|Meander coming out of storage in Lemmer,
Holland for our maiden voyage
|Renaming a boat is supposed to bring
After searching around local boatyards in France and a couple of trips to Holland, we came across Antonia for sale in Lemmer, Friesland and just knew she would suit us well. She is a 12 metre, 17 year old Dutch steel cruiser made by Aquanaut in Sneek. We took possession of her on 1stSeptember 2014 after a favourable survey and as I type this we are moored in the centre of Leeuwarden, the capital city of Friesland on the third week of our Dutch adventure. We are heading home to the UK on 2nd October on the Rotterdam to Hull ferry. Our cruiser, now named Meander (Me and’Er…..geddit?) will come out of the water and be stored in a shed over winter, there is some work to be done on her before next season.
|Meander under tow|
(My face is a giveaway to my feelings and anyone who knows me will agree what a worrier I am!) Within a couple of days a new propeller was sourced and fitted and we were on our way again. We’ve told our insurers about the incident and are now awaiting the bill, we need some paintwork touching up on the hull as we did some damage to it whilst trying to bring ourselves to a halt.
|Never thought I’d be so glad to see a propeller!|
|How many big strong men does it take
to fit a propeller…obviously more than last time to
make sure it’s done properly!
|Pinched your photo, Bill….
Moored in Dokkum, Friesland
We have suffered during the warm weather from vicious midges but Mandy brought some ‘skin so soft’ for us which seems to have frightened them off, or maybe it’s the change in the weather, it’s fair chilly in the mornings and evenings now.
|Making themselves at home|
There have been some lovely places to exercise them, we sometimes take them for a gentle run alongside our bikes which they love doing and get very excited about. Another new experience for them, during propeller-gate, we were marooned without bankside access so the only way to get the dogs off for a comfort break and exercise was for them to go out of the escape hatch, onto the swim platform, into the dinghy and 500 metres downstream to a grassy area three times a day for three days. We thought Belle would be a nervous wreck but she coped really well and now gets excited when she hears the outboard motor starting up! Without the dinghy we would have been stuffed actually! And it came in handy as a water taxi when Mandy and Bill arrived.
|Bill enjoying back seat driving!|
It might be just a leap across Belgium from France but the actual cruising is a world apart…the sheer numbers of boats for a start…..very few locks but many road and rail and even motorway bridges that open in different ways…..some lift, some lift and tilt, some swing, some are automatic, some manned, some self service by pressing a button, many free, some chargeable with a swinging clog on the end of a fishing line to collect the “bruggeld”.
|Here comes the clog……|
There is a fantastic network of free moorings in remote places throughout Friesland that one can stay at for up to 3 days upon buying a €13 flag for the season. We used many of these, at this time of year we often have a small island to ourselves…..fantastic for the dogs. To get a flavour you can look at the pics on the website but it’s all in Dutch! Fancy that!
|Sneek water gate|
Next year’s plan is to come out to Meander in March and make our way to Germany to the Mecklenberg lakes. We shall see…….recently we’ve realized that best laid plans and all that……..however, that is what we’d like to do. This coming winter it’s unlikely that we’ll be away in the motorhome for long as Nigel will be off his feet and unable to drive for some time after his surgery.
|I needed a bike to get around, light enough to lift
onto the foredeck, we had one delivered for free to the
boatyard from Wiggle and it was there before us.