This trip took us from the canals in Harlingen out through the shallow tidal channels of the Waddensea to the Frisian Islands, the chain of islands which form a barrier between the Waddensea and the North Sea. We planned to wait on one of these islands until conditions were right for crossing the North Sea back to the UK.
The exit from Harlingen was a bit intimidating, because we had to mooch around in the main canal for a while, waiting for the locks to let us in and trying to keep out of everyone’s way. The locks then spit you out right where the channel from the fishing port converges with the busy ferry dock…
In practice, locking through went very smoothly and we managed to get out of the fairway before the next ferry arrived. We joined a steady stream of sailing boats taking the Boontjes channel down towards the Afsluitsdjik, enjoying some really good sailing and trying to beat various other boats.
Later that day, the wind died for a bit and we were plagued by swarms of flies, which was quite annoying. We took it in turns to keep watch and squash flies while the other person hid down below. Most of the other boats had locked through the dam into the Ijsselmeer, leaving us with just a handful of others heading out to the Frisian Islands. Eventually the wind picked up again, and we had a great sail out to the island of Texel and into the port of Oudeschilde. We judged the cross-tide at the entrance just right and made it into the port just ahead of a massive sail training ship.
We had visited this island by ferry a few years previously, and it was nice to be able to revisit somewhere that we vaguely knew. The marina at Oudeschilde is vast, and quite expensive. The port is also home to a fleet of enormous fishing boats, and I had fun working out the function of the gear on the quayside (turns out they were electric pulse trawls, a novel way of catching flatfish which only the dutch really use, and which is in the process of being banned by the EU!)