Yesterday I sluiced into the Eems canal at Delfzijl. We were three sailboats and one big motor yacht. After sluicing, we kept each other company on the way. Max speed we may go is slow, to minimize erosion of the canal sides. And there is a shitload of bridges to open, for us to pass through. Pretty cool, when we keep the ordinated speed, the bridges opened each time we are just in front of them. It went very smoothly, until we came to the bridges in the highway around Groningen. Those only open after 18.30 on weekdays. We all waited, and waited, and waited some more. I had moored on the outside of a german Hallberg Rassy. Got to talk with the couple, and they were so nice. They just started their holiday. Were going a little sight seeing here and there. They had done this route before, and I got a lot of practical tips. As the bridges finally opened, we could not get into the city by boat, because the other bridges only open between 9:30 am and 18:00 pm. The germans showed me into a tiny little guest harbour. It was a good place. They were in the same harbour, only two other boats between us. In the evening they invited me over and we sat and chatted for quite a while.
Then, this morning, we got out in time for the westbound convoy of masted boats, starting at 9:30. The other boats from yesterday were there, as well as five other yachts. In a long line we puttered along slowly. Sometimes, the distance between the bridges was too short for us to fit. But everyone took it slowly and carefully. No more than a continuous adrenaline rush. The same man operated a bunch of bridges. After he had closed the one behind us, he hopped on his Vespa brommer and rushed to the next, to open it. And so on. After the so manieth bridge I lost count.
Well out of the city, the surrounding areas were mostly the typical dutch pastures. The smell of cow dung hung heavy in most places. But then there were windmills, fishing gear, horses, many birds, and much more to enjoy. The further we got along, the fewer boats were left in the convoy. After passing the town of Zoutkamp, we were only two boats going further. The other boat I lost on the Lautermeer, a lake. The last few bridges and one more sluice I was all by myself again. And I came as far as the old town of Dokkum. Tired, a bit hungry, but very pleased with the whole experience. In spite of the occasional rain showers it became a fun day. Tomorrow I am going sightseeing in town. Goodnight.