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Netherlands waterway cruise – On to Utrecht via the Vecht

Windmills on the Vecht

The trouble with doing circular routes from the same same starting point is you get to go to the
same places a few times.

To get to the Vecht, we had no option but to go through Weesp. See recent post about Weesp
(pronounced Waysp)

Anyway, we left Lelystad, with Karen driving.

Muggen on the Markermeer

For someone who had never been near a boat till she met me, she is doing remarkably well, but she does need to get more experience handling Shangri-La.

Out into the Markermeer we were again plagued by a swarm of midges or miggies/muggen.

Most unpleasant.

Not sure where they come from, but we experienced them in the same place last trip from Edam to Leleystad.

A long, straight, fairly boring couple of hours until we approached Muiden.

Lowest bridge to date

Here a fisherman had decided to put nets all over the place, marked with tiny black flags.

(I ask you  – black flags!).

Fun dodging them.

As we had done the bit from Muiden to Weesp before, we knew there were a whole
lot of low bridges, so we prepared by lowering all the gear.

One of many stately homes on the Vecht

Then – through Muiden and the Zeesluis and to Weesp.

Still lots of construction work going on in
the canal.

We chose to overnight at WV Weesp marina rather than the town moorings as there we would have proper ablutions, as well as wifi/internet.

Castle with very green moat!

The shore power is now metered, but I luckily found a connection with a whole lot of credit.

Over the last years we have made use of David Broad and Louise Busby’s Cruising Guide to the Netherlands.

It has proved invaluable, but it was published in 2007 – 7 years ago! So although it is pretty accurate, things are starting to change.

Dredging operations on Vecht

In the guide, electricity here was unmetered, and recently the meters have been fitted.

Not a very big marina and we had an outer berth. And it was starting to rain so we put up all the awnings up as quickly as possible.

After a quick shop up at the local supermarket, we showered, had a beer at the marina clubhouse and caught up on emails and things with the internet.

Then supper on board.

Weather was still a bit wet in the morning, but we set off up the Vecht towards Utrecht.

On the Vecht

The Vecht is a windy and very scenic route between Utrecht and the Markemeer, or the Zuiderzee as it was many years ago.

It was the original trade route, but has now been replaced by the Amsterdam-Rijn Kanaal which is long and straight and very busy with large commercial barges.

Hence the choice to go via the Vecht.

Vreeland on the Vecht

And beautiful it was – several tiny original old towns along the way – Nigtevecht, Loenen,
Vreeland, Breukelen and Maarssen –

as well as many large old stately homes and mansions that belonged to wealthy traders and merchants in old times.

Breukelen

We knew we would have to overnight somewhere along the way but had no definite plan as there were several possibilities.

The choice was made for us – just before Breukelen there was a huge dredging
operation going on.

We got past okay but got stuck behind a barge laden with mud making very slow progress.

Breukelen

There was no way we could overtake as the canal was too narrow.

After about 20 mins we came to Breukelen where there were a few canalside moorings, with one vacant.

So we grabbed it and were tied up just after lunchtime.

Again, these used to be free, but now there was a small fee even though there were no facilities.

Breukelen

Breukelen was a lovely little town so we had a pleasant stop over.

Breukelen is the town after which Brooklyn in America is named after the Dutch settled there years ago.

Maarssen

The next morning dawned fine and clear.

What a pleasure.

Boating is so much more pleasant when it
is not raining, and the Vecht was even more beautiful in the sunshine.

Maarssen

Shortly after passing Maarssen, on the outskirts of Utrecht, we brought down all the gear and
awnings as there were several low fixed bridges coming up.

One rather strange event – approaching Op Buuren Beweeg Brug (opening bridge), the bridge was openwith green lights, 2 boats went through ahead of us, but as we approached, about 3 boat lengthsaway, the lights went red and the bridge started closing!

Op Buuren bridge closing ahead of us!

Rather hasty Full astern on the engine.

Now this bridge is only a pedestrian bridge, and there was only 1 person and 1 cyclist waiting.

After these 2 had crossed, the bridge opened again.

Not quite sure what the urgency was.

As is often the case near the cities, they try to avoid too frequent opening of the road bridges,
so just outside Utrecht we became the first boat in a convoy through the last few bridges and lock
into the town.

The public moorings are right close to the city centre and we moored up in a rathy tricky stern-to
box mooring really meant for smaller boats. But the harbour master was happy.

As we were stern to the jetty, our davits were sticking out and liable to bash passers by. So
we moved the boat ahead a bit and rigged up our wooden gangplank.

Trouble is we had never used itbefore and only now found the wood was a bit rotten in places.
We used it with much care!
Another item on the job list!
Our next friends, Gerry and Judy were set to join us the next day, so we set about seeingUtrecht…

Next week.

Stats:

Distance              73 K
Locks                    2
Bridges                 7 Fixed and 13 BB
Motoring time       8.4 hrs

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