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Rietdiep – Netherlands

To read Part 2 click here or to go to the beginning of the trip click here

As mentioned in the previous post, we had decided to take the scenic route, via Rietdiep towards Dokkum, rather than the more commercial Prinses Margriet Kanaal.

After a short wait, we entered the Oostersluis.

A number of large barges came out first, only confirming how busy and commercial this route is.

Once through Oostersluis we traveled a few kilometres along the Van Starkenborgh Kanaal, before branching off through the Platvoet Brug and into the beautiful and peaceful Rietdiep.

Chart of the Rietdiep

The landscape changed immediately to extremely pastoral, with the Rietdiep following a rather winding route through farmlands and countryside.

The second picture shows a section of Rietdiep on the chart.

The little red markers show where there are public mooring spots, and those in the wild are free, although you are generally only allowed to stay 3 nights.

Mooring in the middle of nowhere

We had also learned by now that in the season, it’s best to get to an overnight mooring early, otherwise you might struggle to find a place.

We love these wild moorings, and when we came across a vacant one about half past three, we decided to grab it.

Sunset on the Rietdiep

We tied up there and enjoyed a wonderfully peaceful evening, with a magnificent sunset.

Next morning we carried on along the Rietdiep, passing the old fishing village of Zoutkamp.

The houses here had a very Scandinavian look about them.

Here I also finally managed to confirm that my new VHF radio was working properly.

Fishing village of Zoutkamp

I’d always been able to hear other people, but had never had a reply to any of my transmissions.

But at the Rietdiepbrug which was closed, I called up, and in my South African version of Dutch asked for the bridge to be opened.

I was delighted to actually get a reply, and the bridge opened for us!

Shortly after, the waters widened out into the Lauwersmeer, where there were loads of yachts of all shapes and sizes sailing around.

Rietdiepbrug opening – VHF Channel 85

The Lauwersmeer is a National Park and a very beautiful area.

We could have gone north here and through a lock out into the Waddenzee, but that is very tidal and we’re not ready to battle with tides and currents just yet.

We carried on West, down the Dokkumerdjip, through the Willem Loresluis, and on towards Dokkum.

About here we left the province of Groningen and entered into Friesland.

Willem Loresluis

Friesland is the most north west province of the Netherlands, with the Waddenzee/North Sea to the north, and the Ijsselmeer to the west.

There are loads of lakes and open water areas, ideal for sailing, which is why we had now been seeing more yachts and sailing boats of all descriptions – both modern yachts as well as traditional Dutch wooden sailing boats.
About three o’clock that afternoon we arrived in Dokkum.

Dokkum

Dokkum is a very popular boating village, and like most of theses places, the town centre is on an island surrounded by canals, with public moorings available all around the town.

These moorings are not free – anywhere between 10 and 20 Euros a night, depending on what is included in the way of shore power, showers, laundry or internet.

Our friend Hans gave us a good tip – here at Dokkum the town provides free internet access to all. Wonderful – and it worked.

Dokkum was a very picturesque, but small place, so didn’t take long to see the sights. There was of course the usual market, with lovely fresh produce, and we stocked up.

We ended up staying here three nights. Some time ago in Groningen I had been doing some lifting and carrying and had twisted my back. I had a session with a physio we found in Dokkum, and we took the extra day just to rest.

Next – On to Leeuwarden. (to go to Part 4 click here )

Bon voyage.

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