Antipole in the Baltic

Through Frisland

Kane and Lucas joined us in Groningen and we headed off through the canals.  This is the height of the holiday season and it is busy.  We left Groningen in a convoy of fifteen boats, which all had to manoeuvre through the fourteen lifting bridges in the town.  Keeping one’s position at close quarters without a bow thruster and in strong winds was an interesting challenge in the narrow canal.  Normally, the bridge operator closes the bridge behind you and cycles on to open the next.  But some bridges were so closely spaced that there was insufficient space between them for the convoy to wait and extra operators had to be mobilised to open more than one bridge at a time.  On the passage to the Lauwersmeer we negotiated twenty bridges and two locks.

On the onward passage to Leeuwarden we passed through some very pretty villages centred on the canal.

In Grou, Kane and Lucas left us to take trains back to Schipol.  They write:

We’ve had a fantastic time exploring the canals in the north of the Netherlands. We began our journey in Groningen, making our way through Dokkum, Leeuwarden and ending our journey in Grou. It’s been great to see corners of the country that you would never have been able to access without a boat! One of these places was the Lauwersmeer, a beautiful lake, where we anchored on our second night. We’ve finished our journey anchored outside the town of Grou, in the Pikmar. We’ve been able to sail down parts of the canals and have come across a variety of lifting bridges, which has made this a very unique and enjoyable trip! It has been a pleasure to have been back on board Antipole and we hope Grandpa and Ynskje have a safe and wonderful journey back home.
Kane and Lucas 

Just south of Grou is the walled town of Sneek, which we visited in 2012.  This last week has been Sneek Week, a key activity being skûtsje racing on the Sneekermeer.  Skûtsjes are a Frisian type of traditional Dutch sailing barge.  They are raced keenly and the towns compete against each other in a league, with the final being the culmination of Sneek Week.  This year Grou won for the third year running and on Saturday night we were in prime position to see the Grou skûtsje return to a rapturous welcome. Church bells rang out and the team was noisily celebrated on the balcony of the Oostergoo Hotel.

Once again we are beset by gales.  We have been firmly tied on while Antipole jumped around in the gusts.  We have been visited by Heleen, so there has been much drinking of coffee, consumption of appelgebak and chatting.

On Monday the gales finally abated and, with Sneek Week over, we moved down onto the Sneekermeer and found one of the many free visitors berths from which to watch the sun set over the mere.

On Tuesday we managed to sail much of the way down along the Prinses Margriet Kanal and two shallow Frisian lakes, the Koevordermeer and the Grote Brekken, despite large barges using the route.

This brought us to the town of Lemmer, which clusters around the old narrow way out into the IJsselmeer. Lemmer is another ‘boaty’ place with numerous marinas. We note rather enviously the maze of tiny waterways that ensure most houses have vehicular access to the front and water access at the bottom of the garden, complete with jetty, often for substantial craft.

From Lemmer we will pass out onto and across the vast IJsselmeer.

That’s it for now – Ynskje & Tony

Our route through Groningen & Frisland

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