May 8 – May 18, 2016
It is hard to believe but in a couple of days it will have been 3 weeks since we left the US for the Netherlands. We stayed on Tsamaya “on the hard” for 6 nights and then got launched on Tuesday, May 10th
. Everything went without a hitch which is always a good thing. Irwin, the crane operator here at Flevo Marina does an excellent job – we had him launch us before and were always impressed with how smooth an operation he has.
Instead of moving to a regular slip in the marina we had to stay near the crane as they were doing some minor fiberglass work on our stern and it wasn’t quite finished when we were launched. They were to fix it while we were gone and they did fix one spot, but had missed another one. The person doing the fiberglass work (who is quite an artist at his work) stated it wasn’t a problem finishing the job when we were in the water. We had been launched at 11:30AM and with the fiberglass work being done right away we decided eating lunch at the restaurant was a
good idea. By the time we got back the work was done and we then were able to move to a slip in the marina. Fortunately they gave us a place that we could do a side tie which makes it much easier with getting things on and off the boat than with a “box” where you have to climb in and out over the bow. We really were pleased as the engine turned over the first time the key was turned – not bad at all for not being used for such a long time – we really love our Yanmar engine!
When we first got to the Netherlands the weather was warm and clear – great for getting work done on the boat. With being away for such a long time there was plenty to do. Janice kept busy with sanding the teak as it really needs to be done over. We are taking it all down to wood and starting over with all of it. Quite a job, but it will be much better in the end. Bob had plenty of projects such as fixing the water system, tending to the engine (change the impeller) and
numerous other work that needed to be done with being gone for so long. We actually were pleased that Tsamaya wasn’t in too bad a shape after being away for such a long time. We had kept a dehumidifier running all the time we were gone and as a result we did not have any mold problem. We had the marina clean and waterproof our canvas as they had sent photos of it and it had changed to green in many places – it sure was nice to not face that job when we got back here.
We found out that the best place to see flowers in the Netherlands this time of year is Keukenhof . In checking it out we found we could take a one hour train trip to the Amsterdam airport and then catch a 30 minute bus ride to the gardens. With good connections like that we treated ourselves to a day off from boat projects. The gardens are actually open only for 8 weeks each year and it was getting near the end of the season. We picked Thursday , May 12th
to play tourists as the weather prediction was good and gave
us a day after launching the boat to at least get some things in order on Tsamaya. It was well worth it. The name of the garden means “kitchen garden” dating back to the 15th
century. Here fruits and vegetables were gathered in the woods for the Teylingen Castle. The Keukenhof Castle was built in 1641 and the estate grew to over 200 hectares (almost 500 acres). In 1857 the gardens were designed by landscape architects in to more formal gardens which still form the basis of the garden today. A group of flower bulb growers in 1949 decided that this would be a good location to showcase their bulbs and a year later the gardens opened to the public.
We were very impressed with the way the park was set up as it gave plenty of areas to wander around to see the various flower beds, numerous eating areas conveniently located and even plenty of rest rooms and none of them seemed to have a line! The prices were very reasonable for the food and entrance. We wondered how they could do this with only being open 8 weeks out of the year. We read later that the
seven million flower bulbs (yes, you read that number right!) are provided each year free of charge by 100 exhibitors. This definitely helps immensely with the expenses of creating this wonderful garden each year. The beds are torn up every year and replanted in new designs to showcase the latest ideas in the industry. The garden attracts over 1 million visitors each year from a wide variety of countries. Now that we have been there we can see what the attraction is!
Besides the outside gardens there were numerous buildings to visit. The Beatrix Pavilion housed an amazing assortment of orchids – what a showcase it was! We were impressed with the amount of space provided as there was plenty of room to wander around and not feel crowded giving you a chance to see the flowers close up. Cut flowers were highlighted in the Oranje Nassau Pavilion which included peonies, alstroemeria, hydrangea and many others.
There was a place that you could see the “fields” of tulips that you typically see in advertisements for the Netherlands. As it was late in the season there were already some fields empty of flowers, but it still was impressive to
A Coot Helping with the Nest
even though the nest seems to be in use already
see the expanse of fields of tulips.
Starting May 13th
the weather took a turn and was cold, windy and grey, but we couldn’t let that stop us as we still had numerous items on our “to do” list. We continue to knock items off, but as everyone that makes list know, it seems that as soon as you take an item off the list at least one goes on the list. So it continues….
We have only biked from the marina into the shops once so far. The bike paths go through numerous woods and twist and turn quite a bit so we did get lost “a little” but made it to the grocery store and bike shop. The map told us to go straight and when we took what appeared straight to us, it must have curved! Our bikes had been sitting up on top of the deck while we were gone. They had bike bags over them and we had a tarp, but… one of the bike bags disintegrated and one of the tarps had to be replaced by the marina. The end result was that some work needed to be done on the bikes.
The Great Crested Grebe is Nesting (top right)
and we see plenty of others in the area - enjoy seeing and hearing them
Bob’s was in worse shape than Janice’s but got them working well enough for the ride. Figured it was worth putting a little bit of money into the bikes so bought a few necessities and then after lunch did our shopping. With the stores we had on board we didn’t need too much but even with that we wound up with a full load on the bikes and our backpacks! The fun part of shopping is finding storage areas for all of it within the refrigerator and the storage areas. Out came the food inventory spreadsheet, then tearing apart the storage areas and updating the list. We are now planning meals around the older stores on the boat so we can refresh what we have on board. Again, with having the dehumidifier running it was well worth the price we paid to have it checked on by the marina while we were gone as our stores were completely dry.
A sailboat came in behind us and in yelling over to say “hi” it was obvious from their reply that they were from the UK. We invited them over for drinks and snacks – reminders of our days in the
A Grebe Sitting on Her Nest Under the Dock
with nest made of "trash" filled with plenty of eggs
Caribbean and “sundowners”. As we were still getting organized on the boat luckily Janice remembered a quick and easy dip from our evenings on Mr. Mac and Celebration (thanks!) and got out our spicy tuna and made up a quick snack. Had a couple of other not so spicy choices, but luckily Catherine and Perry liked spicy food. It was a very pleasant evening socializing - a nice change from working on the boat!
We had to order a few things while here and have our life raft inspected. The life raft has to be inspected every 3 years and it was due. Fortunately the marina here could get it sent out for us. We just had it returned yesterday so that is now off the list. Bob had ordered a new computer for our navigation station and we received it from the UK, but found that the system on it is not compatible with our navigation software so had to send it back and we will now be waiting for a replacement machine. Fortunately they have been very good with sending things out quickly so we are hoping that will happen again.
Unfortunately we found out that
the debit card from our bank that we had used in the Netherlands back in 2014 does not work here anymore as it does not contain a chip. The bank is sending a replacement card – it has been sent, that is one more item we are waiting for. We have other cards we can use but this bank has an agreement with a bank in France that will reduce the fees charged so want to have that for our travels.
Unfortunately while we were gone all of the marinas in the area had problems with thefts and ours was one of 130 boats that had been broken into. Fortunately for us they didn’t cut any of our canvas and they actually removed the screws from our doorway so no physical damage. Others were not so lucky and had quite a bit of repair work to be done. They figure that the thieves were definitely not too bright as they didn’t steal any of the expensive equipment on board many of these boats such as binoculars, computers and other easily removed items. Instead they found that they were really after cash and took many sunglasses and a few iPods.
The dyke at the marina is quite high
hopefully you can tell by the number of stairs to climb over it to the parking lot
We found that we were missing a few things – one that was quite strange was our flare gun and flares. Another item that we are really missing is the battery charger for our rechargeable batteries. The thief wasn’t even smart enough to take the electrical cable that went with it. We tried to replace it, but can’t find one here that charges as fast as the one we had from the US. We did invest in a small one, but this one takes overnight to charge a couple of batteries. Another item we have added to our list for picking up in the US.
We have been enjoying our time watching the coots and great crested grebes that ply the marina. Surprisingly there are 2 grebe nests located under the busy intersections of the docks. As a result every day when you walk to the bathrooms or to the marina office you pass by these nests. It has been interesting to see the interactions as many times we see a grebe protecting the mother and nest while two other grebes “hang around” nearby and then occasionally try to “attack” so the protector has to chase them off. Once
we even saw 3 grebes attack and in that instance the female grebe got off her nest to help chase them off. At that time we could look down through the slats in the dock and see that there were approximately 10-12 eggs! We have been researching grebes and have not found any reference to this behavior and also found that the norm is about 4 eggs. We also have coots near by – early on we always saw them swimming in pairs, but lately we find them by themselves. They make very interesting sounds – one of the sounds is similar to what it sounds like when you hit the side of a glass (ping) - when they open their beak and the beak closes it makes the noise. I’m still hoping to be able to get a video of them so I can record the sounds they make. Not sure when the grebe eggs will hatch but we hope it will be soon as we learned that the young ride on the mother’s back and they have striped marking. Time will tell if we get to see them before we leave.
In looking at the weather it
The Bike Trail to the Stores in Lelystad
we see all types of housing - modern "cookie cutter type" exist here too along with thatch roofs
appears that starting this coming Tuesday it get a little warmer and with less rain predicted. Hopefully everything will come together with getting our deliveries and finish the “have to do’s” on the list and we can get moving. We have thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Flevo Marina as the people that work here are wonderful. They really have been great to work with and we are to the point that we can joke around with them as well, but it is definitely time to move on. We are looking forward to visiting some new places. We must be in the Channel Islands no later than June 30th
so we will be moving in that direction. The reason for the deadline is that as we are a foreign flagged vessel we are allowed to temporarily import our boat for 18 months before having to pay a 21%!t(MISSING)ax on the value of the vessel. With being in the US longer this time we had to request an extension and received it so we could stay for 24 months without a problem.
Hopefully if all goes well our next blog post will be for a place other than Lelystad!
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