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2021 blog

First weeks on Viking

April 16, 2021

After a comfy night in a high tech shoebox at Schipol, with it’s colored lights operated from a control panel, we were greeted by our friends who live in nearby Haarlem. They drove us to our boat in Heerenveen, a 90 minute ride into Freisland. The boat was afloat and in reasonably good condition by all appearances.

Given the possibility of deep freezes, you have to drain your pipes and put antifreeze (a safe version as it goes into the canal) in the drains and the wet exhaust system. As they say in repair manuals, assembly is a reserve operation. That is what we did first thing. All went well until we tried to leave the dock to fill the water tank, as in this marina there is no water on the dock. Unfortunately the way the marina attached the electric chord to the pole made it impossible to remove the chord so we could not move the boat. We filled some plastic bottles from the rest rooms, a 2 minute bike ride from the boat, not convenient by any means, but manageable for one day. Tomorrow is Monday so they can help us out.

The next day we filled the tank. I found that the shower faucet had frozen in the deep deep freeze earlier this year. Fortunately the faucet came off easily and there are shops nearby. But here things get a bit complicated. Due to corona virus restrictions you have to make an appointment to shop in most stores, grocery and pharmacy excepted. But we have rented a car for the day so we hoped we could just get in without an appoinment. After getting groceries we stopped at one of the big stores. They would not let me in. They did across the street however and I even found the type of facuet they use here, which mixes the hot and cold together using a built in thermostat of some sort, and it was on sale. It installed easily.

However the shower drain pump was no longer operating. The shower water drain is too low in the boat to go overboard directly. It drains into a box with a float operated pump. So no shower aboard and no hopes of replacing it until we get to a marine shop.

With high winds, snow, sleet, hail and rain we were unable to make our Thursday appointment for replacing our 21 year old charger/inverter. Things gradually improved and on the 8th day we headed south in reasonably good weather. Our rain hood completely encloses us so we are protected from the still cold wind, with temperatures barely above freezing as we departed, having paid our electric bill for the winter and our week running the small heater which, along with the diesel heater, kept us warm while awaiting better weather.

After a night in the harbor near Bonsink, the company doing work for us, we were hauled out of the water and placed in a cradle. The boat was placed rather far from the rest rooms and there was no water for washing the boat. We did have electricity at least. The installations were completed the next day and the leak at the prop shaft as well, where the seal had just been there too long. We have a shower and a new Victron charger/inverter, which is about as good as they get.

We did not have the inverter for long. We used it one night. The next day it was drawing 50-60 amps. It should not draw any more than about 2 amps to operate.

By Gary Kirkpatrick

Artist and travel blogger.

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