Netherlands Waterway cruise – Veghel to Maasbracht via Nederweerd

Signpost on the Zuidwillemsvaart Kanaal

5th and 6th September 2014

These 2 days are actually a bit of a blur.

I probably need to explain a bit here – while we are actually travelling on the boat I am too busy keeping the boat running to do a detailed blog at the end of each day.

Zuidwillemsvaart Kanaal – long and straight with road alongside

But I keep my boat log meticulously up to date, photograph everything, including every bridge and lock, and keep a diary in note form of what happened.

Then at leisure, select photos for the blog, resize them, reread my logs and notes, consult the charts, and try and put together a concise and hopefully interesting account of that part of the journey.

So I am writing this nearly 2 months later.

One of the few Beweeg Brugge

The Zuidwillemsvaart Kanaal continued to be long and straight with loads of locks and bridges.

Fortunately it is a relatively modern canal and most of the bridges are big and high and we passed under easily.

The locks of course are still necessary, as we are climbing inland all the time.

One of hundreds of  maize fields

I noted last time this is a commercial barge route. being long and straight, and  there is a
highway running alongside most of the way with endless streams of trucks, many with Belgium, German or Polish registration

Of note along the way were the masses of corn (mealies in South Africa) fields along the canals. Gosh – they grow a lot of corn in Netherlands!

Huge greenhouses

And loads of huge green houses where they are growing fruit and vegetables.

Sluis Helmond – 5 metre rise and fall

The locks – we had 9 locks over these 2 days. most had a rise of about 2 to 2.5 metres, but Sluis Helmond had rise of nearly 5 metres while Oudesluis Panheel had a drop of 8 metres – our deepest lock ever to date.

Oudepaneelsluis – 8 metre rise and fall

While in Maasbracht we saw the deepest lock in the Netherlands – Julianasluis – a 12 metres rise and fall!

We didn’t go through as we did not have enough time to go as far as Maassluis, close to the Belgian border.

Nederweerd public mooring

We overnighted at Nederweerd which had a tiny free community harbour.

It could take about six or seven boats – a very tight shallow and tricky mooring.

We had about 20 cm under the keel.

Tiny town Nederweerd – still with large church

We had to moor up well, as there was continual wash and surge from passing barges.

Getting out was even more difficult, compounded by a barge passing at that moment creating an enormous surge.

Nederwerd itself was tiny. We did find a cafe with wifi, so as the mooring had no facilities whatsoever, we had a coffee and caught up on comms with the world. How did we manage before without internet??

Oudepaneelsluis again

Just after leaving Nederweert, the Zuidwillemsvaart Kanaal makes a hard right turn towards Belgium.

We carried on straight along the Kanaal Wessem-Nederweerd to Maasbracht.
Oudesluis Panheel (mentioned above) was on this stretch.

Looking down into Julianasluis – 12 metre drop

Not only was it a deep lock, it was narrow, and they closed the gates and started the water before we were properly tied up, resulting in the boat swinging wildly and bumbing the lock side heavily, doing some damage to our paintwork on the starboard quarter (right, back – for the non nautical).

Most deep locks have floating bollards, but this one didnt and we had difficulty finding suitable mooring points for our ropes. All part of boating.

Just before Maasbracht we connected to the River Maas.
Loads of yachts and pleasure craft.
We moored up in Jachthaven van der Laan. A very good marina a short way out of Maasbracht.
We walked into town, via Julianasluis (mentioned above) – which was very impressive.
Made one giddy just looking down into it.

Maasbracht itself was a bit of a disappointment. It seems to exist as a junction point for commercial traffic between the Zuidwillemsvaart Kanaal and the Maas.

So we stayed on board that night and made use of the good wifi and facilities at the marina.

Next- it becomes more leisurely as we start to head downstream along the River Maas.


Distance:                63 km
Locks:                    9
Bridges:                 35 fixed and 3 beweeg
Motoring time:       7.2 hours

As usual – check out Karen’s blog for her take on our travels – much less emphasis on the boating and more on the places we visit.

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