Holland in Sight

Position: 53 11.5 N 004 28.0 E
Course: East sou'east Speed 5 knots
Wind: East sou'east, light
Weather: Overcast, warm
Day's run: 114 nautical miles

Not far to go now, Holland is in sight. We have had a busy night, this side of the North Sea is crowded with oil rigs and their ever present tenders. During the day the smaller ones stand on their single stilt, leading me to marvel at the ingenuity of our engineers, how do they get them to stand up like that? The medium sized ones rest on a lattice work of three steel piles and the large are much more firmly attached with heavy concrete structures under girding them. At night they are all brightly lit, their respective brightness a sort of hierarchical display, some of the smaller ones topped with assorted coloured lights, presumably helipads, and all flashing at their extremities a light; blinking dot, dot, dash; morse code for 'U' which means 'you are standing into danger'. In between the oil rigs there were a two traffic separation schemes we had to negotiate, highways in the ocean, and a third one close to the Dutch coast which we have just motored through in the failing wind - it was a light headwind so no great loss. Sailing vessels have to keep out of the way of ships using traffic separation schemes and cross them at right angles. My Dutch acquaintance of a few days ago emphasised the strictness with which the respective maritime authorities enforce their traffic schemes so it seemed best to abandon drifting through, dodging the relatively heavy traffic - still not like the approaches to Singapore or Hong Kong, we will undoubtedly see the European equivalent as we get closer to the Dover Straits.

Thomas is steering now, I shall certainly miss his quiet and patient assistance. We hope to make Den Helden this evening at slack water, around 6 pm.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

The beast beneath the floor boards, it lives! It's been a rather tiring night, with skipper Bob climbing in and out of the bunk all night, so if you will excuse me .. Zzzzzzz.