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On the Eemskanaal

To go to Part 1 click here
The main reason for calling in at Groningen was to pop into IKEA and buy equipment for Shangri La.
IKEA was about 15 mins walk from where we were berthed.

4 trips later, and several Euro lighter, we had bought most of the stuff we needed – mainly back deck table and chairs, bed linen and pillows, cushions, and all sorts of assorted things that make Shangri La ‘ours’.

Approaching Grovesluis Noord – Appingedam

We had not planned to visit Appingedam, but reading our guide, Inland Waterways of the Netherlands, changed our mind.

It was only about 19 kms away and sounded most attractive with apparently unique ‘hanging kitchens’.

The trip to Appingedam took us along the Eemskanaal – A long, straight and quite wide canal, and very busy.

Hanging kitchens of Appingedam

It is  the main route through from Delfzijl
on the North Coast of the Netherlands, close to Germany, to the Ijsselmeer to the South West.

Leaving Groningen was a bit of a mission again, due to the convoy system and an unusually miserable and unhelpful bridge operator who refused to wait an extra 30 seconds, and closed the Oosterhavenbrug in front of us. So it took about an hour and a half to get through that bridge and the Berlagebrug about 500 metres further along.

Beautiful old buildings in Appingedam

Anyway, once through these 2 bridges and into the Eeemskaal, all went well.

The speed limit is 13 kms/hour, about Shangri La’s top speed, and being a busy commercial route, the bridges were all speedily opened for us and the varied selection of commercial and pleasure boats passing through.

After about 2 hours we reached the Grovesluis Noord lock, luckily arriving as it opened up for another boat ahead of us.

Once through the lock, a short narrow canal and a tiny bridge took us right into the centre of Appingedam, and into the virtually new marina.

Old timer vessels in Appingedam for the festival

Appingedam really was a cute and very tiny town. We easily found the hanging kitchens. There were about 5 of them. They had been built as extensions to the houses in order to create more space inside.

We had arrived here in time for yet another festival! The Dutch don’t seem to need much of an excuse to have a festival, or have a good time.

Wonderful. This was the Sea Shanty Festival. Quite a few old timer boats, and 2 or 3 masted sailing vessels were moored in the harbour for the

Appingedam marina – boats dressed overall

Many of the pleasure craft were dressed overall with colourful flags, bunting and lights.

And all over the town were groups of singers, suitably dressed up as sailors, singing sea shanties.
All very festive and great fun.

My cousin from the UK, whose wife is Dutch, was holidaying in the Netherlands and drove all the way up to visit us and see Shangri La.

He spent one night on board, which gave us a chance to test out the forward guest cabin.

One of the many groups of sea shanty singers

I am pleased to say he found it comfortable, and was generally impressed with Shangri La.

We spent 2 days and 3 nights here and then headed back along the Eemskanaal towards Groningen.

Fortunately we did not have to go back through Groningen with all its bridges.
Our plan was to turn off just before Groningen,
into the Van Starkenborgh Kanaal, join up with the Prinses Margriet Kanaal and head for Sneek.

Waiting behind Stella Maris at the Oostersluis

We left Appengedam at the same time as another boat, Stella Maris, heading in the same direction.

While we were waiting together at the Oostersluis, the entrance to the Van Starkenborgh Kanaal, we got chatting to the skipper of Stella Maris.

He knew the canals well and advised us that
the Prinses Margriet Kanaal was very commercial and busy, and passed through mostly industrial areas.

He was planning to branch out of the Van Starkenborgh into the Rietdiep and take the much more leisurely and scenic route. This sounded a much better plan, and as we were in no great hurry, we did just that.

Next week – Rietdiep, sleeping wild and Dokkum. (to go to Part 3 click here )

Bon voyage.

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