Saturday, 21 June 2014

Thursday 19th June 2014 Nieuwolda to Appingedam. 22.3kms 2 locks

Control panel for Hamrikkerklapbrug
 - easy to work. Key in slot and turn it
then press buttons in sequence.
13.5°C Drizzle, rain and wind. Set off at 10 am. I walked up to the bridge, Hamrikkerklap, and pressed the buttons to operate it. The wind made it difficult for Mike to get the boat alongside the landing (which had been taken over by the café alongside it for tables and chairs, plus a rope between all the mooring stumps). A couple of kilometres and we were at Scheveklap, another liftbridge, this one on a bend with a row of stumps at an angle to the bridge and a narrow wooden plank bridge to the bank – again difficult in the wind. The bridge was easy as it was all press button, but the planks to get back on from were tucked into the bank close to the bridge so it needed some reverse to get to it. Beyond the bridge the navigation was much wider, reed edged with open fields beyond and a cutting North wind in our faces, plus the rain. Mike went in and lit
Scheveklap liftbridge
the Refleks central heating as it was only 18°C in the cabin. Under two more low bridges with two fishermen by the second one, which was low skimming the top of the flag staff on the tiller. Turned left into a new section of navigation leading via liftbridges and a lock to the docks in Delfzijl. Mike called on channel 84 and got no reply so we went alongside the the wooden stumps and called on the intercom. This time we had a reply and the guy asked us to go closer to the bridge. It was a modern liftbridge with no top, called Borgsweer, and it lifted as we got closer. On to the lock, Lalleweer, which was empty and gates open ready for us. Uphill, so we
Lalleweer lock and liftbridge, Delfzijl
put ropes through recessed loops in the wall fore and aft and rose 2.1m. The liftbridge across the top of the lock lifted and we carried on along a much wider navigation, 5.5m deep and choppy, where there were large commercials at the quays. Miryana from Zwolle (105mx11.4m 2800T) was unloading smelly recycled woodchips by grab into lorries. The next liftbridge was a conventional styled one, Heemskesbrug, carrying a busy road. No reply on the radio again, so we headed for the wooden stumps and had problems with the wind blowing the boat off before I could get a rope on a stump. At the second attempt I got the rope on as the liftbridge lights
Kleine and Grote Sluis - boats coming up off the Ems estuary
changed from red to red green, let the rope off and went through it. Once we were through the bridge I steered for a bit while Mike went inside. The wind blew plants over on the roof so I stacked them on the front deck. Currency, an empty tanker, was moored by the oil refinery berth in Oosterhornhaven. Turned left into the Oosterhornkanal, under the Weiwerderbrug - which didn’t need lifting for us as it had an ample 3.8m air gap. Turned left again on to the Eemskanaal. A big empty boat was coming up in Grote Sluis behind us and another loaded
boat was waiting to go down the lock. There were lots of moored commercials in the Farmsumerhaven so I took photos. Loaded boat Margarethe (80mx9.35m 1250T) went past heading for the docks with a masted yacht following it; then the boat that came up the lock overtook us, an empty called Nocht (110mx11.45m 3248T) from Drachten, it came past us quite close. A coaster called Isartal, registered at St John’s, was unloading more stinky recycled wood at a berth on the right and a bunkerboat called Main III went past making a rolling wash up the bank. A cruiser called Passe Partout overtook us and continued down the Eemskanaal as we turned right into the Oude Eemskanaal. An empty cement carrier called Reguliersgracht from Amsterdam was moored by the De Graaf shipbuilders (took photos of the bits of ships under construction). The next liftbridge, No 15, was closed for lunch until 2 pm so, with a little difficulty due to the wind we moored alongside a sloping grassy bank to wait at 1.45pm. The keeper was back early and we were soon through his bridge and we turned left for Roggenkampsluis
Coaster Isartal loading stinky woodchips
(6m wide by 28m long) and the bridge keeper worked the lock from his cabin by the bridge. Down 1.7m on to the Damsterdiep. The chart was wrong, below the lock we could go left or right (the chart marks it as straight) we went right then spotted another liftbridge to the left so Mike backed up and we went under the bridge then through the outskirts of Delfzijl, passing some very fine houses and moored boats. Then we came to a liftbridge with nowhere to get off. Spotted some writing on a board by the wooden fendering next to the
Shipbuilders De Graaf. Delfzijl. Eemskanaal
lock and spied a box. Bows right up to the deck of the bridge and I opened the box to find a key slot. Turn the key in it and the keeper will come. He did, on a scooter, and I asked if we could stay overnight on the quay behind us next to a Museum, nope it’s not a mooring just an old quay. We could go through this bridge and moor before the next one, he said. OK. He pressed the buttons to lift the bridge and we ran through to the wooden decking with stumps that was the waiting area for the next liftbridge in the town centre right next to the Co-op. He was there to take
Below Roggenkampsluis. Delfszijl
a rope and said we could moor there for 24 hours for free, on the other side of the next bridge we’d have to pay. Great, fine by us. He also suggested that when we set off next day to go back to the first liftbridge and take the old route through the town. It was 3.15pm and we were damp and windswept. Around 9 pm there was a lot of noise outside so Mike went out to look and found a police car opposite the boat by the entrance to the shops where there was a group of youths. It went quiet again after that.
Moored by the Co-op in Appingedam 
Oystercatcher at Appingedam

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