Sunday, 27 July 2014

Monday 21st July 2014 Jutphaas to Arkel. 23.7kms 2 locks

18.0°C Dull and overcast, heavy rain later. Winded and set off at 9.30 am noting the the “no mooring” area continued beyond where we’d tied up and went as far as the junction with the Doorslag (which leads to the Hollandse Ijssel). There were just two cruisers left on the “no mooring” area of grassy bank and both were permanent moorers. We turned left, keeping on the Merwede Kanaal, into Nieuwegein. The first liftbridge had ample room for us to pass underneath without taking the mast down, then we had a short wait by the Wiersebrug, by the steel works (used to be British Steel, then Tata, now it’s got a Dutch name.) Passing into the town there were many moored commercials with private boats moored alongside them. A boat club
Mooring charges at Vianen
moorings on the left looked pretty full, might have been a slot for about an 8m long boat. Signs said the moorings on the right were for commercials only and restricted to 14 days, there were quite a few DBs among them and one small cruiser tucked in between the big boys. On the opposite bank there was a line of houseboats stretching all the way down to the lock, Koninginnensluis (12m wide by 120m long) with a liftbridge across the top end gates of the lock. We threw a rope around a bollard and waited while three
Watering up at Vianen,
note 8m length of mooring from water point = 10m overhang!
cruisers came up in the double chambered lock (bottom end chamber, which is hardly ever used, can turn it into a staircase if need be). The liftbridge went up, the cruisers left and we went in, liftbridge down again and a ten minute wait while two more cruisers arrived, liftbridge up again and they came into the chamber and went right to the front, liftbridge down again. We dropped down 15cms (the drop depends on the water levels in the river Lek, a branch of the Rhine) and followed the two cruisers out of the lock – there were three more waiting to go up. We turned left on the Lek – amazed that we saw no commercial traffic, then right into
Wooden staging at Vianen
the continuation of the Merwede Kanaal. The waiting area below the lock had been turned into a passanthaven with boats moored both sides of the passerelle. Mike called the Grote Sluis at Vianen on the radio and had a reply from the keeper. After a short wait the gates opened and an empty péniche called Nova Cura (39mx5.05m) from Tiel came out first and was followed by nine cruisers of various sizes. Just us to go up. The keeper came down on to his lockside to chat as we rose 0.6m. He
A lockful of boats turning into the arm for water
wanted to know where we were going. Surprised we were going all the way to Arkel and not going up the river Linge (another contender for the prettiest river in the Netherlands, but no moorings convenient for us and everywhere else on the river had no mooring signs when we went up it and back many years ago). We told him we could exit the lock without lifting the Julianabrug. He had to lift it shortly after as there were four more cruisers heading for the lock. On the mooring areas both sides of the canal above the lock, there was only one commercial moored, called Boreas (it looked about 67m), probably its crew were on their
Chaos reigns as they all get in the way of one another
all wanting water!
holidays and everybody else was missing as they were working! Usually it’s quite crowded. We turned right into the arm where there are moorings in Vianen and paused while we took on water. The last 8m of the long wooden landing stage was reserved for the water point and a cruiser was moored immediately at the end of that. I put a side rope on and Mike threw a stern rope to the bank which he went and attached to a lamp post as 10m of the boat had no staging to lie against. A sign said the charges from 1st April until 31st October were 1,35€/m per night, pay at the machine. This included (we presumed) water and electricity. As we finished topping up the tank a cruiser, called Cpt
Bolgerijensebrug swingbridge
Haddock, was reversing down the moorings – he wanted to water up – we backed out and winded as another lockful came out of the Grote Sluis and all five of them went into the arm as another one was leaving, all getting in the way of one another as they all wanted water! It was 11.45 am as we pushed on along the Merwede Kanaal. Just one small cruiser from the last locking was following us, not long before it caught up and went past. Six more cruisers went past heading for Vianen. We had to wait at the first bridge, a swingbridge called Bolgerijensebrug, we couldn’t keep up with the
Senang at Zwanskuikenbrug
cruiser, had no intention of wasting diesel trying, so he had continued and we had to wait. I threw a rope around the wooden stumps and made some lunch while we waited for the next lot of cruisers to arrive, one more caught us up – we went through first - the wind was blowing from the right so it blew us off the stumps as I took the rope off.  Seven more cruisers had arrived and went through from the other side, two more were catching us up, but the bridge went down to let the road traffic cross so the two cruisers going the same way as us had to wait. It started to pour with rain. At Zwanskuikenbrug liftbridge an empty commercial called Senang came through towards us, followed by two cruisers. The two fast cruisers that had been kept
waiting at the previous bridge were racing hard to catch up, they followed us through the bridge and overtook at high speed. They got through Meerkerksebrug liftbridge, which shut after them and, as we were a long way behind, we had to wait again until another bunch of cruisers came from the opposite direction. As we were motoring on past the moorings in Meerkerk, a large cruiser cut right across in front of our bows heading for the only gap in the moorings at the end nearest the windmill. Mike gave a loud hoot on the horn and asked him what he thought he was playing at! I was making a cuppa so I shouted at him too from our side doors as he went past close, down the “wrong”
Grassy bank moorings at Arkel. River Linge
side. And after all that the mooring was too short for him. We think he was trying to beat us into the mooring – except we weren’t stopping! There were several more moorings available further on the way we were going, a long one by the café (noisy) and one by the road junction (also noisy). An empty called Tempore overtook us and we followed him through Bazelbrug liftbridge, whoopee no waiting! More heavy rain. Next wait was for the swinging railway bridge where two trains went past before the bridge swung open for us. A cruiser had caught up and had been hovering mid-canal as we were on the wooden stumps – he overtook and went for the stumps by the next liftbridge, Schotdeurnsebrug, on the start of the verbindingskanaal leading to the river Linge. He hadn’t got a rope round a stump before the lights changed to red and green and the bridge lifted. We followed him through the liftbridge and through the floodlock then he was off like a whippet to get himself a mooring in Arkel before we got there! There was bags of space. A British-flagged tjalk was moored at the nearest end of the long grassy bank moorings and there were about half a dozen cruisers with big gaps between them. We went right to the far end, winded and tied up in the rain. It was 4 pm. The trip timer recorded 6 hours 20 minutes, but moving time was only four hours – two hours twenty minutes hanging about time! Knocking pins into the rocky bank was exhausting. Being sodden as well didn’t help. Finally got inside and dried out.


  1. Looks like you're about a week ahead of us, We left Arkel yesterday. Now stopped at Beek en Donk (lovely name!) for F1 this evening. Will water tomorrow at Aarle-Rixtel and then push on if it's not raining too hard.....xx

  2. Was the DB still on the new mooring? Mike's just settled down to watch the highlights. We're at Weert on the Zuid Willemsvaart as someone suggested trying this route instead of the Juliana kanaal. We left Aarle-Rixtel yesterday, we didn't see a tap there, might be right down at the very end where the end on moorings are, they have elec. Moorings were packed out so we stayed on the grassy bank. We'd already watered at Vianen. See you soon then!

  3. Nothing here, just us. Hope the tap's still at the end of Aarle-Rixtel!! C u soon.