8 July 2011: Magnetic Attraction, Port Zelande
Two days in Port Zelande, on a convenient hammerhead berth. It so happens that we have benefitted from a discount of 25% on one night because we had stayed in Wemelinge; and a further 50% reduction arising from our berth at Gosport (joint membership of Trans Europe marinas.) But this marina is expensive for what it offers: although the facilities are scrupulously clean, there are excess payments required for showers, for water (a euro for 100 litres!) and no electricity until our neighbours offered us “a splitter” so that we could share access to theirs.
The wind has been strong from the SW, with the occasional heavy showers. Yesterday afternoon the bikes came out for a trip. The first stop was Center Parcs which has a village adjacent to the marina, to try to get a cycle map. It’s a pretty amazing set up – lots of brick built holiday homes: some flats, some cottages; with its own supermarket, restaurants, cycle hire, and sports facilities of all sorts. The plus was that none of the facilities are set up to take cash: so credit cards are the order of the day. But the supermarket has a pretty limited range of goods – presumably to encourage clients to eat in the restaurants.
From there we cycled along the edge of the Grevelingenmeer to Brouwershaven (once we’d managed to escape from Center Parcs – it was all very difficult and ended finally with us getting lost in the car park!) Going south we fought the wind past the harbour at Middleplaat to the Brouwersdam, where there is a sluice letting water in and out of the North Sea – I assume to stop the water becoming brackish.) Then on to Scharendijke, Ossehoek and Brouwershaven – all of which have marinas with the dreaded box berths. So Roger felt vindicated in choosing Port Zeland, which although it too has box moorings, is designed for bigger boats and so the berths are wider. Brouwershaven is an ancient port that has been overtaken by the delta works and damming off of the mere. The round trip was just over 20 miles. Today we’ve been lazy, and this afternoon were invited to visit neighbours Minou and Adrian on their Bavaria 42, Swedish Crown.
The design of the mere is interesting. There is a sand dune that separates the mere from the North Sea. The walls that surround the mere are high – significantly higher than the ones elsewhere. On the shoreline, there is a small stone wall that runs along the edge, with an area of shallow water between the beach and the deeper water. This wall has the effect of protecting the shoreline, and also forming a sheltered, very safe area for swimming and watersports.
The weather forecast for early next week looks good… so tomorrow we’ll start making our way back, probably towards Wemeldinge so that we can get back to Breskens on Sunday, ready to set off down-channel on Monday.