Lolloping to Lauwersoog

After a very peaceful night on the canal-side, we didn’t have to make such an early start today. The bridges around Leeuwarden start opening at 9am, so we left Wergea at 08.25 and with immaculate timing arrived at the first bridge around 09.02. It opened almost immediately and from there we played dodgems with the Dutch at play on a Saturday morning. The first obstacles were fishermen whose rods were so long that you had to wonder ….. The next more mobile obstruction was rowers followed closely by canoeists, but the most unlikely obstacle was a Dutchman swimming in the canal. We checked the sea temperature from the new instruments (!) and it was 12o – no wonder he looked so red. As a token nod to the fact it was cold he did have a neoprene hat on, but otherwise …. just speedos. Definitely rather him than me. With a cloudy damp start to the day we were well wrapped up against the cold (though very light) northerly wind.

We had to wait for a couple of the railway bridges round town, but generally all the bridge openings were pretty quick and we made good time to Burdaard. We knew we had to time it right through this village as, although there are only two bridges, they are operated by the same person cycling between them and even if you make the first before their lunch break, you will get stuck between them if midday and lunchtime arrives. Luckily we cleared the second bridge at 11.55 just before she knocked off for lunch.

Paying for bridges by flying clog

On the approach to Burdaard we did have an additional challenge … We spend a lot of time in the canals thinking about what is happening underneath us – careful observation of the echo sounder to check we always have enough water under us. As I moved to one side of the canal on a tight bend to let another boat past we suddenly stopped. Thinking we had run aground, I rapidly put the boat in astern, but when we started getting showered from above we looked up and realised that we hadn’t hit the bottom, but the top! An overhanging tree branch had caught the shroud as we went past stopping us sharply ….

The rest of the trip was relatively smoother though we did spend quite a bit of time picking bits of tree off the deck and giving them a new home in the canal. We had a short wait for the first bridge at Dokkum, but that was only about 10 minutes and then we got straight through all the other bridges in town. We locked into the Lauwesmeer just after 1500 and were moored at the Jachthaven Nordegat in Lauwesoog at 16.10 – a total trip of 32.74 miles. Not bad timing considering the number of bridges we had to negotiate for the day.