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Strijensas-St Annaland-Strijensas

In lieu of not having a half term I decided to arrange a mid-term weekend on the boat, just to keep me going to till the visit in the summer. Flying from Newcastle proved relatively straight forward, although with an hour on the metro at the beginning and another hour and a quarter to drive to the boat, it took most of the day to get there and it was borreltijd by the time I arrived (quelle domage).

We decided that given the late hour it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to go dashing off somewhere else for the evening and stayed put for a relaxing evening on the boat. There was plenty of time for one of the local amenities – a walk to the lighthouse at the harbour entrance, although strangely enough the hatch to the top gallery was padlocked. I’d seen other people up there before, so whether it was a new innovation or a function of the time I have no idea.

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Broom friends Jackie and Kelly arrived on Thursday (by Eurostar luckily, as the Icelandic ash cloud had just erupted that morning) and after I picked them up in Brussels we had a fun afternoon of sightseeing starting with lunch by the harbour, followed by a walk along the river to the arboretum, a couple of Leffes in the Cafe Tom Tom, and a high speed ride back to the harbour on the water taxi. If we could have summoned up the energy we were going to go over to the Oude Haven and visit the Mexican restaurant in the evening, but after all the walking we'd already done we were quite keen to fire up the gas wok and have a nice relaxing evening on board.

The Brielse Meer is a popular leisure boating area and one of its features is free island moorings, a bit like in Zeeland, where you can stop for a few days and enjoy the surroundings. There are toilets and bins on the islands but you need to be self-sufficient for water and electricity. Even though it was early in the season there were a few boats enjoying a bit of peace and tranquility and we made a lunch stop on Middenplaat island, before continuing on to the visitors' harbour in the centre of the town.

There was no sign of the HM when we arrived but we bought electric tokens in the Cafe Dixi and arranged a rendezvous by telephone for later that evening - the toilets and showers are controlled by a SEP-key system which you have to pre-load with credit and a deposit, then reclaim what's left before you leave - a bit overcomplicated in practice, especially when there's four of you trying to use it, as you have to leave the key in the slot whilst you shower, watching your money run down if you take too long!


We'd planned to take the boat up to Rotterdam for the weekend and decided to do the first leg up to Dordrecht on Friday so we could visit our favourite Jazzpodium on Friday evening. It's only a two minute walk from the harbour and they always have something interesting on there. Back to where we started, I know, but our previous trips were all useful practice at handling the boat and finding out what things weren't working.

We had a new toy for this trip because I'd downloaded the Navionics App for the Iphone and this is really useful for making a track of your passage. The UK-Holland version (€24.99) has detailed charts for all the inland waterways as well as the coasts so it's amazing value compared to buying charts in any other format.

Track Stats
Start: 10:26
Finish: 11:43
Distance: 8.2Nm
Time: 1h 17'
Average speed: 6.4kts
Max speed: 13.6kts

When you've finished you can email the track to yourself as a .kmz file, which you can then use as an overlay on a google map.