There are certain things in life that you anticipate with such fear and anxiety, you feel quite surprised afterwards to have survived them. Things like the first day of school, driving test, first date, wedding day – and crossing the Bay of Biscay!
The spring in Brittany turned out to be long. Because of the blooming flowers and warm days we had experienced in February we had expected to be on our way much earlier, but it seems the phenomenon called the “second winter” is not entirely unknown beyond Scandinavia. April came and went before we felt ready to leave.
These were some of the highlights of 2018 – one of the most memorable years for us so far, and undoubtedly the most eventful!
Den Helder is one of the spots where you can easily get from the North Sea to Holland’s inland waterways – the lakes and canals. We wanted to know more about this peculiar country, and what would be a better way to do that, than boating along its canals!
We raised the sails as soon as we were out of the Helgoland harbour. Our destination, the island of Borkum, happened to be exactly where the wind was blowing from. The opposing current was right there to greet us. The current would naturally change direction every six hours or so, but even when flowing with us, it didn’t seem to affect our speed very much.
During the two months that we spent in Kiel we became very well acquainted with the town and its surroundings. We liked it there, and by this time it already felt almost like home. But now it was nearly the end of September – time to finally move on!
This time I’m not going to write that much. Instead, I will fill this post with photos of some pretty amazing boats we had the pleasure to see up close. I have always loved classic, wooden boats, and I don’t think there could be anything more beautiful than a long, slender 12 mR yacht in all her splendour and elegance of good old days… except perhaps a J class boat, that’s even longer and more splendid and elegant – but I have not yet seen one with my own eyes!
During the long, dark winter evenings we planned our great journey south. We would cast off on the 1st of June, make a quick stop at Gdansk, and by July we would be through the Kiel Canal and well on our way down the English Channel – in time to cross the Bay of Biscay before the summer was over.
Our boatyard visit in Gdansk was supposed to be a quick two week pit stop on our way far, far south from the Baltic Sea. We ended up staying for five weeks – partly because we kept having new ideas the whole time while observing the work in progress. The end result, a stern arch that accommodates a sizable array of solar panels and quite a lot of other equipment, is a piece of excellent workmanship, so the visit was definitely worth it. Now we should be able to produce all our electricity, without the need of sailing to marinas to plug in.
After a strenuous spring filled with boat projects, emptying yet another land based home, getting stuff for the boat and getting rid of land life stuff while working to save every last penny for our cruising kitty we were finally ready to cast off! No, the boat was not perfectly polished and squeaky clean, but it was ready to sail.