Tippy canoe

We entered the Oster (east) Schelde after a night in Willemstadt. The Oster Schelde leads to the North Sea. This means we are in a tidal zone, with significant tidal current at times. If the wind is against the current, or simply if it’s very windy, the water can get pretty rough. This can make us passengers pretty uncomfortable. Fortunately we did not have this issue despite the wind. However upon entering the harbor for the night we had to turn to face the wind to control the boat, otherwise the wind can push the back end of the boat away from the dock when you want the opposite to occur, of course.

Some friendly boaters helped with the lines, showed us where we were supposed to go, as we had first moored in order to find our assigned spot rather than taking the boat into more narrow spaces. Then they helped us moor at our assigned space, the one given to us by phone earlier in the day.

The next day at 6:45 a.m. we left for Terneuzen. We did not get far. Just outside the harbor the water was too rough for comfort so we returned to our mooring, having to pay the big bucks for the night. This zone is more expensive than most areas of the Netherlands. The next day promised to be sunny and calm and indeed it was. It is a route said to be traversed by many big ships. It was that as well. The small craft lock was closed for maintenance or repair, so after some confusion we found ourselves going into the huge lock with the big boys.

On the canal going south we were in some dense fog from time to time. It lifted by the time we arrived at the next lock, at Haanswert. After that huge lock you enter the Wester Schelde. Following it in the southeasterly direction takes you into Antwerp. As we head in the opposite direction, to Terneuzen, we were running with the low tide. We cruised at 7km per hour over our normal cruising speed of 10 kph. Going against the current would mean 7km under our cruising speed, about 3km per hour, so there’s a huge difference. had we gone to Antwerp at this time it would have been very slow going. Here you must pay attention to the tide tables, which we had not required to do since we took the U.S. Power Squadron course in the early 1990’s.

The last time we entered Belgium we went through Antwerp, going south from the Haaswert lock rather than angling to Terneuzen as we did today. By this route you enter the port of Antwerp, the largest or second in Europe. However AIS (Automatic Identification System) is now required. Something approaching $1000 is what you need to lay out for the purchase and installation of the equipment. This is the first time we have found it to be a requirement, so the expense is not justified.

So we were off to Terneuzen. We weren’t alone. We were with huge inland barges and gigantic seagoing vessels, but this is a large body of water so we were not at all concerned. For safety and to avoid the sometimes significant wakes, the harbor master told us to stay between the green and yellow markers, the small craft lane. The route is well marked so you avoid the shallow areas exposed by the tide. In fact we passed by several visible sand banks along the way. Most large vessels stayed out of the zone marked by the green and yellow buoys. Using it reduces the distance you need to travel. We were bounced around by wakes from time to time, but nothing above about .5 meters.

There is not one but two huge locks at Terneuzen. The lock “meester” directed us to the one to starboard, and to go in behind a particular huge ship, one with lots of pipes and things on it making it look like a floating oil refinery. We were tied to the huge ship splinter-laden moorings for over an hour as more lumbering giants entered. Finally about a half dozen monster commercial ships emerged from the open door. Then in went the big boys waiting with us, followed by us and one other small boat, once the lock meester told us it was our turn. It took over an hour to this point and we still had the lock to go. Huge ships struggle to get going, so once the door was open it was at least another 20 minutes before we were out and into the canal, the concerns about the crossing behind us.

Giant lock at Haanswert, two huge barges at the front.
One of the huge ships staying in their lane
In the lock at Terneuzen
The gigantic gates at the Terneuzen lock- I am holding the boat in place while shooting this thus the shakiness.

One Lane Canal II

One Lane Canal II
One Lane Canal II, 18 x 24 cm 7″ x 9.5″ on Fabriano 300 gr watercolor paper

Rich with charm, Wergea is a tiny village in Friesland, We passed through on our boat Viking via their one lane canal, the only canal in the village. Tranquility, harmony of architecture, bikes on the lanes. In good weather the Netherlands is one of the best places on earth.

Viking in Nederlands 2021 (video)

First song by Colm McGuinness. See more of his singing on youtube.
de hoef sm
De Hoef, watercolors
Windmill Nederhorst den berg
Windmill Nederhorst den berg

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Delft Port Towers
scene in zwammerdam wc sm
Zwammerdam, watercolor

All of these are available for purchase. Easiest way to make arrangements is to contact me at info@garyjkirkpatrick.com Prices range from $150-350 for these. Size A4, approximately 8.5″ x 11″

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