Blues and Blue Water Return 4

John & Susan Simpson
Sun 13 Aug 2017 12:43
As we prepared to leave Alkmaar, a fellow skipper warned that the lake between Alkmaar and Amsterdam was shallower than charted, maybe only 1.8 metres deep.

Settling on a detour, two hours later we encountered a bridge that was definitely static, with clearance around 6 metres and motorway traffic thundering overhead.  We had missed the absence of a lifting bridge on this part of the route!  Casamara had to pirouette in front of a bemused fisherman and trundle back again.  We hung our hopes on a narrow canal siding cut alongside the reportedly shallow lake.  There, Dutch caravaners lunched in the sunshine, incredulous at the large British yacht squeezing past. The water shallowed until 0.0 metres blinked consistently - even a neat U-turn made no difference - but a passing dayboat skipper urged us to keep left for deeper water.  Thankfully he was right, and we rejoiced at 0.2 metres below the keel.

John had been experimenting with the fuel system, moving fuel between tanks as a test.  On the outskirts of Amsterdam, the last drop pumped out of the tank we were using!   We drifted gracefully to mooring posts by the bridge just opened for us, and had to admit to Bridge Control that we were stuck, just for the time being.  Thankfully, opening the correct valve and priming the engine saw us moving again.  Amsterdam’s commuters probably never noticed! 

In contrast to recent locations, Amsterdam Marina felt like the centre of the universe. Ferries criss-crossed the river Amstel and we unfolded our trusty bikes to explore.  Our Google tour of ‘best free tourist sites’ was disappointing, but with ‘10 best pancake shops in Amsterdam’ we fared better and – at number 9 - tucked into delicious pancakes laced with chocolate and cream.  We deserved it!