Saturday 16 July 2016
We cast off from the grassy bank and slithered out of the mud to rejoin the main canal. Our planned route took a deep water canal to join the Princess Margaret canal but a signpost suggested the Standing Mast Route, which we were using, went another way at a junction. That had 1.95m of water and we need 2.0m so I took the deep water canal. We joined the big PM canal and then approached the first bridge…no sign of life. We could not raise them on the radio and eventually gave up waiting and returned to take the directed route.
My charts were purchased two days before and were the latest imprint for 2016/17 they clearly showed the bridge was an opening one…it didn't today!
We pressed on very much aware there was not going to be much under our keel and would have to slither our way through. As it turned out it was a pretty route and mostly of adequate depth but we did slow on one occasion and forced our way through. We dropped down to Grou and needed some victuals so failing to find a berth I moored up at a nice hotel and on condition we stayed for lunch we could use the pontoon.
After lunch we pressed on, we had not done 10 real miles and had thirty to do today. Not long after we rejoined the PM canal we arrived at a bridge which did not respond. We moored up and a fisherman on the opposite bank gesticulated to the effect the bridge was closed then a RIB came along and stopped by us advising the bridge had broken and we had to go around it! We could get through they assured us and drew the route on our charts. Having assured Wendy previously that we would not go to Sneek, we now were going to Sneek. Sneek is a small very pretty village with a narrow canal that winds through it, there are three bridges and plenty of yachts taking the diversion. With boats moored on both banks the route was interesting with only the odd place where two boats could pass. After a confrontation or two the bigger boat won the day and we emerged unscathed but the really shallow stuff was still to come and we had to barge our way through a couple of places in the two hour diversion till we got back on to the PM canal.
With no further hold ups, the final bridge having been replaced with an aquaduct (the road went under our canal), we were in Lemmer in no time and moored up in a nice friendly marina about a mile form the lock. A lovely evening followed and we relaxed without the depth alarm ringing in our ears.