Our early morning journey started in Amsterdam at 00.30. There were nine bridges, some of which had the same operator, so after opening and closing a bridge, the operator would ride his bicycle to the next bridge where we would be waiting. We passed through the last night bridges and lock around 02.45, and arrived to the next bridge at 03.30. As this bridge did not open until 05.00, we tied up along the canal that did not have proper places to moor to. For a spring line we removed our aft anchor from the holder, set it on land and used that as a mooring “cleat”. 04.45 the alarm reminded us it was time to keep moving and the bridge opened promptly at 05.00. Within 30 minutes I could smell airline fuel, and then a large KLM building appeared. The canal parallels Schiphol International Airport, so we watched the early morning flights departing to many destinations. After a very long day of waiting for other bridges and passing through several locks, we arrived to Willemstad at 17.00. The mast route offered some quaint villages and nice scenery, but for the most part it was industrial.
Busy road crossing
In tidal water again !
Arriving in south Holland is very nice, and based on the number of boats and marinas is extremely popular. We sailed from Willemstad to Bruinisse, where the Hallberg-Rassy dealer is located, Nova Yachting International. They have a new facility, which includes a indoor showroom for boats, in addition to the slips in front of the office. The new marina and amenities are impressive. Today we exited the canal and the last lock at 16.00 and said our goodbyes to Holland. It was a wonderful experience!
Thursday afternoon we arrived to Six Haven Marina in the heart in Amsterdam. You cannot ask for a better location. It is a very short walk to two different foot ferries (no cost) that take you across the canal to the Central Station. A walk through Central Station brings you directly into the heart of Amsterdam city center. Six Haven Marina is small but they are very talented at maximizing as many boats as possible into the marina. The trees that surround the marina buffer the noise from the city center. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful.
Amsterdam is a city that can completely entertain you by simply walking around.
By walking, I mean avoiding bicycles, mopeds, scooters and cars.
One of many bicycle parking areas.
The streets are narrow, the buildings are charming as are the canals with all the various floating canal houses.
The diversity the city offers is immense. You have majestic churches, a large choice of museums, the ever famous red light district and the popular “coffee shops”. For my American friends a coffee shop here is a small pub type setting where you can enjoy a beer and a smoke of marijuana (legally). Cafes offer espresso and their popular apple pie.
Wildlife downtown Amsterdam
A Malö 37 from Stockholm arrived in the marina so we invited him for coffee. Sven is also heading south, so as I write we are both inside a lock awaiting the bridges in Amsterdam to be opened starting approximately 2400. The standing mast route through Amsterdam has several bridges that open only at night, so car traffic and train traffic are not interrupted during the day. The convoy of boats gathered will take approximately 2.5 hours to transit this portion of the canal in the early morning hours. This night belongs to “Bella Luna” with clear skies and a full moon.
If you do not have a lot of time, you need to be creative in order to avoid waiting for the bridges to open.
Here is one way.
First fold your mast !
Then in under the bridge
O.K. We made it. Mast up.