I know, I know, work on the boat will never be finished, so we probably can keep on saying we are almost ready, but looking at our whiteboard: the list is really getting short! So short, that at the moment only last minute to do’s are on it, like taking away the trash and filling the water tanks.
The last blog finished with us sailing to Kampen, a little town in the centre of the Netherlands, where my family is from. A year ago we tried sailing there for a weekend during winter and failed. Mostly due to poor passage planning and lack of time. This time around, we were better prepared and took our time to get there, which we really enjoyed. The first part of the trip we had to motor for about 5h as there was no wind. But as we passed from the Markermeer to Ijsselmeer, the winds picked up and we managed to sail the second half of the day. And at the end of it, we discovered a great anchorage next to Ijsseloog on the Ketelmeer.
Ijsseloog is an artificial island, with quite an interesting story. Initially, it was used as dumping grounds for polluted silt, which was being dragged from channels around the area. Around the depository, more material was added in order to form land, after which a natural park was created. The park is not accessible for people (we’re only able to just about reach the shore) so there are a lot of birds living there. And we could definitely hear that during the day! Although people are not allowed in, mother nature has found a way to change the ecosystem. A couple of years ago, the water around IJsseloog froze, and a couple of foxes went over the ice, to the island. Because of this, there aren’t any geese, gulls and meadow birds anymore. That still leaves plenty! And this makes for a gorgeous scenery to anchor next to!
Soon after anchoring, we went for a dip and a nice barbeque!
The next day, we continued our way to Kampen. A bridge and narrow passages mean nothing but motoring. It’s fine; the sun is shining and the weather is sweet! We arrive around midday. The marina is right in the city center and as soon as I sent the message out that we had arrived, my dad popped his head over the wall to check-in. We spent the day tidying up some of the mess we brought from Amsterdam, going for ice cream and having dinner with my parents.
The next day was marked to say farewell to my friends. Because of the corona restrictions and space aboard (or lack thereof), we spread the visits over the day, so it was a constant cycle of catching-up, talking about our plans and saying goodbye.
One day was enough for what we wanted to do, but Miguel saw Aquashop chandlery and just had to go in to enquire about anodes. The thing is, Saetta as UK vessel, has most things in imperial measures, which makes it hard to find the right parts (read right size) in the Netherlands. Miguel was looking for sacrificial anodes. These are metal parts that corrode away in order to save the important and expensive parts it is attached to, such as a propeller. It is crucial to have anodes, otherwise one day all metal parts under the waterline will dissolve. He had the right dimensions and references, but most chandleries said they were so busy they couldn’t and wouldn’t be bothered to order the parts. Luckily Gerrit, from Aquashop, was interested in helping out. Not only that, but he also opened the door of the shop for us on Monday (as the shops are open on Saturday, they take the day off on Monday) in order to call the supplier and confirm the parts could be delivered the next day. What a star!!
Now we had an extra day to wait… what to do?? We used the time to get a haircut (thank you sister!), more ice cream and more people coming over.
The next morning we picked up our anodes (thanks Gerrit!!) and had a last cup of coffee with my parents before we took off. Saying goodbye wasn’t easy. Well, the saying goodbye part was, but after that, it hits me. I remember seeing my parents cycling away and my head went full crazy, thinking that would be the last time I would see them, being sure something bad will happen in the time that I am away. Luckily I know from experience that that feeling will pass and that feeling sad is a part of saying goodbye.
Back to anchor
We went back to Ijsseloog, since we really liked it there. Michael and Leontien from Make My Day, were anchored 1km from us, and invited us over. This is the perfect time to try out our new SUP! We bought one that can carry the two of us, thinking we use it to go explore land when we are at anchor. Now we have it, it seems way too big to carry around for a longer time, so we are not sure if we will use it this way. Still, it is great to have a SUP! We started paddling towards SV Make My Day… 1km is much further than I thought!! This was also the first time we were away from Saetta whilst anchored. This was quite an experience, especially for Miguel. At some point, with wind change, he got in his head that Saetta was dragging, so he kept on checking through the binoculars, but everything was fine. At the end of the evening, it was getting late and I wanted to be back before it got dark. Paddling back to Saetta after “a couple” of glasses of wine was not the smartest decision… We need to think ahead better! After 3 attempts at standing up on the board and immediately fell off, Miguel just got on his knees ready to paddle (for some reason he did not let me), I boarded and I could only think: please don’t tip us over, don’t make me fall in the water. 20min later we’re at Saetta safe and sound (and one of us drunk!).
Second day at anchorage, we finally took out our brilliant yellow dinghy for a ride! We went around and through the channel that runs through the island, to discover that there were quite a few boats anchored. Gorgeous and peaceful! For the evening we had planned another barbecue. Our guests arrived at the marina close-by, where we picked them with the dingy and brought aboard. Great weather, good food, and one last dip before taking them back to the car.
Time to get back to work
I started writing about preparations, so let’s talk about that. We took Saetta out of the water for a couple of jobs: re-pitching the propeller, replacing anodes and doing a general check. We planned to get out of the water in the morning and back in at the end of the day. For a change, the work went pretty smooth! Miguel re-pitched the propeller according to the instructions he got from the manufacturer. He thinks that the pitch is too shallow, so we will probably adjust it next time we take Saetta out.
The anodes were a mixed bag. One of them was gone, another almost, and 6 others with almost no change. We replaced the ones that needed replacing and moved on.
Around lunchtime, we were finished, but we could not get back into the water before 5, so we went out for lunch and enjoyed the sunny weather!
Back into the water, we decided to go straight back to an anchorage close to Amsterdam. After all, we planned to depart soon! The weather was still great. Light winds and lots of sun, so we really enjoyed it. We didn’t go fast, but we weren’t in a hurry. Then, around 10:00pm we reached the lock at Lelystad. The wind started to pick up but nothing too bad. However, as the lock opened to allow us to move, the wind picked up massively! We went from 5 knots to 20 knots in the time the lock doors take to open! We decided to power through, but since we had the wind on our nose and were inside a channel, there wasn’t much sailing we could do. We arrived at our anchorage at 3.30am, very tired, but pleased we had arrived. After a day of rest, we went back to Amsterdam, hoping to check the last items off our list and leave for Falmouth.
So what things did we have to do back at Amsterdam? Miguel installed the lines for our Aries Windvane. He kept on delaying this since the job includes making holes in the boat. But there was no more delaying it, and it was time to do it. It went well. Our Aries Windvane is now ready to use! Then he moved to the opposite side of the boat to wash and unclog the anchor locker. We must have brought back 1kg of silt from Ijsseloog secured to the chain, and the anchor locker drain is way too narrow.
We also found a way to secure our dinghy on the deck. This involved making more holes on the deck, to install 4 hooks on which we can secure the lines. We felt that securing the lines to the toerail wasn’t quite enough and although we do like a clean and clear deck, now the dinghy feels really secure.
We topped up our diesel tank and found a place for our 4 jerry cans. Now, what’s left is to take out all the trash we have collected, fill the water tanks and get gas. Those things we will do just before leaving. So the waiting game begins! I have to say, I am not very good at this. Every time we get our hopes up, tell people there might be a chance, and then there isn’t. But we also know that it is better to wait for the right weather window then to leave early. We want to leave before the beginning of August, so we still have a couple of weeks to spare and wait for the right weather window.
So we’ll relax a bit, enjoy the boat, enjoy that most of our jobs are done and hopefully we’ll be on our way soon!