Having arrived safely in Amsterdam, Lauren and I set out to enjoy ourselves in town. Though I had a long list of things I wanted to do with the boat, Lauren only had a few days before she had to return home to the US, so I took the time “off” to hang out and have fun. Taking time “off” is a strange concept when I in truth don’t really have any work to do, so I’m technically speaking always “off”. Any boatowner will however tell you that this is not the case. When you have a boat, you’re never unemployed and you’ll never run out of things to do, fix or improve.
What was good, was that we were able to move the boat from the marina in IJmuiden, which lies an hour on the bus outside of Amsterdam, into the center of Amsterdam. Going through the locks was a bit of nerve-wrecking, since we had no idea what to expect … or what to do, but it worked out. Staying in Amsterdam with the boat gave us a great starting point to explore the town… and explore we did. Her last days flew by and before I knew it, I was driving her to the airport in the Worlds smallest car. It was amazing that we were able to fit all her luggage inside. Though the Smart car is tiny and not particular fast, I still managed to get two speeding tickets on the way. Damned speeding cameras.
With Lauren on the way home, I started working on the boat. I had a long list of things that needed to be done, first on the list was getting the boat lifted out of the water. This was done with a mobile crane, which weighed my boat in at 10tons. Again I was more than a little nervous, because the crane seemed to puny and my boat so big, but in the end we encountered no problems.
With the boat firmly on land, I was just about to get cracking when Knut walked around the corner. He was joining me for the next three weeks and to be honest I was very happy to see him. Not only because it meant I had someone there to help me with the work, but also because the boat became very empty when Lauren left.
Knut and I went to work and hammered away at my do-list, which included: raising the anti-fouling by 10 cm (this so that I would be prepared for the heavier loads I’ll no doubt carry in the future), we swapped the old 15m anchor chain and 45 meters of weighted line, with 100m of stainless steel chain. We also marked the chain every 5 meters, so that it’s easy to count how much chain has been dropped out. At the end we took off the 23kg CQR anchor and put on a brand spanking new 33kg Rocna anchor. With the brand new bridle, I’ll be ready to anchor anywhere around the globe. Finally I’m confident that I have a good anchoring system. Now the rest is up to me.
I also cleaned the propellers properly, removing a ton of chalk and growth from them. We did the same on the whole bottom. Let me just say that cleaning the bottom hull of a boat is a time consuming endeavor. I finally changed the non-operational bilge pumps, which was a relief after 2 months of disappointments. In short, we kept ourselves very busy. Having said that we enjoyed some fine meals in Amsterdam and onboard and even received a very nice visit from Edvard and some classmates of his.
When we were finally back on the water, we topped off our water tanks and re-pulled the snapped halyard, before we shot away from Amsterdam and headed back out towards the sea. We had arranged to pick up fuel in the morning, before we would cast off for Cherbourg. Though I had a great time in Amsterdam I was VERY ready to put it behind me and get moving south. The longer I waited the worse the weather would get and my chances of getting a good weather window would lessen. It was in high spirits we tied up along the fuel barge, to spend the night there, so that we could get off early the next day.