Thursday 10th July.
As per the forecast, the weather was perfect for a change.. Sunny and hot, with no wind.
The route to Amsterdam was first through 4 more Haarlem bridges, north along the River Spaarne, through the lock in Spaarndam and then along the Noordzeekanaal.
This is a very busy waterway linking Amsterdam to the sea at Ijmuiden.
I had read various horror stories in boating magazines of leisure boaters getting into trouble with the Water Police for not following the rules.
Elred (our new crew) and I checked all the regulations and made sure we knew the right VHF chanels to monitor.
While waiting for the northbound convoy of boats coming through the bridges, we moved across to the fresh water tap and topped up with about 250 L of fresh water. It was unmetered and included in the mooring costs, so why not.
|Lock at Spaarndam|
At about 09.30 am, we slotted in behind a large traditional barge at the first bridge – Catherijnbrug.
There was a bit of a delay at the last of the Haarlem bridges.
Listening to the VHF conversations between the bridge keeper and the large boat ahead, it seemed he hadn’t made the correct arrangements to pay his bridge toll fee.
Once they had sorted this out, the bridge opened and we went through.
|Fixed bridge on the Noorde Spaarne|
The lock at Spaarndam was huge, and a whole lot of us went through together, after paying a lock fee of Euro 3.50
Shortly after clearing the lock, and after passing under a couple of high fixed bridges we turned into the Noordzeekanaal.
It turned out to be a hassle free passage – we stayed well to the starboard side of the canal, as per regulations, along with loads of other leisure boats.
|On the Noorde Spaarn River|
We saw numerous large commercial barges, going in both directions, and overtook a huge floating
After about an hour, making a good 11.5 kms/hr, we reached the outskirts of Amsterdam.
The plan was to overnight at Sixhaven, on the other side of the river from Amsterdam Centraal Station.
|Elred driving – on the Noordzeekanaal|
This part of the river was extremely busy.
In addition to numerous commercial barges going past, there were free ferries crossing the river, several leisure boats and several tour boats all charging about.
We picked our moment and crossed over as fast as possible into Sixhaven.
|On the Noordzeekanaal|
The entrance was extremely narrow, as was the box berth that the harbour master pointed us to.
Fortunately there was still no wind, and with the extra helping hands on board we tied up no problem.
The only issue with these box berths is that access to the boat is over the bow via our little boarding ladder, which is a little tricky. All part of the fun.
|On the Noordzeekanaal|
Sixhaven was a good marina in all respects, but it did fill up quickly.
In fact the boats were being tied up in every possible place, effectively parking in other boats.
Fortunately we didn’t get parked in.
As we had been to Amsterdam a few times before, and Elred and Maureen were planning to spend time there after they left us, we didn’t spend much time here.
|Sixhaven – with Amsterdam Centraal in the distance|
But we did take the free ferry across the Ij into the city centre, found a corner pub away
from the tourist area, and enjoyed a couple of beers and watched the world go by.
On the way back to the marina, we did a shop up at the supermarket, and had a barbeque supper on board.
Washed down of course with a couple of glasses of wine.
|Life on the aft deck!|
It was still very hot, so we left all the ports open when we went to sleep.
Later there was a huge thunderstorm and the rain
I got absolutely drenched going out to close ports and bring various things under cover.
Distance – 23 kms
Fixed bridges 4
Beweeg brugge 4
Time 3 hrs 15 mins
Next week – Amsterdam to Edam