Sailing from Lemmer

Lemmer Travel Blog

 › entry 5 of 5 › view all entries
The Zeester, still wet from the drizzle

Sunday was to be simpler than Saturday, logistically speaking, although involving an equally early start. Basically, the plan was to drive to Lemmer on the shore of IJsselmeer, get on a boat, spend the day sailing, disembark, have dinner, drive back to Leeuwarden, and go drinking. And that's what happened.

The forecast had been for a fine day, but it was overcast and drizzly as we set out. However, it was obviously not getting any worse, and by the time we had located the Zeester (our clipper) and started loading supplies the rain was easing off.

The business end
In addition to the TB contingent, we also had on board some of Rowena's family, including her brother and mother - the latter having kindly agreed to supervise the preparation of the refreshments.

Once on board it was difficult to understand at first how we could ever sail anywhere, as the Zeester was totally hemmed in by other boats. However, it is apparently the law that anyone occupying these berths must move their boat to allow another to leave, however inconvenient the time - even, the affable skipper Christiaan Huisman told me, if it's at four in the morning. We were due to leave at ten, and sure enough, by five to ten there were signs of life on the other boats as they prepared to manoeuvre and give us a clear passage. The skipper gave us a short introductory talk, the general drift of which was that nothing should be flushed down the toilets that God never intended to go there, and then we were on our way.

Masts

As there was little wind, and power would therefore have to be provided by the engines most of the time, the proposed route was to take us through various canals and inland lakes, rather than across IJsselmeer, as last year. After about an hour's gentle cruising we found ourselves approaching an extremely large lock, which took upwards of half-an-hour to negotiate, and caused considerable puzzlement by its apparently unlocklike behaviour. Once the gates were closed I kept a careful eye on a marker that would indicate when we started to descend, and after some time I thought that I detected a few inches movement; but after that nothing further happened, the gates opened and we sailed on. I began to doubt whether we had been through a lock at all. However, later the skipper gave a most interesting explanation.

Cap'n Wendy comes aboard
Apparently, IJsselmeer is so large that its level can vary by up to eighteen inches, according to the direction and strength of the wind. But IJsselmeer also connects with the canal system, where the water is often only a few inches below the surrounding land, and where virtually any increase in the level could result in widespread flooding. To prevent this the lock was built so as to protect the canals. Thus it is quite usual for the variation in levels to be only the few inches that I had observed as the water level was adjusted from that of IJsselmeer to that of the canals. Mystery solved!

About an hour later we stopped at Sloten, apparently the smallest city in Holland with only about 700 inhabitants. It owes its status to its importance, in days gone by, as a port, and it was able to derive considerable revenue from taxes and tolls; and as the number of inhabitants did not increase, they became extremely wealthy.

Anna and Jenny
We had an opportunity to disembark and walk around the city - it didn't take long - and very pretty it is too. Some of the cannon which used to form part of the city defences are still in place, one of them picturesquely placed on the greensward surrounding a little windmill which Anna and I spent a few minutes visiting. That is all it takes, and it was interesting to compare it with the comparatively large De Valk windmill in Leiden, which I visited with Anna last year. Absolutely everything in Sloten is dinky.

Then it was back on board, and for a time we were able to put up the sails and just drift lazily along, although there was not enough wind to make significant progress. Somehow time passed, as it does, and shortly after six we arrived back at Lemmer after a thoroughly enjoyable and relaxing day, in whcih the only significant exercise had been novice attempts at Applied Seamanship when it came to unfurling and furling the sails.

Eef keeping a tight hold on her valuables
We cleared the Zeester of rubbish, said goodbye to some TBs who had to leave, and then set off for an excellent dinner at the nearby Lemsterbaai Restaurant.

After which it was back to Leeuwarden and a quick drink at the Stads Cafe. However, this establishment shut at midnight, and so the hunt was on for somewhere that was still open. It was very pleasant knowing that, wherever we went, we would be no more than ten minutes walk from the hotel - in London I'm often faced with a 90-minute journey home after a heavy night out! Eventually Wendy led us to the cute little Dubio Club, which appeared to be waiting especially for us as there was no other clientele. With lots of coloured strobe lighting, clouds of dry ice appearing occasionally from behind a radiator, and cheesy old disco favourites being played not too loud, this turned out to be an ideal way to finish off our Sunday.

Rowena's mother, and Rowena
At this point my camera - or rather, its batteries - gave up the ghost, and as the spares were in the hotel I could take no pics. This is probably fortunate. Although I managed to put myself outside four generous gin-and-tonics which settled nicely on top of the wine that I had had at dinner, I nevertheless felt completely sober, which seemed odd. Finally, at about 2.45, the manager signalled that he would have to close: for the best part of three hours we had been, as far as I could tell, his only customers. I hope it was worth his while!

And so to bed.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The Zeester, still wet from the dr…
The Zeester, still wet from the d…
The business end
The business end
Masts
Masts
Capn Wendy comes aboard
Cap'n Wendy comes aboard
Anna and Jenny
Anna and Jenny
Eef keeping a tight hold on her va…
Eef keeping a tight hold on her v…
Rowenas mother, and Rowena
Rowena's mother, and Rowena
Wendy
Wendy
Jessica
Jessica
The natty Elizabeth
The natty Elizabeth
Very, very long vessel
Very, very long vessel
Lounging around
Lounging around
Approaching the big lock
Approaching the big lock
Congestion ahead in the lock
Congestion ahead in the lock
More vessels squeezing in behind us
More vessels squeezing in behind us
Jos and Jenny
Jos and Jenny
Approaching Sloten
Approaching Sloten
Approaching Sloten
Approaching Sloten
Sloten
Sloten
Sloten
Sloten
Sloten and its dinky windmill
Sloten and its dinky windmill
Sloten
Sloten
Passing through a very low bridge;…
Passing through a very low bridge…
The bridge closes behind us
The bridge closes behind us
Sloten
Sloten
Where we tied up
Where we tied up
We chat with the skipper before ex…
We chat with the skipper before e…
Motorists view of the open bridge
Motorists' view of the open bridge
What appears to be the social cent…
What appears to be the social cen…
For such a small place, there appe…
For such a small place, there app…
Pretty canal
Pretty canal
Part of the old civic defences
Part of the old civic defences
Busy boating scene, from the windm…
Busy boating scene, from the wind…
Wendy and Rowena
Wendy and Rowena
Another cannon
Another cannon
Leaving Sloten
Leaving Sloten
Cruising
Cruising
Attractive waterside Reformed Chur…
Attractive waterside Reformed Chu…
Those who had been kiting claimed …
Those who had been kiting claimed…
Some of the 330 square metres of s…
Some of the 330 square metres of …
Under sail
Under sail
Final stage of the cruise
Final stage of the cruise
Tidying up back at Lemmer
Tidying up back at Lemmer
Our clipper
Our clipper
Jos and Wendy at the Dubio Club, j…
Jos and Wendy at the Dubio Club, …
Lemmer
photo by: delsol67