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Irks on the way to Urk

September 2, 2020

Urk was an island in the Zuider Zee but the making of the poulder turned it into a coastal town sitting on the Ijsselmeer. To get there from Vollenhofe you must pass first through a lock. Then come several opening bridges in Emmelord, where we stayed the night on a free in town mooring. The bridges open quickly via remote cameras. Once we left Emmelord the trip became somewhat irksome, or I should say “urksome.” As we neared Urk the remote bridge tender became much harder to communicate with. The first bridge, despite having a camera sign, was not opening, so we called. You can get the phone number using the ANWB Almanac, an excellent resource for boaters here. However you get a menu and it is all in Dutch, whereas by marine radio you speak directly to someone and they all speak English- in this case this was not an option. Irks 1, Urk 0Finally Peg managed to get through to the bridge tender, who is also the lock keeper in Urk. He informed us that the lock was closed for the next two weeks. Irks 2, Urk 0.

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The green areas are polders, recovered land. Vollenhove was on the Zuiderzee, Urk an island.

He was helpful, however, suggesting we ask the businesses with moorings at the next bridge if we could stay the day. Urk gets a point. We went on. However at the next bridge we were again forced to call. Same number, same system Irks 3, Urk 1. This time Peg was eventually able to find the bridge on the menu and once you entered the bridge number via the phone, it would open in 5 minutes. It did and on we went. Urk scores. Irks 3, Urk 2.

We found some moorings and docked. Peg walked to two businesses she could reach without climbing a fence. However no one was around. Irks 4, Urk 2. We got the bikes off and were about to leave when someone showed up next door. He did not speak any English. Irks 5, Urk 2. However he somehow understood what we wanted and said we could stay behind his place. That was very nice of him. Irks 5, Urk 3.

We backed out and over to his dock just 25 meters away to find his only spot was not well suited for mooring, lacking bollards, and there was a large plastic pipe sticking straight out. Irls 6, Urk 3. We managed to get in and found that our largest fenders were just big enough to keep the pipe for gouging the paint on the hull.

Then we biked the 1.5 km to Urk, a lovely ride in the day’s gorgeous weather. Urk gets a point. Then in town Urk easily makes up for the the deficit. It is full of loving cared for brick fisherman’s homes, bars and restaurants, and small shops.

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Urk by the sea, work in progress

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