Thursday, 26 June 2014

Tuesday 24th June 2014 Onderdendam to W of Oldehove.


Moorings at Onderdendam
11.9°C Grey, overcast and damp, sunny spells until mid-afternoon when the forecast deluge arrived. We set off at 9.10 am with the washing machine and generator running, heading west along the Winsumerdiep. By the drainage ditch called De Weer there was a boatyard with a nice tug and a cruiser moored plus a row of boats still out on the bank. A large, wide, low cruiser went past, heading east. As we were getting nearer to Winsum a group of schoolkids in orange canoes went paddling past. In the town there were new offshoot arms of the river
Winsum on the Winsumerdiep
surrounding islands of new houses where the river widened out. Under the railway bridge and the river narrowed as we went into the town centre where it became very narrow. Out beyond the houses there were bigger boats moored, including a 40m masted klipper, the biggest private boat we’d seen in a long, long time. Mike overshot the junction with the Messingeweerster Loopdiep and had to reverse before turning sharp right under a low fixed bridge. The navigation was much narrower (about UK canal sized, but without the towpath) with trees on both
banks, but still 2m deep. There were short glimpses of the fields between the trees as we neared the town that gave its name to the canal, Messingeweer. There was a workboat with scaffolding on it and a gennie tethered close to the bridge, so Mike had to slow down to go past it and I had to turn the washing machine off. The next bridge was lower than the minimum height stated on the board at the end of the canal, it had said 3m and the bridge had girders supporting it which reduced the headroom to 2.8m. I started the machine again (trouble with the new machines with electronic controls it didn’t start where it stopped like the old one and I had to do “rinse plus spin” to finish off the load). Out into open countryside, between fields of spuds
Bridge at Messingeweer
that were on a level with our windows. Past the junction with the Messingeweer-Baflo kanaal on our right then came to another stop when faced with a lock that wasn’t on our chart, Abelstok, at the junction with the Kromme Racken. Stopped the machine again. Pressed the panel with a hand symbol on it below the new chamber and the lock gates opened, we went in and I pressed a similar panel among the wooden stumps. Nothing happened so we read the board and went to look for a reset button by the top gates. It didn’t work. We chatted with a young man who was in charge of a group of kids who were getting ready to get into canoes and kayaks by the pumping station. He got one of the kids to paddle over to the top end waiting area and press
Abelstok lock
the panel, nope all lights were still on red. Nothing for it but to ring the telephone number. Mike asked the young man to talk to the waterways man on the phone as yesterday’s lot didn’t speak any English. He did and within ten minutes three waterways vans arrived, two did some surveying and the third was the mobile keeper who fetched a long keb and removed branches from behind the bottom end gates, which hadn’t opened fully. The lock worked OK after that and we went up about 10cms. (Maybe the guy we were chatting to yesterday evening was right about the land sinking and that’s why they’d added this new lock – watch out for earthquakes!) We turned left on the Kromme Racken and paused on the mooring stumps
Canoe portage at Abelstok
while I spun the clothes in the washing machine. Once that had finished Mike took the pins out to disconnect the Markon drive, I made a cuppa and a then we set off again. The new navigation was wider and more open with taller reed edges and wheat fields beyond. The horseflies were about again. A waterways weedcutter boat went past heading back to base as we were passing a huge field of potatoes. The bends in the river went through all points of the compass as it did S bends and W bends, heading generally south. Through the old bridge at Schowerzijl and flood gates (not a lock, just a set of gates) with ancient brickwork to keep the Reitdiep out at times of flooding. At 12.40 pm we turned right on the Reitdiep, a much wider navigation and over 3.5m deep, but still edged with reeds and running between arable land, with big looping bends heading westwards towards the sea estuary that was blocked off many years ago (there is still access via a lock). Paused at Roode Haan for the swingbridge which is remotely operated. As we pressed the button on the
Chalets with grass roofs on Reitdiep
wooden stumps a yacht arrived and went straight up to the bridge which swung open as it got there. We followed it through and it was soon out of sight round the bends in the river. An armada of boats came past heading upriver at KP27, five cruisers and two yachts (one of them under sail, but had his black cone up to say he was running his engine too). Through fields of golden ripe barley with oystercatchers winging their way overhead. We carried on to the Kommerzijlsterrijte where the Reitdiep went through Lammerburen flood lock to the right. Under a road bridge and passed Electra on our right, where the Snails spent
Our overnight mooring in the rain.
last winter, and on up the river. It started to pour with rain as we reached the mooring we were heading for, a row of wooden stumps a couple of metres out from the bank in the middle of nowhere. We got wet tying up. Mike set the TV up for his Mum to watch Wimbledon. 

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