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May 17th 2014
Published: May 18th 2014
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Ok so we were going to go to Arnhem and then the sun shone and we decided that it was too nice to chunter down a big kanaal with enormous barges to go to a city so we would go up the Vecht instead which still entailed going on the Rijkn- Amsterdam Kanaal – yes a big one – for about an hour. Within about a km of where we were due to turn off we completely lost our steering just as we were going past one of the monsters and we nearly ended up on the bank as bow thruster and reverse were used with a lot of welly. We managed to get on to Vecht through a very small gap with all fenders out and moored up against another boat outside a watersport place – a very nice man who is greatly indebted to the Brits because his parents were living in Utrecht at the time the allies liberated it and who is going to Normandy for the anniversary of D Day, came on board and offered good advice and the help of his neighbour who is a marine service engineer. While we waited for the latter to finish his lunch Paul rang Richard, the guy who has knows Isabela well, and he was able to offer suggestions to how to diagnose the problem. Paul did what he was told, found the problem and all was well. See later for more details. A good and prompt end to a very scary situation.

And so we continued up the beautiful Vecht - a stunning river with fabulous houses. There were quite a few boats out because of it being a hot Saturday, but we were soon stopped again by a broken bridge. We moored up to wait and were promptly stung by the nettles. Half an hour later said bridge is mended and we are off again only to make a somewhat silly mistake and incur a bit of a scratch on Isabela’s beautiful paint – and in front of all the Dutch holiday makers of course!! I think we were still pretty shocked by what had gone before and were just not thinking – we should have moored up and given ourselves a break.

We continue on to find a place to stop only to be stopped by another broken bridge!!. We stopped there – a beautiful little town called Loenen. And took a walk round it hoping to find a beer- no chance – it was that sort of day – we crossed the river and continued our walk amongst the fabulous merchant houses knowing that the bridge had been mended because we could see boats coming down the river – only to get there and its broken again this time half up and half down so no cars and no boats! So we have to walk all the way back again. By this time Paul needs a beer and Heather needs a G & T – the former is supplied immediately; the latter is not because there is no tonic and even Heather won’t drink neat gin. Maybe we should just go to bed!!!

The next day bloomed hot and sunny; the bridge was still broken. Paul checked the wheel and found the key in the keyway had slipped again. The problem is that the key is not big enough for the keyway and this has always been the case but we obviously got away with it. The key was modified with a spacer to ensure it couldn’t come out of the key way on the shaft. At some point we may have a new key made but we are happy the current solution works – it better as we have to travel back down the Amsterdam – Rijkn Kanaal again. So we set off to retrace our steps back down the Vecht – not a trial because it really is stunning, even more beautiful than the best bits of the Thames we must admit. We are now moored in a large jachthaven on the Hollandse- Ijssel which is another delightful little windy river making its way to Gouda. We have stopped licking our wounds, especially as the repair worked, and a good meal in the restaurant tonight raise spirits further.


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