Friday 15 July 2016
Our departure from Lauwersoog inner marina at 10:40 took us down the Lauwersmeer and off into the Friesland canal system to take advantage of the "Standing Mast Route" through this part of Holland. Essentially a route yachts could use with their masts up meaning that all the bridges would open for us.
Almost immediately at the first bridge out swung a clog on a fishing rod line to collect the "geld" or toll. As we passed along the route the rate varied from €3.50 to €7 depending on the number of bridges in the town.
Through the really pretty town of Dokkum which had been recommended a stop at and eventually to Leeuwarden where the canal passed through a delightful park but we were unable to get close to moor as we went aground well before the water's edge, a consequence of drawing 2.0m.
We pressed on round the town and when we realised we were leaving the area we were too late for the final bridge into the part where some marina style berthing was to be found. So we found an area where there was sufficient depth for us and tied to some bollards alongside a mooring for boats waiting for the bridge. Neither pretty nor quiet, it was a safe haven and would have to do for the night. Other boats looked around, one stayed the others found somewhere else, there was only room for two.
Our first day in these small canals was not relaxing as the depth alarm was constant in some places, even when set at 2m, and we grounded on something soft and struck something not so soft during the afternoon with no alarm warning. The canal is only supposed to have 1.95m and were had been told we could get through and we did, but it was not as simple as that - even though we draw 2.0m.
However we join the larger "Princess Margaret Canal" tomorrow, which means deeper water, and should be able to make it nearly to the Ijsselmeer.