It is Saturday 15th July and we are ready to depart the picturesquely named Sint Annaland. We are now on our way to Willemstad in the rather romantically named Hollanse Diep. (Or so I think!) The chart says the maximum depth is 9 m so not very deep!
At 1000 we have cast off from the pontoon and are away without mishap, we are soon in the Krabbenkreek channel and then out into the Mastgap. There is a Force 3 westerly and we motor the 3 miles up to the large lock at Krammer. It is huge and there is a separate lock and waiting area for ‘Sport Boats ‘. We enter the waiting area dodge about for a bit then slickly tie up at the waiting pontoon.
A large yacht with a crew fluff it and have to go round again to have another go. You can’t help feel a bit smug when it all go well! The lock opens and it is a free for all as we all pile in. We find a space. It is quite nerve wracking as we are going under our first non opening bridge. The lock keeper checks our air draft. It is 15.5m and a big digital sign on the lock says 18.8m so we know we will be okay but going under the bridge span itself it still feels very close.
Anyway we had nice chat with other people in the lock. Our EU flag seems to meet with approval. Also now we start to push deeper into Holland people are commenting on how far we have come, all the way from Chichester! I give them my best ancient mariner expression and agree. It is then promptly spoilt in a frenzy of engine revs and apologies as Grace bounces her way out of the lock!
At 1130 engine off and sails up! We are out heading out to the far side of the Volkerak. On a bearing of 150 we gybe down the channel dodging huge barges as we go. It is fun and we invent a new sport ‘darge bodging’ which involves seeing how close we dare get to them before gybing away. Which is not very close as these things are huge and travel really fast! Grace is sailing beautifully, the helm is easy and the sails drawing well. We are only making 2.6 knots but slightly more over the ground (SOG).
All this ‘darge bodging’ has taken time. It is 1400 and realise that we will not make Willemstad today. Instead we make for Dintelas in the Brabant. Entry is easy through the lock, the Manders Sluis. I VHF the lock keeper on channel 20. He tells us we are next ones through so we float about for 10 minutes until we get the green light. There is no height change here. It is purely to control blue-green algae.
By 1535 we are safe and secure in a box mooring in Dintelmond Marina. 16 miles covered today.
We walk into Dinteldorp which is about 1.5 miles away. For a village so small it has two enormous churches and a very nice bar by the town dock. We realise that if we had taken our dinghy we could have moored right in the centre of town!