Monday-Friday, May 6-13, 2019
With seemingly favorable winds we untied from Haarlem’s town wall.
After three bridges…
and two locks, with Sarah paying the lock master at one…
then her steering us down the main canal to the industrial lock of Ijmuiden…
we tied up
opposite a group of Russians heading to southern Norway…
then exited into the North Sea. The first time JUANONA’s hull felt salt water on her hull since last September when Max and I finished our 2018 cruising.
Hugging the coast to stay out of the busy shipping lanes,
the winds turned out to be less west and more southwest along with residual waves from a previous storm resulting in a bouncy ride vs. winds perpendicular to the hull providing a smoother sail. With five hours of washing-machine waters (less than 60 feet depth) behind us we thankfully entered calmer waters when turning into Scheveningen’s Marina, Den Haag’s (The Hague’s) port.
Difficult (make that impossible) to pronounce we later discovered this city’s name was used to tell a German from a Dutchman during WWII. When trying to get my mouth around the ups and downs of this word, I saw locals invisibly cringing and envisioned them covering their ears as protection from a foreigner’s inept attempt.
Yet, that was the only difficult part of this port. Friendly marina managers, such as Roger,
and welcoming locals, including Leane*, who had spotted us entering the harbor from her apartment (where we took this photo, JUANONA s the furthest boat on the right with blue sail cover) and her husband Rob,
soon made JUANONA’s crew feel like we had found another home. With great facilities including two machines and dryers :) the three of us settled in.
*Sarah first met Leane at Dierckx & Dierckx, the cafe she and her sons own. Like me Sarah searches for the perfect spot to write while enjoying the ambiance of an aromatic cup of coffee, the opportunity to taste delicious food, and warm hosts and patrons, including Nicole whom we also met there.
I joined Sarah when she returned to the cafe and instantly understood why she raved about this locale.
In full disclosure we did have a bit of a tough docking scenario with strong winds and a tight turning radius. I was thinking at least we didn’t entertain anyone since no one was around. Wrong. Leanne looking out from their apartment saw us approach and also land. She added, though, another, earlier boat had similar issues.
Her seeing us land reminded me of our friend Gunnar, who also had spotted us coming in and docking not so well. However, I’ll gladly perform that exercise if it means we can meet folk like them.
From Scheveninger we introduced Sarah to one of our favorite Dutch museums: Mauritshuis (where Johann Vermeer’s 1665’The Girl with the Pearl Earring’ and Rembrandt’s 1632 ‘The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp’ reside).
With Rembrandt’s 350th Anniversary (he died 1669) the museum hosted a special exhibit of his work. In addition to self-portraits (the room added the light halo, not him) and others of his works,
the museum featured paintings attributed to him but found to be by someone else (possibly a student of his).
The exhibit also explained how a painting became part of the museum’s collection, such as the anatomy lesson work:
commissioned by the surgeon’s guild, 26-year-old Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp originally hung in Amsterdam’s Weigh House (the Waag). Yet, having been moved from the surgeon’s guildhall to the kitchen, the painting wasn’t looking its best by 1817. Ten years later the powers-that-be considered selling it. Fortunately art connoisseurs decided otherwise, and the Dutch State purchased it. Rather than landing in the Rijksmuseum, the obvious choice, King William I (1772-1843)* stipulated it to go to the Mauritshuis.
*He was actually the first king of the Netherlands. Prior to him the de facto leader of the country was a stadholder, a position similar to a duke or earl.
Other paintings that caught my eye included Vermeer’s 1660 beautiful cityscape of his hometown, Delft,
which prompted the three of us to hop the train to show Sarah another quintessential Dutch town, one where William the Silent (1533-84) was assassinated during the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule. His tomb [another painting in Mauristhuis, by Gerard Houckgeest (1600-61)]
is found in Delft’s Nieuwe Kerk where Max and Sarah are standing.
Sarah wasn’t the only folk from home we were lucky enough to meet up with. Our friends Rod and Jo from NH were visiting their daughter Kim who lives in Amsterdam with her husband Pete.
With Jo and Max sharing common ancestors off the Mayflower, Max led us on a pilgrimage through Leiden’s sites. From where they stepped into boats to take them down the canal to meet the Speedwell (the ship that would take them to the Mayflower in England)
to the church where they worshipped…
to the lane where Max and Jo’s common ancestor (William Brewster) had lived…
to the Pilgrim Museum, a small 14th century home first used by parish priests in the nearby Hooglandse Kerk (Church) and later serving as two apartments in the 1600s. Sarah, an enthusiastic young woman, served as our guide in spaces not much larger than JUANONA, pointing out specific objects related to the Pilgrims. One being a reference book describing America. The Pilgrims most definitely read this as they decided to go to North America.
Our host helped Max with locating some specific documents associated with his ancestor.
Anyone interested in the Pilgrim’s history, check out Max’s blog. The day wandering in the sun was delightful and only one slight mishap of which you’ll have to ask Rod when you see him…
Catching up with family and friends overseas is always a treat, and seeing the Joneses made our last days in the Netherlands special. Our Sarah would have enjoyed meeting them, but she had finally obtained a prized ticket for the Van Gogh Museum. Yet, she did stop in Leiden on her return to Scheveninger for a brief exploration.
The next day Sarah and I enjoyed coffee and Leane’s traditional Dutch apple cake
before we saw her off for the next leg of her journey, this time to meet up with her sister Hannah in Spain.
Waiting for weather we used a rental car to retrieve our re-certified life raft (a French requirement for sailing in their waters) and explored the small town Brielle. The history museum in this town reacquainted us with the Eighty Years War, including Queen Elizabeth’s sending of Robert Dudley (1532/33-88) with 6,000 troops to the Netherlands in 1585 to help them fight the Spanish (yet, his incompentcy and arrogance caused her to recall him).
Surprisingly we also noted a 17th-century portrait of Christina of Sweden (1626-89) (posing as the goddess Diana). She was briefly queen until forced to abdicate with her first cousin, Charles X, stepping up to the throne. If I recall from our last summer’s travels, she had quite a colorful, rebellious life. The picture hangs in this small museum because a local merchant purchased it in the 1700s to hang above his fireplace.
On our last full day in Scheveningen we took the tram, train, and metro to Rotterdam and visited the Maritime Museum (Max is posing with Captain Splash below...).
The highlight of this museum is a simulation of working on an energy platform in the North Sea. Thinking this would be a bit of a kids’ activity when I donned my yellow helmet and vest, I was pleased to find how interesting it was.
Before we entered the simulation platform we noticed a video loop featuring Trump regarding climate change. An interesting intro. One we quickly absented ourselves from.
Punching our tickets into various machines that track your personal performance and either give you encouragement
or something else …
Not that I’m really competitive but it did make me feel better when Max got a similar message…
So, we tried our hand at loading containers (Max’s work on this one)…
identifying locations for a wind farm…
and directing a helicopter landing where Max first made it disappear (into the sea)
but made it ascend again into the heavens for a proper landing.
Having dismally failed our rig work we left for Deltshaven, a 30-minute stroll from the museum. It was here the Pilgrims (those who could fit aboard) took off on the SPEEDWELL to Plymouth, England.
Waiting for the church to open
we enjoyed the sun, some beers and coffee
while meeting a young English-Russian couple who had just moved to Amsterdam. He’s IT, and she’s a capital market lawyer. She shared with us that her father had a sailboat on a Russian lake and she enjoyed being on it. As we walked away Max whispered, “I bet she’s one of those oligarchs”.
A service was being held at the church (the same one the Pilgrim’s worshipped in prior to their departure). Luckily, we were able to quietly enter and take a few shots before the service got underway.
We returned to JUANONA and began preparing for an early morning departure, destination Zeebrugge, Belgium, the old harbor of Brugge. But, before I end this post I wanted to mention the famous boat we saw moored opposite ours at the marina: MAVERICK.
Sailed by Dutchman Mark Slats in the 2018 Golden Globe Race (a non-stop, single-handed round-the-world competition) it was a tight finish with his just missing first place.
The guy had also participated in the 2017 Transatlantic Rowing Race in a two-man boat; however, he finished solo because his rowing partner couldn’t take it and jumped off in the Canaries Islands. Mark continued, taking first place in the solo division and fourth behind three, four-man (!) boats. I remember we actually saw one of the racing boats in the 2003 rowing race docked in Barbados. A homey spatula and toothbrush hung in the little cockpit.
Max spoke with him when he saw him on the dock earlier. Slats told him he signed up for the rowing race to give hope to his mom battling cancer and raising funds for a charity. In the brief conversation he also mentioned he was leaving to bring a VOLVO-race boat back. Max would have loved to join him but didn’t ask.
As we were leaving the next morning we spotted it in the outer harbor and was just able to pop a shot off before entering the seas.
With that we left our Dutch home behind and headed southwest to explore new harbors and lands.
Next, a change from ‘Goedenmorgen’ to ‘Bonjour’…