Shangri La berthed at Zwolle, Netherlands

The trip down to Zwolle started off fine. I first took on 100 litres of diesel, mainly to help mix in the fuel additive which is necessary to prevent diesel bug.

I particularly wanted this done, as the diesel on board has been in the tanks for quite some time.

Then, we set off down the Zwarte Water, passed Hasselt again and on to Zwolle.

There were a few spots of rain as we left Zwartsluis.

Unexpected bridge at Zwolle

Closer to Zwolle, it became a constant drizzle. A bit inconvenient as the one windscreen wiper doesn’t work.

To get to the public moorings at Zwolle, one has to pass under three bridges. One is a fixed bridge with plenty of clearance. The other 2 are lift bridges.
When we arrived at the first, there were a few other boats waiting. After about 10 mins the bridge opened and we all went through.
At the second lift bridge, there was another short wait.

Street in Zwolle town

By now the rain was bucketing down, and I had to get Karen to peer out round the side of the windscreen to make sure I was heading for the gap.

Once through this bridge, I expected to make a turn to starboard and find a whole lot of public
moorings. Surprise! Not mentioned in the charts or pilot books is a new bridge, just not quite high enough for us to get under, without lowering the
radar arch and windshield. Not something I could do easily in the by now heavy rain and gusty wind.

Funfair in the town of Zwolle

The other 2 large boats that were with us were
also caught by surprise.
Half an hour of chaos ensued.
While the three of us tried to find a berth for the night, a ferry came in and chased us all out the way so she could tie up.

We finally got moored up, double banked alongside another Dutch boat. Not particularly satisfactory as there were not enough shore power points available.

Fortunately Shangri La has a good hot water supply, so we were able to warm up with a glorious hot shower.
And after a couple of glasses of wine we slept well!

The view from our back deck in Zwolle

The next morning, Thursday, the Dutch boat left, so were were able to take over her berth alongside the floating jetty and get connected up to shore power.

We also paid for 4 nights berthing and were given the access codes for the ablution block.

Zwolle is a quaint but touristy town, situated effectively on an island, with loads of boats moored in the surrounding moat. Pity we picked the start of the festival week!

Fireworks display at Zwolle

The centre of the town was in chaos, with a funfair complete with ghost trains, dodgem cars and a whole host of other seriously noisy attractions.

So we had a pleasant but certainly not restful 4 days here.

The official opening of the festival was marked by a firework display, pretty well on top of our boat!
Bit scary, but fortunately the wind was blowing
away from us and all was well.

Off to lighten my wallet at Korendijk Watersports shop

You may ask what about the ‘holes in the water’ in the title? The one I know well is the phenomenon off the South African coast, near Port Elizabeth, which in certain weather conditions, has caused the loss of ships and even an aeroplane.

The other one is in the definition of a boat: A hole in the water into which you throw money!

So, other than wanting to get the hang of Shangri La, the trip to Zwolle was also to visit Korendijk Watersport, a shop which sells a large range of marine and boating items.

Karen keeping us ship shape – cheesing the ropes!

I soon realized that many a true word is spoken in jest!

With a much lighter wallet, we came back to the boat with a brand new VHF Radio, some special anti mosquito and ‘flying things’ screens for the portholes and a few other sundry boaty items.

All in the interest of keeping Shangri La ‘ship shape and Bristol fashion’
Our trip to Zwolle was enjoyable and productive, but we were glad to leave on Sunday morning and head back to peaceful Zwartsluis.

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