Leeuwarden to the Lauwersmeer (Jachthaven Lunegat) – 22.7 miles. By last night there were several other yachts waiting at Leeuwarden for the Drachsterbrug to open and at 8.30am this morning they had started casting off to get round to it. Everyone seemed to be itching to get away from Leeuwarden – the fleshpots of Leeuwarden centre were clearly not enough of a draw to keep us all there any longer! Once round the corner we then joined about six more boats who had also emerged from various other yacht harbours as well. In the end we made up a convoy of around a dozen boats. We started slightly disconcertingly when, having opened the bridge and let a few boats through, they closed it again in front of us. However, five minutes later it opened again and we caught up with the rest of the convoy. It was clear going through that it is major works as they are tunnelling under the canal to create an aqueduct. So, we have finally made it through the dreaded Drachsterbrug in Leeuwarden.
Getting round Leeuwarden then took us around 2 hours and round the north west of the city was a nice run. The slowest part was near the end where one of the bridges collects the toll, slowing everyone down as they try to catch the clog to put in their 7 euros. Luckily we caught it saving a lot of potential embarassment!
Once clear of Leeuwarden we made rapid progress until Burdaard. Today is Pinksterdaag (Pentecost) in the Netherlands and so a public holiday. As a result, the bridge keepers like a lunch break, so we also had our lunch break moored as a convoy in Burdaard. They opened the bridges again very promptly just before 1pm and then we moved on to Dokkum. There Pentecost hit again. Judging from the noise there was some sort of motorcycle rally and the Dokkum bridges were closed between 1.15pm and 4pm. So, we had an enforced break in Dokkum next to a delightful industrial park. Once we got going again we got through the four bridges in Dokkum fairly easily – managing to catch the clog again for another toll. In total Leeuwarden to the Lauwersmeer has cost us 16 euros in tolls – very reasonable really. From Dokkum onwards we did a couple more bridges (Friesland is not short of bridges) and eventually made it to the Dokkumer Nieuwe Zijlen lock. We were at the back of the convoy so had to wait for a second lock as we didn’t all fit in, but shortly after the lock we stopped at the Jachthaven Lunegat. We are now just a couple of hours from the Robbengatsluis to get back out to sea again.
The videos below give a sped-up view of the trip round Leeuwarden and round Dokkum: