Charm Offensive makes it safely to Amsterdam

After a 30hr sail from Germany in what felt like sub zero temperatures we arrived at a nice place in Holland called Ijmuiden. I had been wearing thermals, ski gloves and a beanie on the way from Germany and it was good to finally have some summer. When we arrived it was now time for thongs and and a singlet!  It was a big marina and beach destination for people in Amsterdam so there was a lot going on. We went straight to pub for some burgers and a beer. A nice relaxation after a few days at sea.

The following day we motored/sailed up the canal to the centre of Amsterdam. This was somewhat eventful. After passing through the main lock we were chased by police. The police fully armed came up along side and told us to move a little to starboard (to the right) of the channel. Then they went on there way. I then decided it would be a good idea to set sail so after a long discussion with Phil as to whether we were allowed to hoist it, which ended in hoisting it, we were sailing down the canal. Within 5 minutes we had another speed boat with flashing lights coming towards us at a rate of Knots. Phil said I told we couldn’t sail, as they got closer we realized they were also armed but where not police. This high powered vessel was the Dutch customs. They asked if they could board the yacht and I asked if I needed to bring the sail in. Much to my amazement they said no keep motoring and sailing. I quickly said of course come aboard, can I offer you a drink to which they declined. They had a million questions but joked a lot, they wanted to see everything from my export papers, to the color of the diesel. I was confused when they asked to see the diesel but later found out that red diesel is sold tax free in Holland and it is only for commercial use, it is illegal for private vessels to hold. Luckily our diesel was from Germany and it was a yellow type colour. After about an hour with customs they left and we had almost arrived in the centre of Amsterdam.

The centre of Amsterdam was amazing, there were ferries and funny little boats every where. We had the Australian flag flapping patriotically in the summer breeze. Lots of people waved and smiled as we motored past. After motoring past the central station we took a hard turn to port (left) and came to a marina called Six Haven that was directly opposite Amsterdam’s central station. The marina was like nothing I had ever seen before. Boats packed in like sardines and no room to swing a cat. The harbor master came out to the dock to meet us and said take this spot. As my skills at reversing and forward parking were some what refined from parking in 20+ knots of I wind I went for the birth at full speed. We got half way through the pylons before we hit them on each side and got wedged in the birth. This was somewhat interesting as I didn’t think the birth would be so tight. We then reversed out and took a spot that parked three boats in but I  was told this is nothing. The yacht master was right. Within about one hour we had another 4 boats along side us with people climbing back and forth over the deck to get to the Marina. It was an interesting experience and luckily the wedging of the boat didn’t do any damage.

That night we meet up with a friend of a friend. A friend of Nikki’s whose name was Nathan. Nathan is a native Ducthman and was extremely friendly, helpful, and fun. He showed us round all of Amsterdam and took us to a very good local place for dinner. We were all keen to see the red light and district and he kindly took us through there as well. Thank you very much to Nathan it really made for an Amazing tour of Amsterdam!

We are leaving for Antwerp tomorrow for 90 miles of the North Sea and 50 miles of Canal to go a big dance party called Tomorrowland.

From The North Sea and Amsterdam. Posted by Nick Black on 7/24/2012 (21 items)

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