Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Muiden to Volendam

Our stay at Muiden was pleasant, albeit very quiet after living in Amsterdam for seven months. The Internet at the harbor was quite expensive at almost 10 euro cents per minute, so John worked on photo pages and I started a book, the first since The Secret Life of Bees, which I started in Oregon and just finished.

We went to Muiderslot, the castle, in the early afternoon. Our museum cards got us free admission, including a guided tour of the 17th century interior where P. C. Hooft, a famous-to-the-Dutch writer and historian, lived. The medieval parts of the castle are open without a guide and have many displays, most oriented toward children. It appeared that several school classes were visiting that day, probably because on Tuesdays they do a falconry demonstration. We didn’t stay for the demonstration because it would have made us too late leaving the harbor. All in all, if we had paid the €11 per person admission, we would have been disappointed, but it was fun for free.

We had nice wind on the quarter and beam at about 10 knots for most of the trip to Volendam. We brought out the jib as soon as we cleared the entrance channel, but soon John also wanted to raise the main. That took a little doing, partly because we were out of practice, but also because I’d stowed the preventer lines for winter. Once all the sails were up, it was very nice to shut off the engine, and some of the time we did better than six knots.

Docking in Volendam was a different kind of adventure. We had originally planned to finesse our landing by throwing the stern line around a cleat and continuing forward to bring us to the wall. There were pilings, though, instead of cleats, and they were six feet or more from the water. I didn’t think I could throw the heavy dock line that far, so I decided to jump off and secure the line instead. Except I slipped. I didn’t fall in, but I did fall and had to use the lifelines to get all of me back on the boat. The fact that we had a big luxury motor yacht in front of us brought John out of the cockpit to take care of the lines, but I didn’t realize it, so I was slow to get to the cockpit and take the helm. We didn’t hit anything, but it wasn’t pretty and yelling was involved.

Here in Volendam we haven’t found Internet yet. We did go out last night for a beer and had some nice conversation with some locals. We had to go out because we have to pay for the electric meter here and it only takes 50-cent pieces, as we learned by trial and error. We’ll be going out again in a little bit for more 50-cent pieces and a search for establishments with Wi-Fi who would like our business.

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