Dunkerque

Thursday night we wanted to go out for a good meal, and the female harbor assistant guided us to the variety of restaurants along the museum quay. We went there, only to find out they were all closed up for holiday breaks! The host at a bar recommended the yacht club as the best dining place in Dunkerque, and so we trotted back again.

That turned out to be a great idea – we had excellent food, and the festive chef gave us a couple of bottles of specialty beer for a nightcap on the boat.

The steward at Dunkerque Yachtclub

Friday was a layday in Dunkerque. Erik has fixed a new plug for the VHF cable, which was defect. Since Kiel we have been on the backup antenna. In addition, a leaky porthole was grouted, and a few other small tasks. Jørgen is working on a malfunctioning signal etc.

The rest of the crew has spent the day exploring the city and museums. What a destiny the city has had. There are not many old buildings, it was that destroyed in 1940. But the modern rebuilt architecture is very handsome and special.

Zeebrugge to Dunkerque

Today’s trip to Dunkerque was shorter (40 nm) but more dramatic. It startet with some heavy showers, so bad we could hardly see land. The Belgian coast offers an incredible number of highrise enclaves with hotels and holiday homes. Beautiful beaches, but not a tourist in sight in this weather.

We are rapidly changing recognition flads. The German one was magically transformed into a Belgian, with a bit of fine handywork.

Flag transformation

The trip ended with increasing wind, up to 16 m/s. The combination of favorable current and a heading wind created some quite unpleasant waves, not least at the entrance to the harbor. But now we are in, and ready to experience the city and the sad historic memories.

Dunkerque

IJmuiden to Zeebrugge

IJmuiden turned out to be a bit lacking in charm. A once grand holiday center with hotels, restaurants and a large marina, but now quite run down with lots of empty moorings. However, we were thrilled because there was showers and best of all supermarkets. Our supplies from home on yoghurt, bread, coffee, eggs and cheese ran out Tuesday because neither Holtenau nor Cuxhaven had open shops at our late arrival and early departure.

IJmuiden

Thus well stocked, we steamed off at 6 the next morning, at a very lovely sunrise.

A beautiful sunrise

We have now set course for Zeebrugge, 12 hours of sailing. The weather forecast for Friday is bad, so we are determined to get as far as possible before that.

We have met plenty of big freighters, at speed or moored up outside of Rotterdam.

Polle (Poul Andersen) at the helm, crossing a freighter

En route we picked up a new passenger. It apparently thought it had made reservations for a cabin, we had to constantly get it out of the salon

Unexpected passenger

We don’t have much wind, and what we have is against us. We are sailing for mainsail and motor, with the diamond hoisted (the signal that a boat is going by motor)

Erik and Polle preparing the diamond. Safety is prioritized: buoyancy and lifelines worn

Kerteminde to IJmuiden

After the fextive but rainy departure from Kerteminde, the voyage of Amanda had a rough start. For the first 70 nautic miles, the rain was accompanied by a strong wind straight on – so it was a tired crew that arrived late in Holtenau (Kiel).

The stay was short, the next day gave an early departure through the Kiel Canal – again with a late arrival in Cuxhaven followed by another early departure.

Entering the Kiel Canal

Leaving Cuxhaven, the North sea showed it’s best face – sunny, 2 nm advantageous current, nice breeze from SSE allowing the use of gennaker.

And armada of boats leaving Cuxhaven – were already late departers at 7 am!

It was decided to drop the planned stop at Helgoland, and instead take full advantage of the perfect conditions heading south.

A content crew enjoying the perfect morning conditions out of Cuxhaven

Amanda pushed through the day and continued all night. The crew had high spirits, keeping 3-hour shifts throughout the night.

The weather showing it’s very best side. A nice breeze from SE brings us through the warm night

Windmills and drilling platforms en masse

 

A busy fleet of fishing boats required the full attention from the night shifts – here at dawn

Arrival in IJmuiden is expected mid-afternoon, Tuesday.