May 27, 2020
After a week in Almere Buiten we’d modified our plans given changes in the plans of visitors- they are not coming. So instead of going to Belgium we are back to our original plan: take the canal to Berlin. It’s a 600 kilometer cruise. If we are not pushing the throttle to the max we can cruise at 10 kph so it will take us about a month at a reasonable pace, and given we’d like to enjoy the beautiful German countryside other boaters have told us about. But first we must get through the border, as of today still closed. Germany has experienced a bit of a bounce after they started to relax restrictions so we wonder if the June 1 date will come and go with a fence keeping us in Nederlands. We depart from Almere Buiten to saunter towards the border in the hope of finding a welcome mat.
We arrived a Ketlehaven in a bit of a storm so spent the night at the lock. We passed through the next mornig, a 5 meter rise, then proceeded to get a bit confused about how to get to the Issel River which will take us to Zwartesluis. There is a good mechanic who should be able to solve the Mystery of the Suddenly Not Working Solar Panels, which had been quite effective in the sunshine we were enjoying in Almere.
We were unable to see the yellow markers along the shore and given that there are no channel markers we elected to go the longer but safer route. It was a pretty nice day, a bit gray but low winds and no rain. It was a pleasant ride to the shop. They said they were quite busy but would try to give us an hour. They gave us three the next morning. The friendly mechanic found corrosion inside our 24 volt panel’s junction box. The panel is about 15 years old so this is no surprise and confirmed my suspicions. We simply disconnected it and rewired the two 12 volt panels to produce 24 volt and we were getting amps flowing into the battery, more than enough to run our refrigerator.
Our next stop Meppel, another ghost town, with two old windmills and nary a soul on the street. However there are chairs piled outside some of the restaurants, and a bar had employees looking as if they were getting ready for business. Nederlands is set to allow restaurant service as of June 1 and given the 0 growth rate in cases, I think there is a big party coming.