Friday 14th July. There is quite a strong wind blowing us onto the jetty. I will have to make our exit stern first as we have no depth to go forwards. I press gang a man from another yacht to give our stern a good push out! A text book exit, out we come gently reversing past the yacht that is close behind us! Very slick!
We want to go to Bruinesse today and spend a day on the Gravellingen Meer in the Oosterschelde. It is about 25 miles away with two locks. The weather forecast is wet and windy….but it is July and can’t be that bad!
But first we need to solve the mystery of how to pump out the holding tank for the sea toilet! Normally, when far enough out out at sea you open the big seacock, there is a satisfying glug and Bob’s your uncle, one empty holding tank! But here you can’t do that.
We go back to the Delta Marina and go alongside the fuel pontoon. This is where there is normally the pump out kit. We find a couple of long hoses, one is free to use and the other costs 2 Euro so we guess that must be the ‘poo pump’!
I open Grace’s holding tank cap, by the complete absence of any scratches on it I guess it must never have been opened before! I gingerly try to insert the pump out nozzle into the tank, it just won’t fit! This is going to be a problem…..
Clearly this calls for another visit to the chandlery, after much scratching of heads (sea toilet joke) I leave a good few Euro poorer but with an amazing Heath Robinson contraption of hoses. Oh plus a large pair of rubber gloves in case it all goes wrong! In the end I did not need all the bits but a simple bit of pipe to stuff in the end of the pump!
As we motor out towards the Zandkreeksluis the wind starts to build, first 15 knots, then 20 and gusting 25 knots with buckets loads of rain!
The lock itself is modern and easy and we go through without drama! We are now in the Oosterschelde and head north towards the great big Zeeland bridge. It really looks impressive as the sun breaks through and glints white on the bridge spans.
We are motoring and there is quite a swell and we are wet! Hugging the red channel markers we come across a little flotilla of sailing barges. It is a great sight to see!
At the bridge we head east for 10 miles towards Briunisse. There is a big queue at the lock and lots of boats rafted up 2 or 3 deep. Not a lot seems to be happening and the lock is showing two red lights which means it is not in operation.
We don’t want to hang around too long in this wind and head back to the channel. We decide to go to our ‘reserve port’ when we see no boats leaving the lock after about half an hour! We head to Sint Annaland Marina, moor up on the visitors pontoon and I hop off to find the harbour master for a berth. He looks at me in amazement and asks why I did not use the intercom on the pontoon?! Good question!
We tuck ourselves into I5 then go off to explore Sint Annaland, finding two windmills and a Jumbo supermarket!