Thursday, 3 September 2015

May, 2015 - GERMANY

We crossed the Em River from Holland into Germany's Frisian islands.  Shifting sands and fast currents make navigation a challenge.  We very much wanted to visit the area after having read "The Riddle of the Sands" and viewed the movie of the same name on You Tube.  We spent the day threading our way through the sands, sometimes waiting aground for the tide to rise.  We passed the Islands of Borkum, Memmert and Juist, arriving at Norderney marina in time to stroll though the town.

Wind surfers in the don't need much depth.

Last Keel-boat of the day racing the tide.

Norderney is the oldest tourist destination in Germany.

May is still off season here.

It was too cool for a beer,

The only swimmer we saw.

Old style change room.

Rental beach chairs waiting for the summer rush.

We left the next day for Helgoland, just ahead of a weather front.  Those that were just a few hours behind us got clobbered by a full gale.

Helgoland is a German Island in the North Sea.  It is a natural stop off on the way to Denmark and Norway.  It's claim to fame is that it is a tax free zone.  The highly taxed Scandinavians keep it alive with their visits to stock up on fuel and booze.  We pick up two 3 liter boxes of wine and a 3 liter box of French vodka for about $12 CDN each.  On the downside we lost our wind vane off our wind steering gear when installing it.  Sigh!

Passat II on the seawall. Wind vane available at bottom of harbor in this location.

Harbormasters office.

Color in otherwise drab island.

Interesting carving.

More interesting carving.


We spent the last days of April and first part of May in the "Standing Mast Canal System" from Harlingen  to Delfzijl.

The minimum depth maintained is 2 meters, we draw 1.9 meters, so we entered with great trepidation.  We got stuck once, when we had to move over for a barge, but backed off without assistance.

May is a busy month in Holland.  First, is King's Day, celebrating the House of Orange. the Royal Family. Guess what the overwhelming color was?

The second was the liberation of Holland by the Canadians in WWII.  Pictures in Storefront windows, flags and flowers everywhere.  We skipped the main celebration in Leeuwarden  as we were behind schedule due to weather and repairs.

In the countryside we passed interesting bird houses, passenger ferry and combined house/barn dwellings.

The provincial capital of Leeuwarden was our main stop, due to a broken alternator bracket.  On the plus side we enjoyed free moorage right next to the Aldi and Lidl stores.  It took a few days to find a machine shop that could make a new bracket, primarily as I was inputting "alternator" in the search engine, not "dynamo" as they are called in Holland.  The server in our favorite coffee shop set me straight.  Once found the shop made a new bracket in about 3 hours for a modest $120 CDN.  In fact we spent more in taxi fare going around the city to try and find the right machine shop.

The main canal in Leeuwarden.

The park where the Canadians camped after liberating Leeuwarden.

Leaning tower.

After Leeuwarden our next town was Dokkum.  A great little town with very good facilities for boaters.

Next we went through Groningen.  Narrow canals, with 90 degree turns, single file, one way traffic, with countless bridges, very tense. 

Our last stop in Holland is Delfzijl on the Em River, bordering on Germany.  A well planned, pleasant industrial port, but has little to offer in the way of tourist amenities.

Industrial Art.

Sandra cozies up to one of the locals.

Cool playground equipment.

Hotel and bath houses on the river.

View from the marina.