52° 23′ 1.6908” N
4° 56′ 6.8856” E
5.-11 juli 2013
We started to sail “Ronja” 11 months ago into Twellegea Nauticadam, Amsterdam’s suburb of Nieuwendam on the last day of July 2012 – she was the very first yacht, that was lifted for winter storage this year.
We visited her in spring 2013 to make her beautiful and ready for a new season. We hosed, we swept, we washed, we rubbed, we painted, we polished, we checked out of our hotel and slept on Ronja, and for a great many years, she has not beamed so beautifully ahead of a new season.
We had agreed with the port, that Ronja would be put in the water Friday, July 5 in the morning, where we would arrive by plane at night, just before midnight. It was even confirmed by an email, which said that Ronja was put into the production plan precisely on 5 July.
Yet Ronja was not in the water at all, when we in the evening arrived at Twellegea. The joy of anticipation was enormous. The agreement was that the keys would be in the bucket with the anchor chain. But alas. Ronja was still on her rack. 30 meters from the water. Nobody had launched her.
Damn! We go to the Harbour Office, which, amazingly, was staffed here close to midnight. The – in his own esteem – significant owner of Twellegea and four other marinas in Amsterdam was sitting in the office. Stoned. Hash? Wine? Whatever! He was out of reach. Kirsten scolded the glory from him.
“Now you’re not friendly,” pointed out the owner subtly. At the same time came the port’s female Head of office with her dog. Apparently they all live in the port on each their own boat.
“It’s my fault. I got a cancellation from another boat, and by mistake I cancelled your launch instead. Aw, I’m sorry. I really apologise,” she said.
Again we have to sleep on board Ronja, who unnaturally stands on four slender iron legs on the ground in a small suburb of Amsterdam.
The next day there is no end to all the things, that the port does for us, to make good their mistake. We are driven to the nearest supermarket in a Wrangler convertible. And we are picked up at the first call, when we later want to return with five shopping bags and a backpack full of groceries.
Later the harbour master calls and cannot promise to get us in the water. We insist and maintain the agreement, that we are going into the water. “We only have a limited number of vacation days,” we explain. “It’s ok. The fault is mine,” says the chief of office and she calls another, now retired but more experienced harbour master.
He is worth his weight in gold. He guides Ronja in the water gently and safely, and when we discover, that the engine is not running as it should, then he goes to war with the task and he works for three hours. He is airing. He empties the water. He injects diesel. He fetches tools and more tools. In the beginning he explains pedagogical, what he’s doing. Later he disappears into the task of solving the seemingly difficult task of revitalising Ronjas engine.
He succeeds. He’s an old aircraft mechanic, he tells us. “I have never met an engine that I could not handle,” he declares. Unrivalled dedicated efforts. We will of course pay the port for his effort but give him a 50 euro tip anyway. Wish we had ourselves his skill with a motor.
In the evening we dined at the Indonesian restaurant “puspita” which we also paid a visit before when we were down preparing Ronja in the spring. It cost 66 Euro for a wide and even exciting, varied meal with wine. That makes sense.
The next morning we left the Amsterdam Harbour. We said goodbye to the self-absorbed marina owner, his smart Wrangler convertible and his hazy, not very productive approach to life. “I’ve been sick for a couple of years,” he tells us. “My employees have not cared for the shop as they should.”
We sail out through the port of Amsterdam, and after a few miles we swing down a side channel and sail through the city of Haarlem. A really beautiful city, where the bridge on the bridge opens synchronously for us.
We are on the way. We are on the road again. We are heading towards new experiences. The big advantage of sailing is that every day brings us to new places, where we have never been before.
After spending a night in the town of Lisse, we sail on towards Gouda and Rotterdam. The Dutch understand how to live in natural intercourse with the water in the canals. The atmosphere is intimate. Balconies and terraces facing the river. Every man has his boat. Life is lived by the sea. How beautiful.
We stay in the city of Gouda. In the shade under the large hardwoods. Right in town. Four bridges and locks in. The same four bridges and locks out. Cumbersome. But it should be tested.
Bonus info: Gouda cheese is suitable for Pasta Bolognese, when you have forgotten to buy parmesan. Preferably, however, Gouda cheese in the dry and strong version.
From Gouda we sail to Rotterdam and we dock for a start in City Marina Rotterdam. Excellent facilities. Nice location for walking and jogging in Rotterdam, where we visit an impressive museum of modern art, at a not so good maritime museum. It seems they have to maritime museums, vi just chose the wrong one.
The last night in Rotterdam we change to another harbour, Stifting Verhagen Rotterdam, only half a mile from City Marina. We do not want to be dependent on the rare opening-hours through the enormous Erasmus Bridge. In the new harbour we have rijstaffel again at the restaurant ”dewi sri”, a more upscale version of an indonesian restaurant than in Nieuwendam. Doubble price, 119 Euro, and only accurate the same quality.