Thursday, 26 June 2014

Wednesday 25th June 2014 W of Oldehove to below De Punt lock. 38.7kms 1 lock

Entrance to Niezijlsterdiep from Van Starkenborgh kanaal
10.4°C Lots of clouds, bits of blue sky, a few spots of rain first thing, sunny spells later. Set off at 9.05am heading south on the Kommerzilsterrijte, sheltered from the morning breezes by the high banks. A deer on the edge of a cornfield, lifted its head, stared at the boat then leapt in the air and took off like a rocket through the corn! Magic. Through the little town of Kommerzijl where a few boats were moored, then back into fields at window height. The name of the navigation changed to Kommerzijlsterdiep. Passed a tethered workboat piled high with new wooden posts and old wooden planking, with a small open tugboat to push it. Into
Calcit 6 in Ooostersluis
Niezijl, (another name change - Niezijlsterdiep) where we moored once with Rosy in the narrow channel next to a mellow old brick-paved quay, then under a two arched road bridge with traffic only allowed through the left arch. Under trees for a short while then back into open fields and a farmhouse with a pile of shrink-wrapped bales of hay, stacked high. Paused at the end of the canal while Mike connected the Markon so I could do some more washing whilst travelling down the wide deep (5m+) Van Starkenborghkanaal. An empty commercial went past, Noorderkroon, followed by a cruiser on the main line. It didn’t move the boat much
Eemskanaal at Groningen
even though we weren’t tied to anything. Turned left heading east on the Van Starkenborgh, as a cruiser went past heading west and we were soon overtaken by another that had just come out of the Hoendiep. A bunkership called Klaas de Boer from Urk, was fast catching us up as we were approaching a bend with a railway bridge going into Zuidhorn, so Mike did a 360°about turn to follow him through the bridge. Two cruisers heading west passed us on the far side of Zuidhorn, where they were building a new high concrete bridge. A smart new Dutch Barge called Florence IV went past also heading for Friesland, its crew waving; it was British flagged and had its dimensions on the stern (about 26m x 4m) and construction
Junction Eeemskanaal at Groningen
date of 2005. A loaded barge called Shalimar (110mx11.45m 3007T) went past just before the crossroads with the Aduarderdiep. Crossed the Reitdiep with a lock on our right. The washing machine finished just in time for us to slow down for Paderpoelsterbrug swingbridge. Calcite 4 went through heading west, then we nipped through as loaded commercial Dorinta followed us. Hung on the waiting posts while Mike extracted the drive pins and just had time to fling the rope off as Calcite 6 came through the bridge and overtook us. An 86m empty went past and a couple of cruisers overtook us as we went into the suburbs of the city of Gronignen. Passed the end of the Boterdiep, lined on one bank with moored houseboats. A quay next to
Amazing building in Groningen
the Boterdiep had a tap with instructions on calling channel 68 to get it activated, we hadn’t got time to stop as we went under the next liftbridge with a headroom of 2.4m, Korrewegbrug had a swingbridge and bascule pedestrian/cycle paths either side. We followed the two cruisers that had overtaken us earlier into Oostersluis alongside loaded boats Dorinta and Calcite 6. The crew of three men on the latter boat were very chatty and asked all the usual questions. I asked what they were carrying, calcium carbonate for paper-whitening, which they were taking on the Eemskanaal, then up the Ems in Germany to a paperworks  somewhere on the Rhine. The lock filled slowly by just over a metre. Dorinta left first, followed by the two cruisers which turned right on the Eemskanaal and we followed them, Calcite 6 followed us out of the
Van Hallburg liftbridge. Nord Willemskanaal
chamber and turned left on the Eemskanaal. The German cruiser that had been in front of us in the lock was sitting in the middle right in front of the first liftbridge, Oosterhavenbrug, which was high enough at 3.8m for us to get under easily. Mike hooted but he didn’t shift but the bridge opened so we followed him through and then he moored just after the bridge in the Oosterhaven. We carried on down the Zuiderhaven verbindungskanaal, passing under all of the lifting bridges; Trompbrug 3m, Oosterbrug 3.2m, Herebrug 3.8m and Emmabrug 3.2m. When we came to the crossroads we turned left for Eelderbrug at the start of the Nord Willemskanaal; two Dutch cruisers were coming from our right as we turned left, the wind was blowing us around to our right as Mike called the bridge control on channel 9 and the lights changed, then Mike just managed to swing the bows round into the bridge as it l
Mooring below De Punt lock. Nord Willemskanaal
ifted. (As the bridge started working and the barriers came down a lad on a cycle went hurtling across – he’d gone through red lights - and the lowering barriers nearly hit him on the head even though he was hunkered down as low as he could get!) As soon as we were through the bridge the two cruisers overtook us on the 300m to the next low bridge Eendrachtsbrug, it opened within minutes and we followed them to the next, about another 300m, another low bridge Abel Tasmanbrug, then Van Halbrug before the railway bridge, a longer distance to Parkbrug and followed them through it when it opened, we noticed they were through when the lights were red/green and didn’t wait for the green. Another boat was waiting on the far side of Parkbrug to come through. The two cruisers had tied up to wait for the A7 motorway bridge when we arrived, but we could get under it without having it lifted so we kept going and Mike called the bridge control and asked them to lift the footbridge
Glass plane on traffic island by local airport
Muntinghbrug, which they did - but left the red lights on! We carried on through the two bridges. Two more bridges, Van Iddekingebrug and Van Ketwich-Vverschuurbrug lifted as we approached them like magic. Between all the bridges in the city there had been rows of moored Dutch barge houseboats, mostly well cared for but a few looked abandoned. As we cleared the city the noisy A28 motorway followed the canal on the left bank. One small cruiser went past and we were overtaken by a rowing skiff with six young ladies working hard and a prone cox at the bow who looked asleep! Noted that access to the Hornsemeer was restricted in width (probably just for canoes) as were the other access channels for the lakes. A large group of cruisers were moored by the lake (invisible from the canal through the trees). The lady rowers turned back at Meerwegbrug which also lifted as we arrived – this one was worked by a lady keeper who waved and shouted hello. Took a photo of De Witte Molen (the white mill) and shortly after signs announced that we had left Groningen and were now in Drenthe Province. There were some moorings by a swingbridge called Oesterbroeksebrug and we would have stopped there but the bridge lights were on red/green so we continued. A man worked the bridge from a control cabin on the left, he waved as we went past. We stopped below the first lock, De Punt, as there were mooring posts on both banks. We threw lines around the posts on the sloping grassy bank on the left bank. The guy on the cruiser in front was painting his boat. It was 4.20 pm and the sun was shining.

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