Category Archives: 2019 Summer Cruising

Launched (for real)!


Friday-Monday, April 26-29, 2019

After sprucing up JUANONA with new bottom paint

and John’s repairing of the keel,

Jim carefully launched her

after Max taking a ride to the top of the mast for affixing the repaired wind instrument.

A successful launch and some good-byes

And, we’re off! Although, only for a short distance(16 miles) to Amsterdam Marina located a free ferry ride

across the harbor to the city center.

This marina offers great amenities, including, Anne, a bathtub (!), private showers, AND my fav:  washing machines!

We took the opportunity to revisit some sites and explore new ones, such as Micropia, a museum focused on microbes.

And, where’s there an opportunity to use my most agreeable model…


A bit bizarre and one I’d recommend as a second (third?) tier museum; but, it provided some interesting tidbits such as the fact that all species on earth “share a single ancestor:  an ancient bacterium… the same hereditary material within their cells:  DNA.”

The museum featured a microbe body scan where Max discovered he carried 168 trillion microbes.

By selecting a specific body part details we found that the small intestine trains our immune system to recognize the good and the bad bacteria. And, that Brevibacterium linens, which digest dead skin cells such as between the toes resulting in stinky feet, also produce some of the strong-smelling cheese some of us enjoy. That can give one a bit of a pause…

Being a holiday weekend (April 27 is King’s Day, celebrating his birthday) we found some lines intensely long (such as the Rijks Museum) and the city crowded (typical, though, especially in tulip season). Remembering a great Asian restaurant we decided to get take-out for dinner

where we peered through the window into a tiny kitchen where three to four people managed to choreograph delicious dishes. And, incredibly (too) filling.


Continuing onto HAARLEM…

Monday-Monday, April 29-May 6, 2019

Knowing we could easily access Amsterdam and its sites from one of our favorite Dutch cities, we decided to head off to Haarlem, just a few bridges and one lock a further 12 miles down the canals.

Three years ago  this city seduced us in the loveliness of the Netherlands, from the abundance of flowers to its famous Golden-Age Dutch master Frans Hals to its 16th-century charm, prompting us to apply for temporary residency and making Holland our winter home from 2016-19. It felt appropriate to return, making our stay here a full-circle.

We tied to the town wall on the other side of the windmill where we were on our first visit. And, the perfect introduction to Holland for our young friend, Sarah Arndt.

One of John and Leslie Arndt’s daughters, Sarah had worked as one of the program leaders shepherding 20 college students through a semester of accessing Ecuador’s, Malawi’s, and Italy’s food policies. With time between the end of her job and meeting her sister Hannah, she joined us adding a zest to JUANONA’s crew.

And, it was wonderful.

Seeing familiar haunts through the eyes of a newcomer inspires renewed appreciation for all we’ve experienced, and Sarah’s interest in different cultures gave us that gift. During her stay we toured Haarlem,

enjoyed local beers,

and requested poses, which she kindly agreed to do.

With a shared interest in Dutch history and art, we visited some of Haarlem’s museums–Frans Hals, Teylors, Corrie Ten Boom’s House–while taking in the city’s ambiance of what some call the small Amsterdam.

Our daily excurions would often begin as a trio, then duo, ending as singles when specific areas would draw us into solo journeys.

One example of our divergent courses began when we couldn’t get into the new David Hockney exhibit at the Van Gogh Museum. This led us to the Rijks Museum’s Gallery of Honor featuring stellar work by the Dutch Masters of the country’s Golden Age (17th century), with Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’ covering the entire back wall.

Exiting we heard music drawing us to a group of street musicians. Having mentioned to Sarah we usually hear some beautiful classical tunes, I couldn’t identify these notes (not unusual for me). I decided to record it in order to ask some knowledgeable, musical friends, Melanie and Anthony. Then I heard a familiar tune and laughed…

yep, the score from ‘Game of Thrones’! Soon followed by the theme from ‘Mission Impossible’.

But, back to the Van Gogh Museum, one Sarah really wanted to see. So, while Sarah decided to take her chances of garnering a ticket from any possible no-shows, Max and I headed to the Neue Kerk (New Church) to see the World Press 2019 photographs. Finding that closed, we turned to the Palace just to the left of the church.

Never having been tempted to tour this site, the short entry line enticed us in, and we’re glad we did. The palace is a stunning example of the imperial style created during Louis Bonaparte’s brief reign as King of Holland (1806-10) during his brother Napoleon’s occupation of the area (1806-13) .

Initially constructed in 1648-55, this building served as the Amsterdam’s Town Hall and came to represent Holland’s independence from Spain and the end of the Eighty Years’ War (1568-1648).

Designed by architect Jacob van Campen and featuring over 100 sculptures by Antwerp sculptor Artus Quellinus, considered in the same league as Italy’s Bernini, the building was pronounced the eighth wonder of the world by the residents of Amsterdam.

Beginning with the impressive Citizen’s Hall,

we wandered through 21 rooms–many containing the original furniture from Louis’ time.

Now, it’s a tourist attraction as well as the official reception Palace of the Royal House of the Netherlands (one of government’s three palaces). It also is where foreign dignities may stay during their welcome here.

With the Tribunal room located on the ground floor we discovered an MDT (Max Disaster Tour) site. In this surprisingly small but elaborately sculpted room judges reviewed and announced death sentences four times a year. Here the accused would be tried, sentenced, and the type of execution chosen – hanging, strangulation, beheading, or drawn (big ugh).

This led upstairs to the Justice Chamber where all knelt in prayer upon which the accused stepped through the window to the balcony (installed during Louis’ times) where he/she was executed.

Max and I also saw the special exhibit at the Hermitage, a small sister museum to the one in St. Petersburg. Catherine the Great (1729-96) began collecting art and in 1764 displayed it in the ‘Small Hermitage’. Her grandson Tsar Nicholas I expanded it by building a larger museum 88 years later. This was renamed the State Hermitage Museum after the 1918 Russian Revolution. In 2009 Amsterdam opened its Hermitage, a sister museum we’ve frequented often when in Amsterdam.

Unfortunately we had only an hour before closing but the art was tremendous, and some was intriguingly juxtaposed with two similar items yet from two distinctly different time periods. One example being the statue of Egypt’s King Amenemhat III with the affable bust of Catherine the Great; both were created during their lifetime and both reflected the monarch’s desires to be approachable. Catherine’s even smiling!

The exhibit included a wide range of items, from a rather disturbing portrait, ‘Donna Nuda’, by Leonardo da VInci…

to a wasp-waisted dress worn by Tsar Nicolas II’s mother, Empress Maria Fyodorovna (1847-1928)…

to a musical desk created for Catherine the Great.

With a video demonstrating this lyrical desk’s sliding doors and hidden drawers we ended our too-brief tour and began our trek back to JUANONA.

Memorial & Liberation Days (Saturday & Sunday, May 4 & 5, 2019)

On the weekend we observed the two-minute silence at 8pm. Initiated at the end of WWII this joint event has grown into recognizing the sacrifices of all who have died to protect the freedom of others.

We thought this time would be extremely powerful if surrounded by a stilled, hustle-and-bustle crowd; but, unable to locate one we wandered into St. Bavo, Haarlem’s imposing church anchoring its main square. There we stood with a small group as they tolled a bell up to the time,

then listened to the quiet sound of thankfulness to be where we were because of the sacrifices by others.

The next day the mood flipped 180º from the somberness of memories to a fiesta associated with Liberation Day. Since 2016 this time has been a keynote in our Dutch experience and truly the one that cinched our decision to use this delightful country as a home base. Yet, unlike in Amsterdam’s Dam Square 2016, this time the celebrations mainly offered loud music, food and drink carts, and a horde.

As you can see from an overflowing receptacle,

the public urinals came in handy with Max demonstrating his single-hander.

And, a mixed signal with a young entrepreneur dressed as a hot dog selling hamburgers…

Sarah, too, found it underwhelming in culture and overwhelming in crowds as she tried it out after a day in Amsterdam.

Back aboard we enjoyed another evening of shared meals, some augmented with treats from Sarah, and conversation

then retreated into our private thoughts and projects as the late evening sun turned to night.

With a decent weather forecast we decided to give Sarah a taste of canal cruising then sailing in the open sea. Tomorrow:  On the move again with favorable winds, and even better, more friends to see!



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…