parking place by the lock (where the old lock chamber used to be). A Dutch cruiser arrived and moored behind us, crew looking like drowned rats. Another cruiser arrived and moored in front of us, tucked in behind the yacht.
Moored in the old lock approach Altenrheine DEK
The rain came down in stair rods and we had a cracking thunderstorm, which rolled around late into the evening.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Friday 23rd May 2014 Pente to Ibbenbüren. 27.6kms no locks

A few of the thousands of wild lupins along the canal
13.0°C By contrast to the last couple of days it was grey overcast and much cooler when we set off and rain started which lasted most of the day. Mike said the first commercial past woke him around 5am, but the cruiser that went past at high speed and started the boat rocking violently at 6.15am woke both of us. A private contractor’s tug, pushing a series of workboats including a craneboat, went past as we were untying at 8.35 am. Back to wearing warmer clothes, jeans and a fleece – and a waterproof later. Police launch WSP20 was moored by the Police station on the junction with the Osnabrück branch. There is a long loading quay at KP29 Wackum
What an elegant bird! Egyptian goose again.
where Mike slowed down to keep out of the way of a tug which had pulled out and winded using the whole width of the canal to turn, then went to the other end of the pans he was pushtowing to move them along the quay for loading grain at the silo. The rest of the quay was occupied by a huge heap of scrap metal. Not many minutes later we were overtaken by loaded boat Mucki from Duisburg (86mx10.14m 1635T). It started to rain when I went in to make tea as we went into a long section devoid of villages through moorland with thick belts of trees on both banks. I took photos of the banks full of wild purple lupins. A quiet 6kms before the next boat overtook us, Mariëlle, a loaded Dutch boat from Farmsum (84.9mx9m 1397T) at KP21 and shortly after Livia from Duisburg (80mx8.2m 1096T) went past helping to stir up the mud from the bottom of the canal even though it was close on 4m deep. We were overtaken by a large cruiser from Berlin then a large British cruiser went past, Dawnside from St Peter Port Guernsey, at KP19. The rain stopped so Mike took the brolly down, five minutes later he had to put it back up again as it was pouring down –
What are they thinking of? Navi lights!!
then it continued until well into the afternoon. 4kms later a German cruiser went past with full navigation lights on. Mike took a photo and shouted to the crew as they went past “You’ve got your lights on!” – expressions of bewilderment (car drivers!!) Visibility, although it was raining hard, was at least 3kms in each direction. Where the little river Recker Aa went under the canal there was a large crane with a skip on chains, which they were tipping mud from onto a pile on the canal bank, they must be dredging the river. Strange way to do it - with a skip! Quartzit from Ibbenbüren went past loaded with what looked like soil at KP15 as we were overtaken
Emptying dredgings from a skip
by Claudia, a loaded boat from Seevetal (80mx7.9m 960T). We were passing a large farm on the left bank, pooh! – a pig farm! Another smelly one! Views of the distant Teutoberger hills. Quiet again for a few kilometres then at KP11.5 Energie (80mx9.2m 140T) loaded with damp woodchips went past – downwind of it the smell was disgusting. A large steel Dutch cruiser went past at KP10 followed by a loaded boat (86mx9.35m 1311T) called Desiree (the bows had been repainted, the name was on the tender, but no flag or port to s
An unloading staging near Obersteinbeck
ay where it was from). Took photos of an old unloading place with a conveyor on rails at KP9 by a big winding hole at Obersteinbeck. A pair of light coloured (some sort of hybrid?) ducks were by a quay wall, then we saw a pair of mallard having a frenzied feast in the middle of the canal – they were eating a very large dead carp! Never seen ducks eat fish before. At KP7 Xena (105mx9.5m 1864T) a loaded boat from Peissen went past with a car on its bow under a car port. He was followed by Recaro, an empty from Bad Pyrmont (77mx8.20m 1044T). There were three boats on the quay at Ibbenbüren, an empty called Amazone from Douai (first
A pair of mallard ducks devouring a dead carp
French boat!!) 80m x 9.5m 1500T), Morane from Ibbenbüren ((85mx9,5m 1044T) who had just finished loading and was washing down, plus a loaded boat called Corrado from Groningen NL (80mx8.5m 1352T). We turned left into the old arm and winded to moor behind the Berlin cruiser that had overtaken us earlier, it was 1pm. At last a quiet mooring, if you don’t count the shunting engines on the railway on the far bank, but nothing should go past us here,
Car port on the bows of Xena
except private boats to a marina, as it’s a dead end. Noted that the old arm was 3.7m deep by the piling next to our bows. It continued to pour down with rain as we had lunch. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Thursday 22nd May 2014 Bad Essen to Pente. 30.4kms no locks

Half-timbered farmhouses nr Herringhausen
15.7°C Hazy sunshine. Light thin clouds. Windy from midday. Set off at 8.20 am noting that they’d built a new offline basin by the new houses next to the ancient silo building. No more temporary convenient moorings for cruisers and commercials to go and shop at Aldi! Just after we set off loaded boat Balge (100mx9.5m 1822T) overtook us as a loaded Bromberger BM5512 went past. At bridge 59 we heard what must have been an owl, the surroundings were very noisy with traffic on the bridge and construction work going on very close by. At KP60 a loaded
Half-timbered farmhouses nr Herringhausen
Czech boat from Decin went past. A short distance later we passed an unloading quay where the crane driver was hard at work stripping the bark off some very large tree trunks by lowering them on to a set of four pairs of contra-rotating discs with serrated edges. Typically, the batteries in the camera expired. Two kilometres on we passed an empty called Harmonie (80mx9.5m) from Duisburg. The banks were filled with the purple spikes of wild lupin and clusters of white ox-eye daisies. Near KP56 there was the most awful pong that immediately brought back memories of an East Anglian maggot factory, even with two sets of four tall ventilator stacks it still stank
Old barns with modern solar panels nr Herringhausen
abominably. We were very glad to get upwind of that! Through gaps between the trees there were views across to the distant low Wienhengebirge hills and in the foreground half-timbered farmhouses among fields of wheat. A Belgian boat, a rare sight here – and we’ve yet to see a French boat beyond the French border – Catania (67mx8.2m 890T). I made a cuppa and Mike put the sunshade up. A gap of 3kms before Eiltank67 (85mx9.5m 1605T) a loaded tanker from Duisburg went past, churning up
The white dots are BEES!
loads of mud. Strangely it was sporting a Friesland (northern NL province) flag on its bows. Around KP50 Mike spotted a load of insects and as we got closer it became clear that they were bees, swarming. He took a photo. Then we had the quietest spell for a long, long time, nearly 5kms with no passing boats. It was nice to have the boat running straight without having to keep shoving the tiller to compensate for the stirred up water. A speedboat cruiser with an orange hull put paid to that at KP46 as we crashed through its wash - bank to bank waves, watering the towpath. It was closely followed by Marjolien (80mx8.2m 1101T) an empty Dutch-
A Springer like you've never seen before
flagged boat with a German car registered at Hamburg on its back cabin roof. Two kilometres and Berliner ED-line’s tug Edlena went past pushing two loaded 32m long 400T pans. Fast catching the tug were five cruisers, four Dutch and one Belgian. At KP41.5 two empty pans were the only boats moored on the long commercial quay. Just after that Amazone went past, an empty Dutch boat from Krimpen-an-der-Ijsser, with another orange hulled cruiser overtaking it. Close behind that was an empty Polish boat, Alfa (57.61mx7.6m 514T) from Szczecin, one of the smallest boats we’ve seen working on the Mittellandkanal. Dorothea from Dortmund (100mx9.5m) loaded with coal went past, followed by an empty called Rolfe
Moored at Pente - the blue thing is a sperrtor
- a flood protection gate
as we were being overtaken by Ambulant from Minden. A Polish tug Bizon06 pushing three 32.5m long loaded pans was being overtaken by Blackbear (85mx8.2m 1333T) a loaded tanker as we went past, which made the water very lively for a while. At KP34, as we passed the silo quays at Gartenstadt, another loaded tanker went past, Minor (80mx8.2m 1214T) from Rheinberg followed by Thekla (100mx9.5m 1771T) a loaded boat from Dortmund – whose crew were lighting a BBQ right on the stern of the boat. A Czech boat called Margit went past at KP32.5 loaded with finely minced, very smelly steel scrap. A cruiser went past as we winded at 1.25pm to moor on the quay in Bramsche. As we finished tying up a loaded coal boat called Samaro from Minden went past to test the ropes. Gave Mike a hand to unload the bike and get his gear ready and he went off at 2pm to collect the car from Hille while I attempted to catch up with log, blog, photos and e-mails. Hope the Internet is a bit faster at Pente.

Wednesday 21st May 2014 Hille to Bad Essen. 25.9kms no locks

Unloading steel coils
14.2°C Sunny until late afternoon then cloudy but hot again. A large loaded commercial hovered in the middle, using his crane to move his car from one side of the back cabin roof to the other (we wondered why) while we were getting ready to move. Set off for the second time at 8.50am after we paused while I hopped off to check that Mike had locked the car, he had. A bemused fisherman, who’d just arrived with a moped towing a trailer, was setting up camp where we’d just set off from. Sun shade up, a first for this year. I wore a skirt and sandals
More Egyptian geese
 instead of shoes and jeans, that’s another first for this year. A WSA tug and workboat were moored under bridge 119, doing a bridge inspection from underneath it. I changed over duvets – winter to summer as we sweltered last night – while I made a cuppa. An empty called Allegro from Rotterdam (105mx10.5m 2433T) was moored on the quay at KP80 Lübbecke, where a square fronted boat called Frankenwalde from Koln was unloading his cargo of steel coils. At KP77.5 we passed a loaded boat called Regulus (80mx9m) from Hamburg followed by a cruiser. Really stirring up the mud again today. 500m and another loaded boat
A Dutch Barge! Longer than Temujin!!
(80.25m x 8.25m 1156T) went past, called Aquarius from Berlin (renamed from Ed-Ron, embossed on the bows). Another 500m Saturnus an empty Polish boat (85mx9m 1428T) and another cruiser – one doing a reasonable speed and making little wash. A loaded Bromberger, BM5522, went past at KP76 flying a German flag. Another first – a private boat longer than us! It looked about 20m and was a
Diver in the canal
German-flagged tjalk called Vertrouwen from Dortmund – there was a lot of waving, photos and mutual appreciation as we passed at KP75. An empty Dutch boat from Millingen called Lumina went past half a kilometre further on. A diver was in the water by bridge 107, KP74. KP73 there was a moored empty called Nordland (67mx7.3m 708T) and a small Dutch cruiser pulled in behind it – there was a very good “pub” just up the lane from there, always busy last time we moored there. At KP72 Atlantis went past loaded with 1500 tonnes of very smelly scrap metal, followed by Elbia whose wheelhouse was almost completely curtained, surprised the steerer could see where he/she was going! An empty called Susanne from Eberbach
Another hitch hiker
(82mx8.2m 1132T) went past at KP70. A mystery on the next section. Why have they changed the numbering of the bridges? We went under bridge 101 and the next bridge was number 70 at KP68. ?? Labe1 a loaded Czech boat from Decin went past then I took photos of the the village of Wimmer and the Wiehengebirge hills behind it. An empty was catching us up at KP67, the first overtaking boat of the day. It was Allegro, the Dutch empty that had been a Lübbecke this morning. We slowed down so it could overtake us before two loaded boats came past from the opposite direction. The lady of the boat stood on the boat’s side deck as it overtook us,
Wimmer and the Wienhengebirge hills
keeping an eye on us as the skipper was too high up to see us. A loaded Sunrise tanker called Jan (84mx9.6m 1886T) from Hamburg went past, closely followed by Trinitas (85mx9,5m 1520T) a loaded Dutch boat from Zwolle. I checked the depth 3.4m, there was mud everywhere again. Quiet for a short while, then at KP65.5 a cruiser went past followed by an empty, Concordia (67mx7.10m 718T) from Glückstadt, and I took a photo of the Wiehengebirg hills across the bend in the canal looking towards Osnabrück. An inflatable went past as we arrived at the mooring in Bad Essen and two Dutch cruisers were also making for the same
The Wiehengebirge as the canal winds round to Bad Essen
spot. We let them in as Mike winded to put our side doors on the outside. It was 1.25pm. As we tied up a loaded pusher pair carrying coal went past, Antaro (59mx9m 1090T and 85mx9m 1548T) Mike chatted with the Dutch skippers who said they would be here for a couple of days. A party of youths arrived and started jumping off the footbridge into the canal and were joined by several girls who did the same. Polish! They did a BBQ in the wide space by the boats. Traffic still busy as we had lunch and on into the evening. Mike did some phoning to get Poste Restante in the Netherlands sorted out, difficult but we think we cracked it.
Moored at Bad Essen

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Monday 19th May 2014 Nordholz to Hille. 18.6kms no locks

Building a new lock next to the old one at Minden
10.7°C Grey overcast until mid-morning, and then sun came out and it was actually warm. Set off at 9.35 am heading the wrong way first to make sure we had enough time to run a short wash programme before arriving at the water point in Minden. Julien (80m 1118T), loaded with coal went past heading for Hannover. The washing machine wouldn’t spin dry a big bath mat as it was heavy and it couldn’t get it balanced, so I had to abandon the programme and tried a simple spin – it still wouldn’t spin it. Heaved the mat on to the front deck and hung it over the top plank to drip. Paused at Minden for water and topped the tank up. We took on 430
Police boat no 22 from Minden
litres. Mike used the new water fitting with claws but managed to lose the washer out of the hose connector, it dropped in the canal and sank – something else for the shopping list as we haven’t got another. A cruiser went past and a loaded boat from Zwartsluis while we were on the water point. Minden seemed to us to be quieter than normal as we set off again at 11 am, perhaps because it’s Monday and lots of boats reached their destinations over the weekend and are now loading or unloading. Dealo from Merksem NL was unloading what looked like peat. Both moorings for private boats in Minden were empty and we noted that one had now got a blue box for electricity right at the end and easily reached by sport boats. Police boat WSP22
Bows of empty push-tow Damar and Trias
Minden overtook us, crew waving as we passed just before Br 139. On the long mooring quay for commercials in Minden there were only two boats tied up. Another cruiser went past followed by a loaded boat, then an empty double 80m pusher Damar and Trias from Ridderkerk NL and a Dutch cruiser. A longish gap then 85m empty called Petershagen went past at KP93.5 followed by another Dutch cruiser. At KP92 an empty called Mississippi went past, then a loaded boat called Alina from Datteln went by stirring the mud up as he passed us. At KP90 a loaded boat called Sachsenland (80mx8.20m 1129T) also went past stirring up the mud. Mike said he’d noticed that the canal depth until we got to Minden was around 4.5m on our echo
Mucki being unloaded
sounder, but since Minden it had been around half a metre less. Desafio, a loaded Dutch boat (82mx9.30m 1635T) went past at KP89.5, gleaming paintwork and not a dent in sight. Many boats on the canal are well and truly in need of painting and some have many dents, especially around the bows. There were two boats unloading at the quays just before Hille, Silja a Czech boat on the left, while on the right there was a boat being unloaded by digger into tipper lorries, its cargo was a fine white powder - it was called Mucki from Duisburg (86mx10m 1635T). A few minutes and we were at our destination, Hille, where the car was parked right next to the mooring. It was 1.15 pm and we were just in time as the WSP boat that had been
Long empty commercial quay at Hille
moored half way along the commercial quay was on its way back when it stopped behind us and a policeman went to take notes about our car and a lady with a dog went to speak to him. Turned out she’d reported the car as being “stolen” as it had been parked there since Sunday morning. Mike went over and explained it was our car. The policeman put his notebook away and the lady was full of apologies. WSP22 set off back to Minden and we explained as best we could to the lady with the dog that Mike does the trip three times, once by boat once by car and once on the moped.
A family of Egyptian geese
on the rocks in front of the boat

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Saturday 17th May 2014 Haste to Nordholz. 31kms no locks

Catamaran called Eat Me
5.6°C Cold and misty, visibility about four to five kilometres but very grey, no signs of the distant hills. Still cold. Sun out much later in the afternoon. Boats were moving from first light as always. All the boats had gone from the quay we were moored at, including the large cruiser behind us when Mike got up at 7 am. The little yacht with outriggers that we photographed yesterday went past early. Mike put the pins in to run the Markon and we set off at 8.20 am. An empty called Franada from Gräben (67mx8m 699T) went past at KP137, followed by a loaded
Confidence, a loaded Dutch boat, hardly a ripple.
boat called Lusitania (82mx8.2m 1860T) from Schwante, (it had a website written on the cabin). Poseidon from Berlin-D (67mx7.2m 736T) loaded with scrap metal went past at KP136, just before Idensermoor bridge. Idensermoor boat club had grown, the offline basin had been extended and was packed with boats. An empty tanker called Elan (80mx9m 1400T) from Hamburg overtook us just after the road bridge as Gota an empty from Duisburg
Passing boats pulling the water - the stones should be underwater.
(86mx9.5m 1380T) went past. It was followed by Ruth, loaded with coal. Morgenstond (70mx7.2m 1030T) a loaded boat from Groningen NL with a large playpen on the hold covers went past at KP134, followed by Jupiter (80mx8.2m 1059T) a loaded boat from Ostrh(hauder)-Fehn and a loaded Bromberger PL. Views were opening up between the stands of trees of fields and villages, but still no signs of the distant hills. At KP131 we were overtaken by an 80m loaded boat called Charon from Papenburg and another loaded boat Jantje (85mx9m 1425T) from Nieuwelande NL, the latter went past with hardly a ripple, lovely
Cormorant watching the traffic going past his little lake
shaped hull. At KP130 an empty called Charlien (79.3mx8.27m 1060T) from Hamburg went past. The catamaran called Eat Me was still on the bank a bit further on, more photos, it was there last year. At KP129 Balge (100mx9.5m 1822T) from Weyhe went past, loaded with coal slack. I went in to cook some part-baked bread buns for lunch and change over loads of washing. Loads of boats had gone by and we’d done 10kms by the time I sat out with a cuppa as we were going through another shallow cutting through woods at KP119.5. A Dutch
A very unusual boat
cruiser went past with navi lights on, followed by a German cruiser called Troll from Verden (we were there last year – on the R Aller) and its crew were waving as we passed the silo quay at Meerbeck. A winding hole had a board with dimensions, max 80m length and depth 2m. Three boats were coming towards us and two were getting ready to overtake us. A duck flew across right under our bows – playing chicken?? Empty Nebokanezer (85mx9m 1437T) went past followed by Bonata (80mx8.20m 1084T) from Wrocław PL at Br158. At the same time as loaded boat Confidence (62mx8.2m 900T) from Krimpen-a-d-Ijsser NL was
Busy Mittellankanal. View of Porta Westfalica
and you can just see the monument to Kaiser Bill
sticking up on the skyline halfway up the slope of the hill
overtaking us a loaded 85m boat called Silvia went past. We got stuck on Confidence’s stern wave – had to stop the washing machine so Mike could slow the engine speed down and drop off the stern wave. The skipper looked back to check, he knew what was happening and waved. I started the washing machine again, it has a rinse and spin function so I set it on that. At KP117 Mike took photos of Egyptian geese with goslings – the camera failed to focus – he’s threatening to buy a new one. At KP116.5 Christina overtook us (80mx9m) another Dutchman
Plaque on the 9 degree east longitude line by the mooring at Nordholz
from Groningen. Same thing happened, we got stuck on his stern wave and had to cut the generator. Set the machine going again on spin-dry. A cruiser called Hippo was trailing the last commercial and asked him on the VHF radio if he could overtake him. At KP116 Wild Katz an empty 80m boat from Minden went past, the cruiser overtook Christina and all went quiet for a while. At KP114.5 Morane (85mx9,5m 1404T) from Ibbenburen went past. Two more loaded boats were catching up. The trees on the left bank thinned out and we had views across the wheat
Just us moored at Nordholz. Quiet when they've all tied up for the night
fields to the village of Seidlung Baum and the distant grey hills of the Bückeberge beyond appeared at last. At KP113.5 an empty called Ascania (62.5mx6.20m 540T) from Datteln went past. Mike spotted a cormorant in an offline lake and took photos as an empty called Moa (78mx8m 1044T) a Dutchman from Leeuwarden went past. There was a cruiser moored at a private quay at the end of a garden at KP112.5 and a small boatyard had a crane and several boats out on the bank. A couple of small speedboats were zapping about (well, it is Saturday) and there was a very strange looking boat moored on the right, so we took photos of it. We were overtaken by Passant (80mx8.2m 1143T) NL from
Nordholz on the Mittellandkanal
Sliedrecht. At last we could see the Porta Westfalica (the Westphalian Gap) in the far distance and the monument on the hill to Kaiser Bill, the mist must be thinning out. The next boat overtook us, Moca (80mx8.2m 1057T) with a lovely old engine going kah-chunk, kah-chunk, kah-chunk, at about 120 revs per minute. Sweet sound. Someone was flying model aircraft as a bright red airplane flew over the trees and across the canal skimming over the trees. A cycling club was on an outing as loads of them went past waving and shouting hello. At KP108.5 an empty called Einigkeit (62mx6.4m 442T) from Hamburg went past followed by a loaded tanker called Tanja Deymann (84.3mx9.5m) making a lot of wash – Mike took photos of the water it pulled back along the bank. We stopped at KP107.5 Nordholz at the end of a long empty quay with silent wharves and unloading quays opposite. It was 1.30 pm and immediately a loaded boat called Ventura went past to test our ropes. OK, we’d got 3.2m under the bows according to the echo sounder. Lunch. Mike decided to leave the car where it is until we move beyond Minden as parking is a problem. Internet was a very good 3G signal Around 4.30 pm we had a visit from the police launch from Minden. A very pleasant crew, Mike went to the side doors to chat with them (excellent English) as they wanted to know the usual things, where we were from and how we got here – across the Channel, no the North Sea – pause – on a lorry on a big ferry boat to the Netherlands. Aah! Yes.