August, 2009

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Saturday/Sunday Aug 29/30

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Yesterday, Saturday the Yacht Club had their bi-annual members work day. Sheds were cleared and cleaned, roofs and gutters pressure washed. The kitchen served up sandwidches and soup a l’onignonand afterward we were all treated to a few rounds from the bar. These Schinkelers do not need much of an excuse for a good time. Herman, my brother in law, stopped by to drop off my laundry I had done at their house and then took me to dinner. This morning I attended the 10.30 service again at the St. Augustinus church.  One of the club members gave me two complimentary tickets to the Amsterdam “outstation” Hermitage Museum. The St.Petersburg Hermitage lends parts of their collections to the Amsterdam museum which is dedicated to just these borrowed exhibits. The current exhibit is a collection of costumes  and jewelryworn for festive events, like Imperial Balls,  in Russia during the 19th and prerevolutionary period of the 20th century. Also lots of portrait paintings of the Tsars, Russian court and other dignitaries and nobility. Afterwards I took the train to Haarlem to have dinner with my nephew Dirk Jan and his family. Daan (13) and Lukas (9) played for me on the piano and Saxophone. They are the Dutch version of the von Trapps. Mother Fransje and grandfather Jaap all play a number of instruments. Lukas played his own jazzy improvisation of “Hit the road Jack”. I did not take it personally. Another 6 years and these guys will be a hit when they hit the road.

Everyone and all the news here talks about the 13 year old Dutch Laura wanting to solocircumnavigate. Often I am being asked to give my opinion. Here it goes: Unless this girl is a super extraordinary 13 year old, I, as her father would want her to wait another 4/5 years. There are just too many challlenges that I had to face that I am convinced even the strongest, smartest, very experienced 13 year old would not be able to surmount. I do  not believe that any one else other than her parents need to take on this responsibility of a potential disaster or defeat. 

Magda Scholten pointed out the following link http://boston.com/bigpicture/2009/01/sailing_around_the_world.html for fast sailing and traditonal sail enthusiasts. Great Pictures.

Friday Aug 28 Reciprocity

Friday, August 28th, 2009

 

I just sent out a mail to the people that were invited to the Open House on September 4, here at the Y.C. The declines outnumbered the confirmations. I did not count on the fact that the Dutch without schoolage children often take their vacations in this period. I will send out another invitations, soon, for a digital slide show of the circumnavigation for the end of  October.

The traditional once a week “Vrijheid” race went off with a good breeze, last night. 13 “Vrijheid”‘s participated.  Evelyn came over for dinner on the boat. This is the first time that I can be both host and guest. I like it. For all those years, when I visited Holland, I depended on my hosts for lodging and meals; now I can come and go as I please or just hide in my own home.

“de Schinkel” flies the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes for the visitors, “Fleetwood” in turn flies the Dutch and Amsterdam ensigns on the starboard yard arm.

Wednesday Aug 26

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

This week is going fast. I did not realize that I have not done a post since Saturday. Sunday morning was another great sermon from the pastor at the nearby St.Augustinus. The choir members almost outnumbered the attendance. Typical phenomenon in the European churches. Great voices. Much of the liturgy was sung in Latin and since the average age of the parishoners was above 65 there was a fair number who knew the latin chants. What a contrast with the services I attended in the Philippines and Vietnam, as an example, where the average age is in the thirties. I sent out the invitations for the Friday September 4 open house here. The confirmations are starting to trickle in.

My cousin Gido van Ommen, the son of the uncle who used to be a member here at “de Schinkel”, stopped by on Monday. We then went to see my aunt who lives in a rest home in this neighborhood. The likeness of us two cousins is more obvious than it used to be when we were younger. I’ll have pictures on the next occasion. Yesterday, Guus Bierman stopped by. He is a good friend from the old neighborhood and he is also a sponsor on my web site, the owner of Contender Sail Cloth. Lots of good memories and friends passed in the revue over a superb Italian dinner. When searching for old friends there is always the chance that there will be a disappointment. To-day I got through to Dick Hooijer’s home. Anneke told me the sad news that to-morrow will be the fourth anniversary of his death. I saw them last in 1991. We used to sail with Dick as teenagers from the marina next door.

Saturday Evening Post Aug 22

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

It was a glorious summer day. Bart Boosman of the “Franschman” had invited me and  a few friends and relatives to his boat in the “Sixhaven”. Bart and I met on the Single Side Band Radio when we both talked to Herb, the weather man, a month ago. Bart had participated in the S/H Ostar race from Plymouth, England to Newport, R.I.  The Marina is North of the “IJ”  the deep sea harbor of Amsterdam. I rode the Klapfiets across the entire cit, but what amzed me is that I was hardly ever in any city traffic. There was a bike trail along a good part of the waterway I had come in on last Saturday night and then a good part went through the Vondelpark. The last part led along the canals in the center. I cannot think of any metropolitan center where I’d opt to ride instead of a run through the country side. Parts of Washington D.C., might come close. I was able to learn about the single handed races that are held here and I plan to participate in a few of them.  There is a 200 miler where you get a sealed envelope with your direction to the next overnight stop, somewhat like the “Amazing Race”. Sounds like a blast.

I can cook again. I found a built in two burner stove top that fits right into my gimballed frame, from the previous marina stove. So I was able to clean out the sink where a pile of dirty dishes had accumulated. Just in time for 9 family members to show up at the boat for a picnic. My sister’s youngest daughter, Jozina, lives in Perth, Australia and her 20 and 22 year old daughter, Phoebe, and son, Moshe, are visiting in Amsterdam, both on their way to Sweden for studies.

Friday 21 Aug

Friday, August 21st, 2009

I have posted on the web site a photo album/slide show of the crossing from North Carolina, via Bermuda, Azores, France to Amsterdam at:  http://www.cometosea.us/albums/albums/AtlanticCrossingSummer2009.pdf

The two burner cooking stove, which I had assembled from my broken stove and two disgarded stoves at the Green Cove Springs yard, last year, gave out. So, that’s my agenda for to-day. Shop for a replacement.  This just after I had managed to solve the gas bottle exchange and had my first hot meals and coffee on board. I did my first run to the super market. The quality of just about everything, vegetables, bread, coffee is superior to most american markets. I had a haircut, 24 euroes=$33.00……..  Ouch!!  Thursday evenings, at the club here, they hold an informal race of the “Vrijheid” class, a 17 foot stripplanked gaff rigged day sailer. Flip Brommet is one of the regulars and I got to meet him again yesterday evening. We grew up in the same street. He remembers my uncle who was a long time member here.

I plan to have a reception here on Friday evening the 4th of September. The invitations to family and friends will go out shortly. Later in the fall I plan on hosting an eveing for members and friends/family to see my slide shows of the many counries visited.

Correction Cell Phone Number Wed 19 Aug

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Everything went wrong with the Vodavone cell phone.

My new cell/phone Mobieltje is 0639884848

from USA: 0031639884848

Monday Aug 17 One thing is for sure….

Monday, August 17th, 2009

That Gig Harbor is my home town and not Amsterdam. I quote another bible passage. Luke 4-28  : “No prophet is accepted in his home town”.  In November 2007 I was alowed 5 minutes, at the end of the monthly general meeting of my  Gig Harbor Yacht Club to invite the members to a slide show of my 2 1/2 year near circumnavigation. The majority of the audience did not even bother to stay and listen and filed out.  A handful of members showed up for the presentation. An invitation in the church bulletin was  ignored by 99.9 % of my fellow parishoners.  Here the acceptance and welcome is overwhelming.  The members cannot do enough for me. The board is giving me a moorage rate like a member which is much lower than the commercial rates. So far just about every second member are related to or friends of people I grew up with.  I feel like I have been adopted into a family of old friends. At 10 o’clock I took my 7 minute bike ride to my friend Evelyn’s house for coffee. At 11 Evert Slijper came to the club. Evert is another Dutch American who lives in Eugene, Oregon, we have known each other since 1973. He knows the club well and also used to sail here in his youth. Another member, Leo Jongsma, turns out to be the brother of Eduard, another sailor,  who I visited in 2007 at Royal Capetown Y.C.The family used to sit in the same pew at the Waalkerk Reformed Church where I grew up in. Small world even though it took me 4 years and 30,000 plus miles at an average of 4 to 5 knots per hour, to get here.

I learnt that there are several possibilities to sail on the large deep lakes to the south of here. The Westeinder, Kaag, Brasemer Meer; connected by short scenic motor trips through the country side canals. 

Right after I posted my “is there a doctor in the audience” the pain went away. And I am like brand new. It most likely was a bladder infection. The body just was not used yet to temperatures under 75 degrees (Fahrenheit). Thanks for the concerns and help.

My new CELL PHONE # 0627995743 From USA 0031627995743. It is not activated yet but should be by to-morrow  afternoon.

For e-mailing best you use my onshore address jack@cometosea.us for the next years, instead of the sailmail address.

 

Pictures taken last Saturday by my nephew Dirk Jan.

Sunday Aug 16 My new home in the old neighborhood

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Fifteen sail boats made the trek through the city of Amsterdam, in the wee hours, through a city that does not sleep on a balmy summer Saturday night. The first bridge, on the very busy railroad line from Haarlem to Amsterdam , made it’s once a day opening at 2.00 a.m. At times the bridges were so close together that the string of boats had trouble to keep some steerage while waiting for the next bridge to open, and not run into eachother. About 6 bridges and lastly the Schinkel locks and the last bridge in the main highway from the south of Amsterdam to the Hague.  We arrived at our destination after 4 p.m. and had a heck of a time finding the marina in the dark. It’s a wonderful spot. The club members are excited to have “Fleetwood” here. The club will celebrate it’s 90th anniversary in October. The members are a very informal lot. None of the pomp of the old European or U.S.  YC’s.   I am tentatively looking at Friday Sept 4 or Saturday the 5th to try organize a celebration, of the arrival in Holland, with family and friends.  Ideally here at the club but it needs to be approved by the club board. Stay tuned. 

This morning’s mass gospel was John 15 9-17 “Love each other as I have loved you” . It is a very popular text but when I hear it in a language other than English it always brings out new and exciting nuances. It was also a 50th wedding anniversary celebration for a parishoner couple. The sermon was impressive. This community and priest will be a treat while “Fleetwood” and I will be here in retreat till next Spring.   

Correction Aug 15 and a few more pictures

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Ik gaf het verkeerde mobile nummer voor neef Carol het is 065971342. Carol will be with me through the early morning trek through the Amsterdam Canals to my moorage, south of Amsterdam. I shall have my own Holland cell phone number on Monday and will advise.

It is a warm summer evening and a steady parade of small outboards and the rage here of the “sloepen” an open launch. A cooler with Heineken and dinner. I am moored in the Houtmankade. Waiting for the early morning railroad bridge opening. My grandfather had a branch store of his ship chandlery for the inland barge skippers here just a few blocks down the canal. I can still smell the tanned manila rope. Around the corner was his mast maker shop. The Pitch Pine logs from America would be rafted outside to make the masts and booms for the sailing barges. As boys we played in the mountains of shavings and gunny sacked the larger shaving for the bakers’ ovens. My crew, Carol de Vries, continued the 5 generatiion, almost 200 year old business till around 2000. There are some pictures of the business and the family history on this web site.  

 

 

I will make a slide show of these and more photos of the trip from Moorehead City, via Bermuda, Azores, Bretagne to Amsterdam and advise the link to it in the coming week. Wishing every one a good and blessed Sunday and a big thank you for your prayers for my safety and the success of this voyage to a long held dream. I am for ever grateful for this opportunity. 

 

Aug 15 In Amsterdam

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Carol and I had breakfast at my nephew’s home in Haarlem. Dirk Jan and his two sons, Daan and Lucas came aboard in Ijmuiden for the ride through the sea locks and the North Sea Canal to Amsterdam. My sister Karolien and her husband Herman came to meet us at the locks. It was a new experience being sluiced through the locks with at least 15 sail boats. Every one sailed the canal. A rare sight in the U.S. where one usually relies on the motor only. A marechausee boat directed us to the side for passport control. A delay but exciting for the young boys and a great photo opportunity. I am writing this from Carol’s home in a 1605 building, where my grandfather moved in 1925 and he was born and I lived for s short period in 1944, while my mother was interned. To-night we continue our trip through the canals to my moorage, when the railroad bridge opens.

In the locks

In the locks

Dutch scene from the ride to Amsterdam

Dutch scene from the ride to Amsterdam