Before we talk about Dokkum lets relive our passage through Burdaard.
Burdaard consists of a bridge 200 meters of canal front houses and then a second bridge. Lovely one could say, and yes it was very pretty, however it was also the place we became “one of those boats” that lost it in the wind. Much to the frustration of the bridge master, and of course to us also!
It was a very windy day, however it can be a little deceiving when in the canals as you can easily be sheltered from it for long periods by trees and houses etc and then all of a sudden – wham it hits you, and of course always hits from the angle you don’t want it to. This is what happened to us at Burdaard.
The first bridge opened and we passed through and very slowly crept toward the second bridge (as most of these small towns the bridge keeper has to open both and he/she cycles between them). We crept up and waited, waited and waited, we started to wonder what was happening, it was nearly 12 o’clock and we thought surely he wasn’t going to leave us in-between the two bridges whilst he had his lunch??? Luckily that was a no, and we saw back in the distance behind us another yacht approaching and figured that he was waiting for them to pass the first bridge before cycling to the second and opening it just the once to let us both through – good, no worries…..until ……. the wind gusted up and got us as we came out from the shelter of the last houses along the canal and into the lawn area just prior to the second bridge! So now we had a bridge shut in front of us, a yacht coming up behind us (in a skinny canal) and Red Roo getting wind blown across our bow turning the boat 90 degrees across the canal which is really not much wider than we are long, yes, very awkward.
As mentioned in a previous post the only time you get really good steering in a yacht is when you have good way (speed) on and in a canal trying to hoover still waiting for the bridge is not when you have good steering. The wind was steering us, we were not in control. So put some speed on I hear you say, hard to do when your sitting 90 degrees across the canal with no space to go forward or backwards.
In the mean time the bridge keeper had made his way to the bridge and began to open it . . . 5 minutes too late for us. We had been blown all the way sideways now and were going to have to do a complete 360 (or 270 now) to get back to face the bridge, so Phil put the throttle on, then reverse on (over and over again) and we eventually completed the 16 point turn to get us around . . . . now facing back the way we came and not towards the opening bridge – hmmm , this at least allowed the second yacht to pass us and get under the bridge.
The bridge keeper now started to speak in Dutch quite loudly as if he was being inconvenienced (well I guess we were now encroaching on his lunch time), I smiled nicely and waved and said we have to turn around as the wind was pushing us, he then closed the bridge just as we were doing our next 16 point turn to get us facing the correct direction to pass through the bridge. I most kindly asked him to please reopen it again, now, quickly please, the panic rising as we were almost back at the point of the wind catching our bow and turning us around again!!!!
With much arm raising, huffing and puffing he re-opened the bridge and collected our money as we passed by (myself apologising to him profusely – he just nodded).
Yes we were very much embarrassed and “one of those yachts”. However, we were very happy we didn’t hit the bridge, very happy we didn’t hit the other yacht (staying well clear of both) and very happy we didn’t run aground or hit the banks of the canal when doing our circle work, just also very embarrassed.
Dokkum was another town surrounded by a canal in with lovely gardens down to the water where you can berth along the edge, I managed to take a couple of cracker pictures of Red Roo settled down beneath a windmill.
We were in Dokkum for Kings Day a national public holiday and enjoyed the kings day parade around the streets, especially the xylophones playing modern pop songs.
We also met the Cyclone of Langstone (aka Jo and Rob) who were to become great travelling companions for the next month or so as we were heading in the same direction, meaning we would catch up every few days as we both travelled to the Baltic and then east along the German coast to Poland.
Getting organised now to leave the shelter of the Netherlands canals and once again head into the North Sea to go out and around into Germany – exciting another country.
We have filled up with fuel and water and are ready to depart the Netherland. It will be an overnight sail travelling North East in the north sea across the top of Germany and into the River Elbe from which we will cut through the Kiel Canal to the Baltic Sea 🙂