Back in the water… well, sort of


Wednesday-Sunday, April 10-14, 2019

On Tuesday we left a snow-covered Orr’s Island

to catch the bus to Boston and fly to Amsterdam a day earlier than planned due to a last-minute booking on Aer Lingus (our WOW tickets went belly-up with the airlines, and we’ll miss the inexpensive fares but not the lack of amenities!).

We trained back to Hoorn where an artistic display and much appreciated gift of breakfast food from our Dutch family, Deborah, Thijs, and Tika, welcomed us,

a thoughtfulness we’ve received from them several times over, as Tika’s handmade cards attest.

We’ll miss them and others, such as Maartje and Ingo with whom we’ve spent some time. One issue with cruising comes from making friends and then having to leave them. At least there’s digital communication now for keeping in touch.

Within 24 hours JUANONA acquired a live-aboard atmosphere always enhanced with fresh flowers. Spring is here and summer is coming!

But, what really got us back into the cruising mode was an impromptu social hour(s) with some neighbors, owners of a brand new catamaran they designed and just launched.

The three guys in the photo met in school while studying engineering and have kept in touch since then in spite of one living in the Philippines, another in France, and one here in Holland. And, what’s really wonderful is they are only one-fifth of a larger group who frequently gather for class reunions.

I had stopped to talk with them earlier in the day due to noticing their new boat but not seeing a port of call or name on her. They pointed out they did have a name, “H”, written in band-aids on the stern.

Seeing my quizzical look they explained the logistics…. With the Christening and name application occurring Saturday they needed a quick fix to comply with the Dutch requirement that all vessels sport a name. Since all are engineers I have no doubt they used waterproof band-aids.

The next morning I met Deborah at Jesse’s cafe, Het Koffielokaal.

As my friends know, these type of establishments become a mental and physical haven for me when boat living. I found Jesse’s just after he opened in the fall of 2018. And, how I got to know him was due to my totally spacing out and forgetting to pay the first time I was there. As you can read below he graciously accepted my apology. Since then it’s been my go-to place in Hoorn for writing enveloped in the comfort of peaceful and friendly coffee aromas.

Het Koffielokaal is where Deborah and I rendezvous if not at her home or on JUANONA, and this morning we stayed for several hours talking about our winters. She’s the co-author of a book informing how to get a better night’s sleep (September 2018). She’s on the fourth reprint, so it’s slowly but surely picking up momentum. I just wish it was in English.

Knowing boat errands would limit our time in Hoorn we planned a Saturday dinner aboard JUANONA with the piece de résistance being

Tika demonstrating how to crown Max with extra hair…

Sunday we left for those boat errands, one being to drop off the life raft for its three-year inspection in Rotterdam and another leaving Scandinavian guides for some cruisers in Blankenberge, Belgium. In between we managed to explore two other places in Belgium, both of which I’ll cover in later blogs (oh, lucky you.. but, you may want to scan one of them because our B&B owner in Antwerp is a superb host).


Friday-Sunday, April 19-21, 2019

After a too-brief catch-up Thursday night with our friends Richard and Linda from England (pictured 2nd and 3rd from the left in the August 2018 photo on the Danish Island of Møns), we prepped JUANONA for her 2019 inaugural sail to our haul-out port 11 miles south the next morning.

What made this voyage truly memorable, and poignant, was our crew-Deborah, Thijs, and Tika. Memorable, because we were leaving a port we’d called home for the past three winters,

and poignant because our time with our Dutch family was counted in hours, not days or months or years. If Thijs hadn’t stopped by our boat May 2016 when we were tied to the wall in the old harbor we never would have thought of wintering in their small, volunteer club. So, you can understand how wonderfully apt it was to have them aboard for our last sail out of Hoorn.

Tika served often as both photographer

and helmsman (helmswoman?).

We reached 7 knots speed in 10-15 knots of wind on the beam (perpendicular to the boat) in a gentle sail. In short, a glorious day on the water :)

Within two hours we had arrived at Monnickendam, an old Dutch town we had visited a few years ago with our friend Anne (March 2017).

With their bus to catch and our organizing for haul-out, we had to say good-bye to our friends, something I never enjoy. Like removing a bandaid, it’s best to just rip it off and then not think about it until later. They’ve been our home port and close friends since 2016. We’ve sung ‘Do re mi’ cycling through Hindeloopen, shared many a meal both on land and water, seen Tika grow into a teenager, and traveled in conversations through many topics. The hugs were powerful reminders of what we were leaving behind, but also what we’ll have when we meet again.

The next day we motored the short distance to the lift for haul-out with Max watching a competent team of two at Marina Monnickendam handle the crane…

and later power washing the hull.

It’s been three years since we’ve had her out of the water and we were pleasantly surprised to see relatively little marine life adhered to her.

The two winters in Ipswich’s brackish water and the three in Hoorn’s fresh water kept barnacles to a minimum. In 2015 and 2016 we managed to remove the one-year growth with an hour of gentle sponging by hand. However, this time a forceful spray managed to remove all the algae within ten minutes. A nice reprieve for our four arms.






Next, a ladder delivered by, what else, but a bicycle…

and on Easter morning we were ready to start the work of preparing JUANONA for a summer cruise:  with Max working on the garboard drain hole (water drips down the mast into the bilge, which can freeze during the winter if on land; the garboard allows it to drain),

and my doing some laundry…

thanks to our new crew member:

Now, with just a few more days and nights ‘on the hard’ * we’ll be back in the water and primed for summer!

But, not before we celebrate with a chocolate Easter bunny from Tika! :)

*’Hard’ in nautical terms means being on the land versus in the water. For me, it means trying to remember NOT to brush one’s teeth only to realize you can’t spit it out in the sink since it’d just drain out of one of the seacocks, dropping eight feet or so to splatter on the pavement for all to see. Don’t ask me how they got THAT term but I will tell you a seacock allows water to drain out of the boat such as from a faucet, as well as into the boat such as for a saltwater sink. And, if you’re wondering, toothpaste water is not a pleasant nightcap…


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