Saturday, 19 July 2014

Thursday 17th July 2014 Nederhorst to Oud-Zijlen. 26.3kms no locks

If I HAD to go back to living on land I'd like a house like this,
but somewhere MUCH quieter than the Vecht!
13.3°C Sunny with hazy clouds, hot and muggy later. Clouding over by mid-afternoon then brightening up again and getting very hot. Set off at 9.20 am heading on up the Vecht. As we passed close by the Amsterdam-Rijn-Kanal (ARK) we could see the top of an empty tanker called Gemini, 110m long and travelling much faster than us. Above us air traffic from Schipol was heading off for foreign parts and we felt a light shower of rain spots but couldn’t see any dark clouds above which made us wonder... Nah, they empty the aircraft toilet tanks when the land nowadays, don’t they? On one
Loaded with dredgings, met on a bend.
of the bends before we got to Overmeer, as I was taking a photo of a windmill, the bows of a loaded commercial called Siementa appeared coming round the right hand bend. There was just room after a row of houseboats to tuck into the outside of the bend out of his way! The campsite before Overmeer on the left hand bank was now offering luxury chalets for sale with their own grounds. Moorings all along the bank by their other caravans were pay moorings, even on the opposite bank there were signs
Trip boat River Cloud
that said “liggeld perflichtig” – mooring charges apply, 4€ per night on the far bank. Right at the end of the moorings was a stretch of three day mooring for free. Guess which had boats moored and which were empty? Past another dredger. We were going to go around the back of an island on the right but decided not to, good job as there was more dredging and another commercial was moored at the other end of the island waiting for a load of dredgings. Passed the entrance to the Hilversum canal where several small cruisers were waiting to access the lock on to it. A small pusher tug went past and
Windmill before Overmeer
there was a load of oil on the surface of the water. Past another dredger which was in the middle with signs to say pass on its left. The dredgings were coming out black and foul-smelling. Around 10.30 am cruisers started appearing on the river to add to the open motor boats that were already cruising up and down. Into Vreeland where there was a windmill with a cutout shape of a stork attached to one of its sails. Under the bascule liftbridge, Van Leerbrug, with our mast lying flat on the roof and carefully through the next one as it had hanging red and white painted bars under the lifting deck (2.1m air clearance) but we got through OK. On the other side there was a British replica Dutch barge, called Lucie, tying up to wait for the bridge. Its skipper shouted “you’re a long way from home!” I replied that we were at home, to which he added “So are we!” Into Loenen with more cruisers overtaking, ignoring the 6kph speed limit, we were doing 6kph! Signs on the bank announced police speed
Stereschans, very palatial
checks! Caught them up at the next bascule bridge, which we couldn’t get under as it was too low, we waited with the queue and an old chap worked it for us and came out to say he liked our boat. Past a small palace with ornate gardens and a moored tjalk, called Utrecht, to which had been added loads of decorative painted wooden carvings and a stern cabin to imitate a galleon. More moorings had been added by the water tap, all of which were now charged for. The next bridge was a modern bascule bridge, we waited again with the two cruisers although we
Varnished launch next to lawns at Stereschans
could have gone under the deck there was too much traffic about to do that – loads of open motor boats went under the side arches. There was a line of houseboats, the floating wooden chalet type, all along the left bank. Mike tried speeding up to keep up with the cruisers, we did 8kph but didn’t catch up, so we reckoned they were doing around 10kph. Futile to try and catch them. However, they were waiting at the next bridge at Nieuwersluis, where there was a lock chamber open at both ends before the liftbridge, we waited a short while before
Nijenrode castle, south of Breukelen
the liftbridge opened. Another branch to the right connected with the ARK. Beyond the bridge the river water was very muddy. A Locaboat hireboat went past as we were going past a row of small palatial residences, I took a photo of one called Stereschans and next to its manicured lawns was a beautifully varnished launch. Past more very expensive houses and then one of the tiny entrances (low bridge and a short lock) on to the Loosdrechtseplassen, a series of polder lakes now used for recreation by many small boats. Yet another dredger, this one
Sign crazy - all restrictions
wasn’t working until we got level with it, then the dredger driver started his prop turning blowing our bows towards the right bank, a quick twiddle and we were heading back to the middle of the river. The banks were lined with fields for a short distance before the start of the houses on the outskirts of Breukelen (pronounced like the region of New York, Brooklyn). The mooring quay was more or less full, no gaps big enough to get our 18m into, even if we’d moved the cruisers up a bit. A refugee trip boat from Amsterdam was unloading passengers and had left his prop turning while he did it. Along the quay were new signs that said mooring charges applied.
Modern bascule bridge at Maarssen
Cross that one off our list of good moorings and we carried on. Mike dropped our mast and took the ensign off again and we passed under the bascule liftbridge without waiting for it to be opened. Beyond the bridge there were several moorings marked along the grassy bank by a busy road and all had signs saying mooring charges applied. Keep going. It was the same through Maarssen, we guessed it would be. A cruiser passing by had a red ensign on its stern, the crew smiled and shouted hello as we passed. A couple of boats were moored by the first liftbridge,
Tug about to move a houseboat
Vechtbrug, waiting, and beyond it there were miles of empty moorings all with the new signs saying mooring charges apply. We had to wait for the first bridge, lots of open motor boats were going under its low deck which would still have been too low if we’d stripped all the stuff off the roof to try and get under it. Round the corner, passing houses on both banks with brick-paved quays and walls, where there were lots of no mooring signs and we came to the next liftbridge, Termeerbrug. We waited. I made a cuppa. Two boats came up behind us and the keeper arrived on a scooter to let all three of us through his second bridge. He came to the edge of the bridge to say he liked our boat in perfect English. More empty pay moorings as we went
Dredger at Maarssen
through the town and past the new police station right next to the river. Two policeboats, RIBs with big outboards, were moored outside. Moored dredging pans and a tug, then a small tug went past with a man stood on its roof to steer it – obviously because the pans he pushes were higher than the tug, but it looked very odd without a pan in front of it. One of the two boats we’d been following had turned right on to the ARK through another short arm, just after that we passed a hire base that had lots of small open motor boats for hire – that’s where they’re all coming from! A big house building project on the left bank and a string of houseboats on the right, more dredging pans and a tug had got a long narrow floating pontoon attached to a houseboat which he was about to move! That surprised us, didn’t realise they were moving the houseboats to dredge underneath them! A long low open boat went past with the steerer and one lady cyclist on board, it was a cycle ferry boat – something like a bus. Under a high road bridge and the houses at last started thinning out a bit and there were fields with grazing cows plus several windmills on the left. The moorings on a bend as we approached Oud-
Coming in to moor by stumps at Oud-Zijlen
Zijlen were closed, probably due to the dredging programme; we spotted some sections of the wooden bank edging had great chunks of wood missing where something had hit it, maybe dredging pans? On into town and we caught up again with the white cruiser we’d gone through the last liftbridge with. He was waiting for Plompbrug to open. We waited behind him. The wind blew us gently on to the waiting area stumps and we threw a rope around one, as did the boat in front. A gaggle of cruisers were arriving on the far side and milling about as there was nowhere for them to tie up and wait. One of them even hooted, silly person, there was no resident keeper, it was remotely operated judging by all the cameras surrounding the bridge. Eventually the cruisers on the far side started milling about again as the deck lifted, they got the green light first, then we followed the cruiser through. More new signs had appeared on the bank where we had moored in pouring rain last year. Mooring fees apply now and we couldn’t get close to the bank last time. We went for the set of posts with no bank access a bit further on, there was a sign saying it was a mooring for 2x24 hours – and something black and tall had run into the sign which was higher than our cabin roof - a dredging pan perhaps? We gave up and moored to the only free mooring we’d seen since we set off. It was 2.45 pm and we had no land access. Never mind, the car can stay where it is.

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