Saturday, May 16, 2009

Arrived at Terschelling

It’s about 26 nautical miles, four bridges, and a lock from Franeker to Terschelling. We left at a little before 1 p.m., which gave me time to go to the store and to watch the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy while we still had Internet access. Good show, and good move because there’s no free Internet here, and the paid access isn’t reliable.

We’re pretty used to bridges by now and take them in stride. Andrew taught us a technique for dealing with locks. We tried it out, and it worked great. Then we were back in saltwater. That was pretty exciting for us after almost nine months. We had good wind, and we’d timed the tide so that the current was with us most of the way. The channel from the mainland to the island of Terschelling twists and turns. That means the point of sail changes. We sailed under jib alone for quite a way making more than 6 knots for most of that time.

That was when Dutch customs officers showed up in an RIB (rigid inflatable boat, inflatable sides and rigid bottom) asking to board us. The only possible answer is yes. It was our first boarding at sea, a fact which is probably amazing to our friends from Hiatus who were boarded numerous times in Mexico alone. Everything was going great until they asked if we had any guns aboard. First we said no, which to our minds was true, but then John mentioned the air/pellet gun, and they wanted to see it. It’s really just a toy that we’ve used to try to scare hitchhiking birds off the top of our mast, without success I must add. But in the Netherlands, it isn’t legal, and they had to confiscate it. (The French customs agents laughed and said never mind when we showed it to them. There are different laws in different countries within the E.U., just as there are differences between states in the U.S.) The customs agents dropped by the boat after we docked to give us the paperwork for the pellet gun confiscation, and they were really nice and didn’t fine us for having it in the first place. (We don’t remember what the customs agents asked us when we entered the country, but whatever the question was, John didn't feel compelled to mention the pellet gun. They probably said firearms.)

We walked into town this evening to get change for electricity (50 euro cents for 2 kilowatt hours) since the harbor office was closed when we arrived. Town looks cute, but I don’t know how much of it we’ll actually experience since tomorrow is Sunday and all of the stores will be closed. I have many loads of laundry to do anyway. I’ve been saving up because it’s free here and the savings will balance against the higher moorage fees. I figure I have at least four loads. Depending how many machines there are and how many competitors for those machines, it could take awhile. I know Dandelion has laundry to do since they have a little one aboard.

If I have time, maybe we’ll rent another bike and go explore the island. If I don’t have time, maybe we’ll stay and extra day. We’ll see.

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