05.04. – 12.04.2014 Rotterdam – Antwerpen

Skipper:
Florin und Peter
Crew: Paulette und Jürg
Inner and Outer Holland and Belgium
Saturday, 04.12. Ship handover in the City Marina in Entrepothaven, Rotterdam.
First a shopping trip to the big supermarket, which is aptly named “Jumbo”. Then, finding all the items on the shopping list took so long that the skipper decided to leave on Sunday.
Sunday, 04.13. Rotterdam – Hook of Holland – back to the diversion in the Oude Maas – Spui – Haring Vliet – Willemstad (not on Curaçao …).
We had an Interesting ride on the Nieuwe Maas and the Nieuwe Waterway through the third-largest port in the world (after Shanghai and Singapore) with its many Europoort docks. Thanks to AIS and radar reflector our ride is monitored by the various traffic control centres. We Also tuned into the correct VHF channel, as indicted on the chart. So, we were warned once on the radio that a barge was about to leave one of the large docks. And then he pops up turns to follow behind us. Not only does a huge fully loaded tanker pass us by at the Hook of Holland where the mouth meets the North Sea, but also on
top of that there are big scary waves  due to  wind against tide  and crossed seas. They toss Rolling Swiss II like a matchbox to and fro; in the saloon the movement is enormous. The Skipper decides, luckily, to turn around and continue via the inland route. After some time, we turn into the Oude Maas. Here, Barges run constantly in both directions. Suddenly we are called on the radio.  “Rolling Swiss – Rolling Swiss, What is your intention”? It comes from the loudspeaker. After a brief communication, we are asked politely: “Please keep on the green side …”. What was the reason? The writer had
misinterpreted a sign “bridge entrance to starboard” with two orange lights to be “No entrance” so had taken the port side passage. Oops. For those that don’t already know. The two lights mean, “ Passage here, middle of the channel”. Yet something new learnt. After a quick change on to the unmarked green side, a short radio apology to the traffic control. “No problem at all, that’s our job.” The Traffic control kindly replies. After taking the Spui then the Haringvliet, we reach Willemstad.
Monday, 14.04. Port Day in Willemstad
Due to constant strong winds (the Haringvliet covered in foam from northwest to southeast) and a warning of gale force winds with strengths 8-9 and the information from the harbour master that crossing the Eastern Scheldt in these conditions would be difficult. The skipper decides today to be logged as a Port Day in Willemstad. The town has a small but very interesting town centre with its many beautifully restored buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. It is a typically Dutch small fortress town. The fortifications of 1602 has seven bastions, for each province of the former republic of the Netherlands .
It was restored in the 1980s. (Source: Wikipedia). The seven bastions are built outside a moat and a surrounding mound and is protected on the outside by another moat.
Tuesday, 04.15. Willemstad – through Volkeraak – Mastgat – Osterschelde – Verse sea – channel van Walcheren – Middelburg
A beautiful drive through the Dutch countryside, “interrupted” several times by locks, leads us to channel the van Walcheren. This connects the inland waterways with the North Sea via the sea lock in Vlissingen. Middelburg is located north of Flushing on the Walcheren peninsula, in the Zeeland province. During World War II the city centre was
heavily bombed. The now historic townscape is based on a complete reconstruction. We would like to moor in the inner Harbour. We note that the bridge is open only ¾ of an hours after our arrival so we moor at a dock and wait. Later, the harbour master comes and tells us that the bridge won’t be opened preseason, but that we could stay where we are (well located). The advantage is that we are ready to go unhindered in the morning.
Wednesday, 16.04. Middelburg – Zeebrugge – Breskens
Over 4 nautical miles between Middelburg and Vlissingen there are five bridges and the sea lock. Instead of the estimated one hour it takes two hours until we are out of the sea lock at the entrance to the Westerschelde. The opening of the bridges is not coordinated so we have to wait a considerable time before each bridge. In a marked channel we drive on a calm sea and little wave action to Zeebrugge, BEL. We dine here in a restaurant. The sun is shining and it is warm, we can sit outside. We continue with our journey returning to the mouth of the Westerschelde. Across from Vlissingen we moor in the marina of Breskens.
Thursday, 04.17. Breskens – Hansweert (lock) – Wemeldinge
We head up the Westerschelde on the marked channel, direction Antwerp. An interesting ride. Time and again we encounter ships and we are overtaken by inland waterway vessels. In the time before we have to cross the channel to port to enter into the lock of Hansweert, we are overtaken by two ships that where behind us for some time and had slowly caught up with us. We drive a bit out of the channel, so that they can pass us unhindered. From the lock we receive via radio communication that we can enter behind the work boats. After about an hour channel drive we reach the Marina of Wemeldinge. Before dinner we will have the opportunity to practice reverse driving into a box in gusty crosswinds. Thanks Florin, you’ve not only managed to make me sweat, but thanks to you I have also gained knowledge and (hopefully) helped improve my Manoeuvring skill!
Friday, 18.04. Wermeldinge – Westerschelde – Antwerp
Shortly after 8 clock in the morning we leave Wemeldinge, so that we reach the Marina in Antwerp around noon. After leaving the lock in Hansweert we fight against a current of about 3 knots up the  Westerschelde. Again, a very interesting ride. The current is pushing us to the side, its worth watching out that we are always in the marked channel, even at the edge. Or else we would end up in the clearly visible shoals very quickly. By 1300 clock we wait outside Royerssluis to enter the port of Antwerp. Fortunately, we have pre-registered by radio. We are number 7 to enter and only have to wait 10 minutes behind the work boat Orion until the lock is opened. Then, from starboard, five barges enter the lock lined up like pearls on a string, in the lock-in. Behind the Orion we have the seventh, last and smallest space. It takes a long time until all the ships moored properly, the Orion lays in the pack next to a big tanker .Its impressive to be lifted up.  Now we have to pass two bridges to get to the Marina. It has taken three hours to pass the lock and the bridges. After taking on Diesel we tie up in the marina at  Willemsdok at 1600. Now, unfortunately, is the end of this beautiful and varied trip. A special thanks to Paulette. She was always at hand and looking out for our well being onboard. We were able to enjoy the trip in a well-run five star restaurant.  Many thanks for your excellent commitment, Paulette.
April 2014 Peter
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