31 Dec News archive 2007
News archive 2007
31 December 2007
From the shipping company (24 Dec 2007)
On behalf of all crewmembers we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
From the shipping company (21 Dec 2007)
We managed to put the mast back in its place today. The crane-driver did most of the job which was very well prepared by the crew. It took some more efforts to put the shrouds into position and attach the turnbuckles, but we managed that too by the end of the day. We really deserved our holidays!
From the shipping company (15 Dec 2007)
This week many loose ends came together. The mast, topmast and yards have been repaired where necesary and painted again. The main shrouds are ready and all steel parts have been sandblasted and painted too. By the end of next week we hope to be ready to put the mast back in position.
From the shipping company (28 Nov 2007)
The mast, topmast and yards are safe on the quay and we have started to take of all steel wires and lines that were still attached to the mast. After that we will clean and maintain all the small spots that we found. Next week we will make a start with the new main shrouds. The survey of the rigging, yesterday, proved that everything was in remarkably good state, especially if you think of the heavy use at sea during the last 15 years. We are still on schedule and we hope to put the mast back on the ship before Christmas.
From the shipping company (10 Nov 2007)
Last Thursday we left the shipyard in Stellendam. In port the weather seemed quiet, but once at sea we encountered the waves and swell of the storm that was heading towards us. The wind was reasonable, but as all sails were taken off for repairs, we could only use the engine and that made the trip a bit uncomfortable. Around 16:30 we came alongside in the Veerhaven.
31 Oct 2007 GMT
The ship is in dry-dock since Monday morning. A lot of maintenance has to be done. The propeller, the rudder and the rudder stock wil undergo minor repairs. The transducer of the new echo sounder has to be mounted. We hope to get to the water again around the upcoming weekend. We will need some more days to overhaul the anchor winch, and then we will go back to Rotterdam.
From the shipping company (24 Oct 2007)
The season is (almost) over for us. This week we still had some daytrips, but after next week the ship is going into drydock. After that, a period with only maintanance is scheduled.
From the shipping company (6 Oct 2007)
The ‘Oosterschelde’ has arrived back home this morning. She was moored at 11:40. Tens of family and friends welcomed ship and sailors.
5 Oct 2007 07:00 GMT
54°06.61’N, 003°56.75’E. Compass 183. Knots 7,4.
Anthony’s last chapter:
“Channel fever. In the last news it was raining, Jip did have a better sail pak but still got wet. The rain had stopped for my watch and so did the wind, but that was expected. The motor sprang into life and we cruised through the night with a slight rocking motion from waves. The night sky, full of stars and the kotje (wheel house) full of stories and coffee until the sun came up this morning.
The standard procedure when waking up, with only a couple of days to go in such a long trip, is to check out the newest position on the chart and to guess the ETA. There are lots of theories, books, computer programs, tables, etc. to help with the ‘gestamation’ but it’s simple: speed and distance. The distance we can’t change but the speed we can. With a friendly northerly breeze picking up, the motor was put to bed and the sails came out (maybe to dry after all that rain), the main, the square sails, outer jibs and the biggest in our collection (da da daaaaa) the square foresail, all came out to catch what they could from the wind. Sunshine and a cheeky breeze to help eat away the last few miles (150 or so). The speed is not so good but who cares, it’s a nice day for sailing. There goes the ETA. It’s easy to blast on through to the paddos with the Arabian top sail (motor) but its a shame to waste this day, you can almost smell the Wadden Islands and the channel fever is getting worse. Channel fever is always at the end of a trip, the closer to land the worse it gets. The conversation turns from weather and sails, to work and what are you going to do when you get home. “What’s the first thing your going to do when…?”, or “Do you go straight back to work?”, it’s kind of like you don’t want the trip to end but you want it to end.
We’re sailing for now anyway, enjoy the last few minutes of water, waves, and wind, tomorrow the telephones will ring and the whole alone-on-a-desert-island-feeling will be gone. The ETA is still around Saturday morning by the paddos and a few hours up the river to our berth… remember the Wizard of Oz: “There’s no place like home.”
And one more thing.
The paddos draw closer and so to the end of my last trip on ‘my ship’, that’s the feeling you get after being on board, weather it’s for only a weekend trip or for 6 years. Time flies by and some things never change, it can be the beginning of the end or is it the end of the beginning, the chance of new things to come. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to share my, according to some “unique observations of life on board a ship”, to me it’s just every day’s life and I try to tell it like it is, the strange things only happen ashore, trains, trams, clocks, cars, the simplicity of a table with a flat surface, to be able to sleep in a bed that doesn’t move, to take a shower without dancing around like Elvis on a bad day, these are the things you only miss when there gone. Many, many things will remain, and after the hundreds (more like thousands) of miles on board, in some of the nicest places in the world and meeting just as many people, and being part of the strangest things and situations you can imagine, it’s difficult to visualise not being a part of this strange family. But I guess it’s like the maffia: once you’re in the family, you stay in the family. Bust to take this opportunity (liberty) to thank all the people involved over all the years for something I shall treasure for a long long time. Memories are… (I don’t know what to say, for the first time ever, but I hope you know what I mean)…..memories are golden.”
4 Oct 2007 07:19 GMT
56°21.56’N, 004°04.64’E. Compass 148. Knots 3,8.
Anthony’s next chapter: “4 seasons in 1 day. How quickly things change, well it feels like it any way. We were last motoring along the coast of Norway with a perfect windstill sea surrounding the ship, just passing Stavanger, the weather reports had been promising a cheeky wind from the SE for that afternoon and with the end of breakfast we began the on-board exams: who had been paying attention when we set the sails? The morning watch started with: “set all sails, and you get only one question”. The sun was up and the wind was calm but the energy around the dek was great, everywhere there were lines going up and down, people in the bowsprit net, in the mast, all working to fill the sky with sails. The crew watched with a cautious eye, everything went up like a well-oiled machine, slow working, but well oiled. Apparently quality takes time, time we had, and wind we did not, didn’t matter, the sun was doing it’s thing and the motor was out, several people were so inspired, that after enjoying a summer cocktail on deck, decided to cool of with a quick dip in the North sea, around 14’C. It was definitely time to play, our speed was 000000000.1 knots in any kind of direction you like and the rubber boat went over board, cameras ready, photo time, there was also an extra special midday program planned, well not really planned it just kind of happened, a waterski show. With his athletically body firmly bound in a massive orange life jacket, our dare devil of the day (some of you know him as Wamel, we just call him Rik) was dragged through the water in a display of sheer grace, elegance and beauty, that would put a dolphin to shame, it didn’t work at all but it was fun to try, some one had to do it. Nice try Rik. After a lunch on dek, the fishing competition began with more success and surprises than water skiing, total was 11 mackerel, 3 red guarnard, 1 coffee cup and several giant knots. Slowly but surely the wind came up, the sails were trimmed and we began to race along in the right direction (very important), the dinner bell rang and with around 7,5 knots we eat with a light slope to SB side, this continued into the night until early this morning. The wind turned almost as planned and just after breakfast we tacked and headed in a better direction. During my watch the wind had turned so much that we were steering at the beginning 215 and we ended up doing around 300; ok, time to tack, unless you wanted to go to Aberdeen. The weather report said it would turn to the west and drop of a little, then come in from the NW, sounds good to me, did I remember to tell you it was raining, HARD, it’s not than bad because Jip has the watch, he’s got a much nicer sail pak than me. Anyway we are making good time and it looks like we should be seeing the paddos around Saturday morning, but who knows. Stay tuned.”
2 Oct 2007 19:14 GMT
58°43.81’N, 005°18.28’E. Compass 161. Knots 7,6.
Anthony goes on:
“We were trying to get around the corner to beat the weather, it’s a big corner when you see a chart of Norway, but we did manage it any way. The winds have been a little bit on the soft side and not really from a direction where you jump up and down with excitement and begin to set all the sails. When you begin a trip like this you watch the weather as best you can, but don’t forget it’s not the actual weather, it’s only a prediction of what MIGHT happen, some times they’re right, and sometimes they’re… , well… not, you adjust your plan and the route accordingly, and see what happens.
For the last day or so we have been suffering from 2 of the 3 kinds of wind that you can expect to see here, these are: firstly, the wrong direction, but this is very typical for a sailing boat, the wind is always coming from the direction you want to go; secondly, not enough, mostly just enough to give the illusion or hope that over a couple of hours it will fill in and… away we go; and of course the third, too much, this is not so bad but is usually in combination with the first. We have the first two, but it could have been worse, it wasn’t raining, the sun was in full glory, we saw a sensational sunset, with magical colours reaching across the horizon and we had a perfect star filled night sky, the moon was just as bright as the sun, the sunrise was straight out of a Hollywood film and… we had ice cream and pancakes for desert, about 10 minutes ago.
Today was a day of action and energy, after a long night of talking about, bonus cards, police cars, football and other such important world problems, it was time to clean ship, hoses were rolled out, buckets and brushes and soap were in all directions, the copper compass was shined “to within an inch of its life” (Australian for very shiny), the wheel house also got the once over, charts were organized and corrected, potatoes were being peeled for the evening meal, everywhere you looked were people doing something, together… what a team. The sun was out and everybody made the most of it, we even had a visit from a whale, the kind is still under discussion but we all agree it was definitely a whale… it was difficult to see what kind because, when you looked at the photos, you could see that the fin had been damaged (looks like a bite mark) so it was impossible to compare it to those in the books, I say it was a kind of fin whale, but the discussion is still open.
We are now passing by Stavanger and heading to the south and hope that the wind will come in from the SE sometime tonight, then we can set some sails and race across to the other side of the north sea and then down to the paddos (entrance to Rotterdam). Who knows what will happen, nature is one of those unpredictable things… if you never shoot, then you’ll always miss.”
30 Sep 2007 21:00 GMT
63°36.88’N, 005°58.22’E. Compass 211. Knots 8,6.
“Cocktails and sunshine and wind.
Our departure from Lødingen was a little bit later than planned, the morning had brought with it a cheeky SW 7 Bft that should die off in the afternoon according to the local pilot station. The anchor came up after lunch and we headed out to sea, ready for some good old fashioned bouncing up and down with waves and wind; it was surprisingly quiet, this usually means that you have waited for just the right time to leave. The wind we did have was coming from our favourite direction, straight in front, so the motor pushed us further out to sea, between the main land and the Lofoten islands and out around the corner. The change of watch around 02:00 brought questions over the northern lights, is it possible tonight or are we not to far from the north. The answer came within half an hour, slowly the sky filled with a green smoke that swayed and rolled from one side to the other, a sort dancing flames in the night air. To see it, is magical, but to hear the explanation why or how, makes it a lot less romantic (seaman are of course very romantic as everyone knows). Ok, here goes: t he sun emits a stream of charged particles into space, the magnetic field from the earth draws them towards the poles (it can happen both north and south), these particles collide with molecules in the air that causes them to glow, the colour is depending on the hight at which they collide, simple really. I’m not that smart, I read it in a book, but basically it’s a sort of natural short circuit.
We were heading to the south, if you do that from this far north your bound to cross over the pole circle, luckily we did, there’s no line in the water and no lines in the chart, but we found it anyway, just where we left it on the way up here, 66030.2′ N. We crossed over in the full midday sun and enjoyed the warmest day of our summer in the north: 16 degrees C, it was cocktails (unfortunately no little umbrellas) and sunshine all round and a fantastic sun set to finish the day off.
The next day brought with it a reasonable wind and the chance to finally do what we do, sail. Everything up and go baby, go. Into the night and still going strong we had speeds around the 9 to 10 knots, some sails changes here and there with the different winds and things were going great, in the right direction (important when sailing fast, it’s easy to sail fast, the trick is to do it and go in the right direction). The winds came on a bit harder later in the night, and the sails were reefed, we still had good speeds in a reasonable direction, eventually we had all the sails reefed and by daylight we were finished, just in time for the change of watch. Of course it could not last for ever, the wind slowly died away but the waves stayed with us, the speed and direction were also not quite what you could call, desired.
At the moment we are heading for the NW corner of Norway in the area of Stattlandet, trying to beat the weather. The forecast is for SWly, but around the corner is the chance of a Nly, this would make life easier if we could lift a ride down the coast with this system, who knows, it’s always a gamble with the weather and eventually you take it as it comes. The atmosphere on board is good, everybody happy we could finally sail, and with monster speeds; the stories of last night’s sailing are growing by the minute, so don’t be surprised if it turns into a hurricane, and we did 13 knots.”
28 Sep 2007 04:04 GMT
68°25.44’N, 016°00.11’E. Compass 258. Knots 0,0.
“We spent the whole day cruising through the fjords and sounds’ I think if we had a real estate agent on board he would have made a lot of money, everywhere you looked was a beautiful little cottage and a small boat house with a private pier, all vacation houses from the people that live in the surrounding towns. The aft deck was full of potential new home owners: “Ohh, I wont that one” or “wow, check out that house”, each new corner and every new fjord was full of the perfect little weekend get aways, nestled up against rolling hills and mountains with the tops covered in snow and… full of……..TREES, haven’t seen those things in a long time.
Anyway, we made around 120 miles in the right direction and are now anchored by a small town, Lødingen, that is in the top corner of the Lofoten archipelago, where the sea meets the fjords. The plan is to leave after breakfast and head out to sea and continue on our way to the south.
The weather is a greyish and with rain, the temperature not so bad, around the 8 degrees C but I think we are a bit used to the cold. But when you come from the warm summer to the colder north, the difference is quite noticeable but you get used to it and the layers slowly come off. The wind is not our best friend at this moment, but the outlook for the next few days is getting better and we still have the chance to sail the remaining 1000+ miles home, the passengers are extremely enthusiastic but have not had the chance yet to prove themselves. I think that when the sails do come up they will be all 24 pulling on the same line. There’s enough to do for everyone when the time comes.”
26 Sep 2007 21:47 GMT
69°24.19’N, 018°03.45’E. Compass 035. Knots 0,1.
Anthony’s story of the long trip to Rotterdam:
“The beginning of the end.
The last long trip for this summer season has started, no more ice, no more bears or walrusssessses, no reindeer, but a lot more from the busy busy world of every day life. The closer to civilization you get, the more people look at the clocks to see what time it is, the more the telephone rings, ‘normal ‘ life is just around the corner (the corner is however pretty big, about 1200 NM back to Rotterdam).We still have one last chance to enjoy the sounds of silence, the wind and the waves as we sail along the coast, the mile maker back to Rotterdam has started. This is not only the mile maker back home, but also the last trip for me, after so long on board I’ve decided to stop, well stop sounds dramatic, more a sort of stopping with such long periods on board.
The new guests arrived in the afternoon, and due to the weather or what was to come in the next few days, we decided to leave ASAP (as soon as possible) and go through the fjords and sounds instead of out to sea and try to bash our way to the south against the wind and waves, it is after all a mile maker, better to make some easy miles inside the fjords and then go outside later on when the weather and wind is better, possibly around the Lofoten island group (don’t forget your atlas). With all on board and the lines let go, the tide with us as we left the Paris of the north and headed out into the fjords, only about 25 NM to find a nice place for the night to anchor, the translation is not so good but in Dutch one says “de kop is er af “, the head is taken off, or better to say, we were underway.
The weather was not so fantastic, even in the fjords,you could see that the decision to stay inside the fjords was a good idea, we let the anchor go just after dinner in a small bay with a big name ( I don’t think you can find it in an atlas, but it was really nice).
The plan is to continue on in the morning when everybody had a good night’s rest and see how far we get, and possibly anchor again in the evening.”
24 Sep 2007 01:42 GMT
70°04.74’N, 020°00.36’E. Compass 224. Knots 0,0.
“The crossing from Svalbard was not quite as exciting as expected, in a good way. When we were getting ready to leave Svalbard, everything on deck was tied up and down as best we could, not all the guests noticed this but the ones that did were a little apprehensive as to why we were taking so much care and time with getting the boat ready for sea: “Do they know something that we don’t know?” Better safe than sorry.
The weather for the whole crossing was great, a little bumpy and rolly at times but nothing out of the ordinary, some call it luck, skill, planning, timing, sailor’s intuition, what ever you want, it works for me.
In the last news we had a good speed and full sails, heading to the south. The wind and weather was kind to us, but was soon going to change to the south and it would be ice to get into the fjords around Tromsø before the winds turned. The speed was slowly decreasing the whole day long, the morning was 8 to 9 knots, the afternoon 6 to 7 and then around, or more exactly 23:17, the wind just stopped. I guess we didn’t pay our wind taxes before we left Bjørnøya, nothing’s free any more!
The ‘Arabian topsail’ was started and the ship continued on its way, through the night and into the next day. The much loved and talked about ‘rolling action’ completed the picture of more dancing and less devil, as we pitched our way towards Fugløya, an island with gigantic cliffs, at one of the many entrances of the fjords. Timing is of course everything, and we passed close buy JUST before it got dark, JUST at the end of the island the dinner bell rang, all the guests below JUST before it starts to rain, JUST after dinner the last few hundred meters before anchoring, the anchor in and the first drinks JUST in time to see the northern lights cover the sky. There’s no business like show business.
The morning is planned to leave early and head further through the fjords, 40 NM towards Tromsø, if the timing is right 😉 we should arrive JUST around lunch time.
A little bit extra to the news as we were not able to send the first piece this morning and are now in Tromsø, so to make the story complete:
The anchor came up JUST a little over 06:00 this morning and we began the last few miles for trip Svalbard VI, through the fjords, a little wet, but it wasn’t snowing, there were no big ice blocks in our way, and the temperature had reached a record high of around 8 C ( almost as good as the summer in the Netherlands). On our way we passed under the massive bridge, 36.5 m, the pennant was taken down just to make sure, and all eyes were looking up to see if it would fit. It always looks like a tight squeeze even if you have several meters, but this was just enough to get under.
Once moored up to the quay the usual questions were being asked, how late….?, when will we….?, what do we do with….?, the taxi to the airport…..?, what if….?. The guests are now ashore making an inspection of the city, the shops, the museums and just generally enjoying the hustle and bussle of civilized life after soooooo many days on board.
Tonight is the last evening meal together, and I guess all the talk will be over the trip, the winds will be at least 10 knots more, the waves 4 meters higher, the temperatures a lot lower… as I always say “never let the truth get in the way of a good story!” All in all a fantastic trip, with so many special and spectacular places, animals and other things, both on the west coast, and the new and exciting east coast, a great way to end our season up here in the north. Thanks to all who took part in our adventures in the frozen north. Until next year.”
22 Sep 2007 16:00 GMT
73°02.07’N, 019°35.52’E. Compass 170. Knots 6,4.
Anthony goes on:
“Dance Floor Part II.
Friday morning was the first look at Bjørnøya, ‘Whow, what a bizarre place’, was the phrase of the morning. We were anchored in a small bay, surrounded by mist covered cliffs and sharp pointy rocks with the waves smashing against the shore, we still had a nice roll to the boat due to the swell. A rubber boat was sent out to look at the landing place, and see if it was possible to go ashore, it’s always possible, but, in how many pieces, and do you also want to come back? Landing here was not a good option, so then up with the anchor, and a short cruise along the coast line looking for another place, cameras over the port side… ready, GO!!!. The southern cape, with its massive towers that stuck up out of the water just next to the even bigger cliffs, were covered in strips of sea mist flowing along and around the different forms, the sun came through to make that perfect post card photo…..a digital delight. The other side of the island was better for the swell and there was a nice place to drop anchor, Kvalrossbukta. A small beach with historical remnants on the shore, old winches, steam engines, things from the earlier settlers, Norwegian whalers (and walrussen) around 1904. Boats ashore and we could enjoy the silence on board whilst the guests explored the island; to be able to land here at this time of the year and enjoy the weather that we were now experiencing was truely a gift (the warmest day in the last 3 months…. 6 C, ok ok, for us it was a big deal). Up and over the hills they went, the small figures became smaller and smaller walking along the tops of the cliffs finally disappearing into the heart of the island filled with mirror like lakes and the, not so green anymore, flowing hills leading up to the steep mountains in the distance. There was apparently fish in the lakes, how on earth did they get there, we had a theory: with a big storm the waves smashing against the rocks below threw some of the (very surprised and very tough) fish up and over the cliffs and landing unhurt in the water, why not? the salmon jump up stream and against rocks all the time, so it could be possible. We heard later that it is much more simple (but not as exciting), that the eggs from the fish get stuck on the feet of the birds and when the birds land in the lakes… logical really.
The group was divided, some were testing the soft grassy areas for sleep research, others playing photo tricks with the mountains and their reflections in the lakes (upside down or not, spot the difference), others just enjoying the nature, birds, foxes etc. A fantastic day, lots of sun, blue sky (just enough clouds for a good photo), no wind, and silence that stretched all around the island… a very special place.
Back on board we decided to anchor for the night in Sørhamna, another small bay on the southern point, good protection from almost all weather. The wind for the next few days would be from the east or the north so we were not in such a big hurry to leave, time to enjoy just one more night of peace and quiet, the next harbour would be in Tromsø so enjoy the tranquility while it lasts.
The anchor watches were divided up among the guests, and after dinner the talk began to drift towards the famous northern lights. When will we see it , no it’s not cold enough, too many clouds, the list goes on. Around 02:00 everybody stond on deck with their necks bent backwards to look up at the the light show that stretched over the whole sky, I guess all the questions were answered.
The anchor came up around 06:00 that morning and sails were set, the second stage for the dance floor. With a great speed around 8 to 9 knots, dolphins, whales and the usual arrangement of birds, we raced to the south making good use of the easterly breeze, all the sails helping us on our last final stretch towards Tromsø (and the Burger King, don’t tell the cook), a short zigzag through the fjorden and possible one last night somewhere for anchor… the adventure continues.”
21 Sep 2007 03:35 GMT
74°22.65’N, 018°57.45’E. Compass 246. Knots 0,1.
“The Drake vs. the Devil.
It was about 185 NM to Bjørnøya, I say WAS, because we are there! “Gee, that was quick!” you’re supposed to say, now I’ll tell you why.
In the beginning when we left Edgeøya there was a small hope that we could sail, this soon disappeared as we made our way out to the open sea. The weather report was also not too helpful, with a chance of light Nly winds for the next few days, that’s better than nothing, or even strong southerlies. The plan was to motor during the night and make some good miles in the right direction and then in the morning, with a fresh start, do some ‘dobber sailing’ and maybe play with the rubber boat for a photo session.
The morning came, but the wind didn’t, the sails were flapping and we all went slowly crazy with the rolly-polly ship. There was absolutely no wind, but somewhere in the east or the west there was enough to make all this swell, it was difficult to tell from which direction it came but it came none the less. Majestic waves, covered with and oily smooth surface, that lifted the ship up and over and pushed it from side to side, the surrounding fulmars cruised above the tops and then down into the vallies between without even flapping a wing. You watched only to see if one would get the timing wrong and crash into the back of the next wave; it didn’t happen, but if you were lucky, you had a photo with the wing tip just caressing the water’s surface and the reflection of its underbelly in the mirror-like sea.
The talk of the day was the wind, and the comparison between here and the Drake Passage (between Cape Horn and the Antarctic), here it’s called the ‘devil’s dance floor’, we had the dancing, but luckily no devil to be seen, it can be quite different if the wind and waves are from the wrong direction. Seamen are not superstitious, well maybe a little, but you don’t want to offend whoever it is that makes the wind, just take it as it comes and don’t complain.
To try and stop a little of the rolling, we were being creative with some of our extra sails, too big and it flaps and claps from one side, too small and it doesn’t have any effect. We hoisted the main gaffel topsail between the mizzen mast and the main mast, it was a strange sight, but it seemed to work.
Around midnight, Bjørnøya came into sight, well more a sort of silhouette on the horizon, and we headed along the west coast to the south, to a small bay, Landnørdingsvika, between Kapp Kåre and Kapp Harry. On paper it looks good for an anchorage and a possible chance to land and hike around the shore and explore the inland lakes. The anchor went in just after 03:00 and we are waiting for the first people to wake up and admire the new surroundings. Massive cliffs (400 meter +) and towers or needles that stick out of the sea just at the water’s edge, the sea mist is hanging around the tops of the cliffs and the ocean pounds at the bottom, an awesome display of the power of nature.
We shall see how the rest of the day goes and will keep you posted.”
20 Sep 2007 04:07 GMT
76°41.13’N, 020°18.23’E. Compass 189. Knots 7,1.
“Goodbye Svalbard. The morning brought new chances to explore our new surroundings. We went ashore with the rubber boats and had the opportunity to walk around through the ‘wetlands’ with its many small bay areas that gave life to all the birds and reindeer in the areas, unfortunately, no ice bear to see but, he/she was there, and left behind a present, some tracks and… lets just say, you could see what he/she had been eating the last few days. Back aboard we headed off to our final stop in Svalbard for this year, Andréetangen, on the SEly corner of Edgeøya. We had hoped to cruise along close to the coast line to find a bear, but sea charts have not so much details over the typography of the land. No bears but the cliffs were really impressive, every 50 meters a waterfall, falling out of the sky, and the many kinds of birds made good use of their surroundings and zoomed past the ship to take a closer look at us, as we did at them. The anchor fell after dinner on the North side of the ´tangen´ (land tongue) and we would have to wait until morning to inspect our new surroundings. With first light (and first coffee) we could actually see how far from the shore we were, the water was very shallow, and the beach over 1 NM away, and the wind was not in the best direction.. So, anchor up and around the islands to the south side for a better chance of landing. On the way there we were greeted by many walrussesssesss playing around in the water, this place was well known for these guys so we dropped the anchor in a small and also shallow bay and made ready to go ashore (also 1 NM from the beach). The dingy ride would be, to put it nicely, quite sportive…. against the wind and waves. It was the last chance to go ashore in Svalbard. The beach was full of walrusses, around 100 or so, just hanging around burping, farting and snorting. A massive pile of brown blubber with big teeth, some in the water and the most on land, some fighting for the best position. The cameras were filled with digital madness, and the last adventure ashore came to a bumpy end as the rubber boats returned back to the ship. The big O was made ready for her voyage over the `devils dance floor`, everything packed up and tied down we left just before dinner and set sails soon after. Bjørnøya is the next stop (weather permitting), and is around 185 NM Sly from Svalbard. As I type the wind has slowly disappeared and I soon look forward to a sporty (rolly-polly) breakfast. The EAST ZIDE BOYZ say goodbye to Svalbard for this year, so long and thanks for the memories.”
18 Sep 2007 GMT
77°35.74’N, 021°00.67’E. Compass 236. Knots 0,1.
Anthony’s story of the last days on Svalbard:
“Ze lazt dayz in Zpitzbuuurg.
The morning did offer a second chance at Kapp Lee, the wind had dropped off in the night and so had the waves, around 07:00 the anchor was lifted and we left the sheltered bay on Barentsøya and headed over the Freemansundet towards Edgeøya (strange that they named an island after that U2 guitar player), and a point just a little to the south, Dolerittneset. The wind was turning to the south and that made the getting in and out of the rubber boats just that more exciting, you have to work for your holiday photos… its not a vacation, it’s an adventure of a life time! Everybody made it safely to shore, a bit wet but it was raining, so the chance of getting wet was 100% anyway. The group went over to explore the remaining trapper’s cabins that were around the bay area, and surrounding these cabins was the remnants of the catch/hunt, the skeletons from hundreds of walrussesses littered the area. Of course this is no longer allowed so I guess the bones are really old, picked clean by the birds and bleached white by the harsh arctic elements. Unfortunately the large ‘original’ aluminium research cabin from the late 1980’s was gone, what was the research?, counting and monitoring the population of reindeer in the nearby Rosenbergdalen.
Here comes the story about the polar bear attack (don’t panic, it was not by us). In around 1987, a famous nature researcher biologist, Piet Oosterveld, was in his hut and he opened the door to go outside. On the outside of the door was a bear, aahhhh, the bear took a swipe at our nature lover and almost scalped him. He quickly closed the door (as you do when a bear is outside) and barricaded himself and his companion inside. The companion decided to go out the back window and try to chase away the bear, the bear was also smart enough to have a look around the back for another way in and met the man halfway out the window. With a rather large scratch across his shoulder, he jumped back through the window and into the safety of the cabin. What now? Two guys badly wounded in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and a large, hungry and possible angry bear out side. “Get the gun!”, I hear you say. Don’t forget these guys are nature lovers and the idea of having to shoot an animal was not really high on the list of research things to do in Svalbard, and they also didn’t have a gun! Anyway the guys were in the cabin for 2 days before a supply ship came along and when they noticed that the flag was upside down, figured out that something was wrong, a Sysselman representative was flown in with a helicopter and…….. The bear was on display in the hospital in Longyearbyen for years but I’m not sure were it is now. The 2 researchers survived the attack and came back the following years to continue their research, further, Piet apparently always wears a hat to hide the scars, but he says it is because the holes in his head make it to hard to smoke his pipe. Only the strong survive, and sometimes the crazy have just enough luck to do the same.
We left just after lunch and headed south again, the temperature around +4 C (yahoo), we went along the coast, passing by Diskobukta, not stopping, “due to wind” said the captain, but the real reason was that we had the wrong kind of shoes or that it was only for members tonight, maybe it was ladies night, anyway, no flashing lights and loud music, so we continued on to Russebukta and anchored for the night.
In the morning, a walk around the coast line of the bay area, and hopefully a photo of Martinodden (for the other captain, Martin), then further around the corner of Edgeøya and Andréetangen.”
16 Sep 2007 16:52 GMT
78°17.38’N, 020°40.49’E. Compass 097. Knots 0,3.
“Ice, Sun, Wind and Popcorn.
The guests were happy to be able to stretch their legs with a morning walk around the small island and we left just before lunch, with sails hoisted, and headed over to the largest glacier in Svalbard. Almost the entire south-easterly coast of Nordaustlandet is made up of a massive ice cap, about 200 km long, this we gotta see! We were heading towards the east and to the beginning of this icy coast line, the Bråsvellbreen, arriving just as the sun broke through the clouds, to show just how massive it really was, not so much in height (about 25 meters) but in the length and in the way the front came down to the sea. Behind the glacier was one, gigantic, smooth ice mountain that sloped down to the water’s edge so that the front edge had the profile that looked like a…… massive block of chocolate that has been snapped off (yummy, yummy), steep and straight with all kinds of shapes and lines in the icy cliff face, with towers that were ready to fall, and deep caves along the waterline. This was definitely a different kind of glacier than on the westcoast, no small blocks in the water by the foot, but huge blocks, small houses floating around for miles out to sea, there was also several waterfalls along the cliff edge, water had cut deep groves into the ice cap and now cascaded into the sea. We zigzagged around for several hours along the massive wall and decided not to go the whole 200 km (just to check if it was true!) and instead we set our sights on the south and headed towards Barentsøya and the Freemansundet. Far out to sea you could see what we first thought was a container ship coming towards us, after an hour it was clear that it was instead a massive chunk of ice, and behind it another, shaped like an upside down mushroom. We came closer (better photos) and noticed several seals and birds feeding on and around the big blocks and the scattering of smaller pieces that surrounded them, we even saw some Little auks, they should have gone to the south long time ago.
Continuing on under sail and going through the night we arrived at the entrance at our planned ETA (07:00, just after breakfast, then everybody is awake, no fun blasting past all the good places with no one to enjoy them). Thanks to some creative navigation and a bit of tacking and gybeing along the coast line, we helped to rock’n’roll everybody their bed out, with the wind coming in against the tide ,and the entrance being on the shallow side, nice waves.
Now was the tricky part…. to find a polar bear, this was the best place to see them according to all the books and the crews of other ships. At took several hours to slowly cover the 15 NN of the passage between the two islands and all eyes we focused on the coast line, accept when it was too cold, or a call of nature had to be answered (too much coffee) or there was something to snack on in the galley…. but we did really look, almost, most of the time, well really hard anyway. To no avail, no big white furry thing to be found, they were there, but with a little bit of fresh snow scattered around, that makes it hard because every rock looks like a bear, still, the coast line was extremely beautiful and we passed close to the Freeman glacier on our way through the sundet. The plan (plans are only made to be changed) was to head to Kapp Lee on the NE corner of Edgeøya, the wind and wave gods had decided for us, that this is not such a nice place to be right at this moment, especially if you we planning to walk around the old Dutch research station/cabins that are here. Nice place apparently (Annemiek, our guide had been there before), interesting stories of research, reindeers and attacks by polar bears, but not today. The charts were quickly consulted and another option was found…. Anderssonbukta, on the SW corner of Barentsøya, a little shallow (around 9 meters) but with good holding ground and almost no waves, a perfect place to spend a cold windy Sunday afternoon.
What else do you do on a lazy Sunday at home? We made an alternative program, a hike was not an option so… first an interesting slide show on the Cape Horn (Hoorn) Sailors and after dinner we converted the saloon into a movie theatre (with this time, popcorn) and finally we saw our ice bears, with special thanks to National Geographic and their fantastic look into the life of these amazing animals…. the film was made on Kong Karls Island, an sort ice bear sanctuary in far Eastern Svalbard.
The morning offers another chance to go back to Kapp Lee and explore the small settlement, weather permitting.
P.S.: The strange names from Svalbard as promised (my excuses for my strange sense of humor, and all the names are true, and this is only a small selection):
Bjornborgen (tennis), Kapp Oetker (als in Dr…), Calypsobukta (not quite carribean), Discobukta, Pucklehamna, Dunderbukta, Good Enough Fjellet, Hedgehog Fjellet, Hoepstockbukta, Miskatodden, Middagskera (midday rocks?), Miseryfjellet, Purchasneset, Ureinskagen, Velkomstpynten, Zorgdragenfjorden,……. the list can go on forever, but you get the idea.”
15 Sep 2007 05:22 GMT
79°14.53’N, 020°05.53’E. Compass 063. Knots 0,0.
“Exploring the unexplored. (That’s what it feels like.)
To try and make it a bit clearer for those at home without a map, Svalbard looks like an upside down triangle, with the mainland on the west coast and the east coast made up mostly of islands. If you cut off the top right hand corner, and push it a little to the NE then you have Nordaustlandet, the largest of the islands, then you add two smaller islands a bit to the south towards the bottom of the triangle, these are: Barentszøya (25 NM * 20 NM) and Edgeøya (35 NM * 60 NM). Then you add hundreds of smaller islands scattered around in a random order and don’t show any depths on the charts because most areas here are unsurveyed (who would be crazy enough to want to come here with a boat any way) and that’s about it…simple really, any questions?
The Hinlopen Strait is the channel that runs between the main land and that piece of the triangle you cut of and pushed to the NE, it’s about 100 NM long and 20 NM wide, the top is narrow and opens out at the bottom onto the sea, with on your left side the largest glacier of Svalbard (200 km long) and on the other side the two smaller islands and the SE coast of the mainland. We are about over the halfway mark, on our way to the south, anchored up for the night between Von Otterøyane (haven’t seen any otters yet, but who knows?) and Sofiaøya. The guests are ashore this morning exploring their new surroundings after a full day yesterday sailing through the Hinlopen Strait, with the wind (and snow) from behind, with the main sail gybeing from side to side, making a short sail past (photo opportunity) at the glacier by Augustbukta.
It was also a good day for animals, on our way to the glacier we passed a large hurd of reindeer (22) and just past Augustabukta you have a small cape, Torellneset, on the beach we meet our friends with big teeth (9) and further on to the south, in between two smaller islands (Perthesøya and Behmøya), the water was filled with harp seals hunting in a pack (40+), however we are still waiting for the big white furry things with sharp teeth and also no sign of the very famous ‘Svalbard artic giraffe’, they are quite easy to see with that yellow colour, but not to be confused with their African cousin, the ones here, have a short neck!, a bit of sun, a good wind, some HOT coffee, not too much snow and it was a pretty good day all round.
The plans for today are to head over to the massive glacier, say “OOHH, AAHH”, take a photo, and then head on to the south and anchor for the night at the entrance of Freemansundet, on the south side of Barentsoya……
PS: next news a collection of strange place names in Svalbard, there’s enough. A small taste: Hamburgerbukta (get the joke…A SMALL TASTE!!!! HAHAHA).”
13 Sep 2007 21:19 GMT
79°56.29’N, 016°43.32’E. Compass 090. Knots 0,0.
“The real arctic, -30C and snowing.
We were last in the Kongsfjorden and moored along side the quay at Ny Ålesund, we had planned to leave around lunchtime however, the water there is very clear and the scientific people have the equipment to make photos under water, so we could check the ship for any damage, and send some holiday happy snaps back to the office. Whilst waiting for the divers, we went over to Blomstrandhalvøya and took the opportunity to hike along the coast, returning back to the ship and to the quay in time for the afternoon underwater show and left for Smeerenburg after dinner. We said our farewells to the harbour master (who has a turbo charged snow scooter that can do speeds over 200 km/hr, so he said), and slowly sailed away from the pier fading into the sun set on our way to the North. With a boat full of Dutch, we just had to stop at Smeerenburg and explore the old Dutch whaling station, and having fantasies over the ruins about what happened there all those years ago.
On our way to Moffen we crossed over the 800 North just before dinner, unfortunately there were several guests that weren’t so excited about it as we were playing one of my favorate games…rolla bolla-rampa stampa, this is when you mix big waves with big winds. We still had a small ceremony with what was left of the guests and continued through the night rolling our way to the top of our trip, the highest point before we headed down through the Hinlopen Strait. We passed 800 06.00 (it was in my watch so I waited for a nice round number before heading to the South) around 03:00, just north of Verlegenhuken, and then headed on to the entrance of the Hinlopen Strait, and further south, finishing up in Murchison Bay, for anchor. The boat was finally stil.
At breakfast everybody was kind-of awake, after an interesting night, hanging on to your matrass, it wasn’t that bad, but when you know nothing about ships and there movements, then I guess your world will be put on its head with some big waves rolling the ship around……its all an adventure.
The rubber boats were sent ashore for our first walk on the EAST side, and of course above the 800. Not many people in the world have set foot on land above 800 North, that’s pretty bizarre, take a look in your atlas and see were we are… it’s the top of the world, almost. I tried to explain that gravity,was a bit less here above the 800, so they had to take care ashore, but nobody took me seriously, don’t know why, haha. Anyway we explored the many old huts ashore, these were left over from a Swedish expedition in circa 1970, and were able to look inside some. They were very simple but had everything you needed, except, the ‘out house’ was a good 400m away, imagine that you’re there, doing your business, and a bear comes along.
After lunch we left, crossed over the Hinlopen Strait to the Sorgfjorden, and anchored up in Krosshaugen for the night. Tomorrow further to the South, Augustabukta and Wilhelmøya.”
11 Sep 2007 05:09 GMT
78°55.72’N, 011°56.19’E. Compass 090. Knots 0,0.
Anthony’s next story:
“Up and over.
With everyone and everything on board the anchor was lifted for the last time in the bay of Longyearbyen for the last trip of the year. The plan was simple, go up and over, and then down through the middle (sounds like a new kind of country and western dance), stopping on the way in several new places to explore the Eastern side of West-Spitzbergen. The first stop on the agenda was the souvenir shop in Ny Ålesund, UUUHM, I mean, the historical town at the top of the world, full of magic and mystery, surrounded by mountains with snow covered peaks, and full of people doing important research on the global warming situation. The shop opens at 09:00 in the morning. There is also a webcam positioned to overlook the town and the harbour areas, say cheese!
But I’m getting ahead of my self, on the way out the Isfjorden and into the Prins Karls Sundet we were treated to a watery festival of everything that swims, well not everything, just those big fish…..ok ok, the whales. We started with only 2 fin whales on the horizon, but as we got closer we noticed more, and they were coming towards us. The motor was stopped and the boat did numerous circles to follow the group around, at the same time there were several Minky whales, desperately trying to attract our attention on the other side of the ship. I guess they felt a bit inferior due to they smaller size and had to try harder to get the attention they deserved. In the middle of all this there came 2 very large humpback whales to see what all the commotion was about. All around the ship, you could see the backs and the fins, coming up out the water, the huge blasts of air and water with every breath, several tails flopping up to the surface of the water and what ‘they’, the people who know more about these big fish than I do, called the ‘foot print’. This is the mark left on the surface of the water by the movement of a whale under the water, which doesn’t break the surface but just leaves a sort of whirl pool effect behind (see mum, I did actually learn something).
In the meantime cook Sabine was below in the galley preparing dinner, I told her that perhaps she wouldn’t be getting many clients this evening, as they were all to busy running around from starboard to port and back, waving their video cameras and tele-lensessssess around in a desperate struggle to get the perfect shot. ‘Timing is everything’, when taking a photo of a whale and some digital cameras are just that little bit too slow, so you end up with lots of photos of waves and more waves, sometimes you’re lucky and….BINGO, that’s the one.
With all this on the first day, who knows what we’ll do tomorrow.”
10 Sep 2007 02:14 GMT
78°13.88’N, 015°35.84’E. Compass 090. Knots 0,0.
“The peaceful anchorage of Skansbukta was disturbed with the raising of our anchor around 06:00 in the morning, the last day of trip No. 5 and the first day of No. 6. We headed over the Isfjorden towards Longyearbyen and arrived just after breakfast. The guests prepared their bags for a quick get away in the afternoon, and now they had time to explore Longyearbyen. They had seen it a bit earlier than planned, when they spent the night in the hotel, but still wanted to see the museum and do some last minute shopping (the big seller for the average tourist this year is the cuddly polar bear, the ‘Svalbard 780 North’ t-shirt or the newest t-shirt which says ‘I survived voyage No. 5’, just kidding). The taxis came to the quay to take our passengers to the airport and the journey home began, time to reflect on a very special trip.
We had about the same time it takes to drink a cup of coffee before the taxis arrived with the new guests, of course all were interested to hear about our adventures in the last trip and they were enthousiasticly welcomed aboard their new home for the next 2 weeks or so. This will be a special trip as we are planning to go up and around and down through the Hinlopen Straight, on to Bjørnøya (Bear Island) and finish in Tromsø. The plan is to leave today after we get the stores and some other small things (post cards and of course cuddly polar bears), then up and over, it should be a good trip, I’m interested to see what’s on the East coast, so stay tuned for more.”
8 Sep 2007 21:06 GMT
78°31.70’N, 016°01.84’E. Compass 090. Knots 0,0.
Anthony continues (and after this a report from our ‘special reporter’):
“Spitsberg meets the Waddenzee.
With the last news we were on the outside of Prins Karls Forland, heading down towards Barentszburg. The idea was to look for whales and to see the other side of the island, that until now was only inspected by us on the charts. We managed to see some minky whales and some harp seals, at the top of the island, but I guess that most people are more interested in what happened early the next morning……
If you read the outline/planning of the trips that we do, on the bottom it says something like “a trip on the ‘Oosterschelde’ is always full of adventure”. Well, we had a little unplanned adventure, you might say.
Around 09:30 in the morning we rounded a point a little too close and got stuck, unfortunately, we were not able to get free under our own power, trying all the tricks in the book (I’m not sure which book, but you get the idea), the water tanks were pumped overboard, the booms and gaffels were put out, over to one side, anchors were let go, all to make the boat lighter and get it over to one side, it didn’t work.
Contact with a tug boat was made and it came out to see what it could do. In the mean time, the water was slowly disappearing around us and the ship began slowly to lean over to one side. When the tug arrived it was clear that we would have to wait for the next high water to attempt to pull us free.
The bottom of the ship is just like a…umm ? …shoebox..! with rounded edges, and a keel running along the middle, from front to back, we were stuck on the keel, about midships, so when the water went down, we ended up leaning over on our side, around 18 degrees, it’s not that much (we often heel over more when sailing), it was a little different now because the ship didn’t come back, and you had to walk around almost on the walls….(a bit dramatic, but it was quite difficult to walk and work).
In the evening, when the water had come back, we pulled, the lines broke, we fixed the lines, pulled again, and they broke again, this went on several times, and finally we decide that the best option was to wait until next high water in the morning, and try again. The tug was able to bring our passengers to the comfort of a hotel in Longyearbyen for what was left of the night and we, tried to sleep, in shifts.
The morning brought more water, and of course more hope, the second attempt brought the stern around and the bow lose, we changed the line over to the front, and, …..FREEDOM!!!, we were once again floating! Then of course the inspection of the bilges, hull, motors, rudder, bow thruster, engine rooms, etc. etc. to see if there was damage or leaking, but there was no damage to be seen, the only damage was to our pride and of course, Jip had several more grey hairs, no one will notice any way (ooh that hurts!). A rubber boat was sent over to the tug to show our gratification, they too were completely ecstatic, as it was also a question of pride for them to be able to pull us free.
I guess it’s like driving a car, if you do it long enough, you’re bound to have an accident. A ship is the same, you do it long enough, you’re bound to make a mistake, eventually. The trick is to try and make it as small as possible.
We decided to head to Longyearbyen, contact with the authorities, our shipping company and the passengers, was made, everybody happy, a sigh of relief, all round. On the way, inspecting all the possible places and things to check for damage, and getting the boat ready to once again, receive our guests. The only problem we had, was that we had pumped all the water from the tanks, and now had no water to clean the ship, so we improvised…..bottled water, it takes a bit longer, but it works. A place was found for us in the harbour, as the harbour master had of course already heard about our situation, he called it “a small bump on the corner”. The guests arrived for dinner aboard, and all were very happy to see us again, and floating. We decided to spend the night there and continue the trip in the morning heading off to Skansbukta for the last day.
We anchored in the afternoon in the small fjord, and boats were sent ashore for a long walk through the Grand Canyon like valley, they returned several hours later and we sat down for the last evening meal together aboard. We turned the saloon into a movie cinema, with the beamer and big screen and big sound system, the only thing missing was the popcorn. In the morning we will return to Lonyyearbyen to round off the trip.
I know the last few days has been a bit crazy and long, and would like to thank all those involved for their support, patience and understanding.
From our ‘special’ reporter Matthijs on board the tug ‘I. Beranov’ from Barentszburg:
Afetr our ship had run aground and had started to heel, the crew put us on board of the tug around 13:20. So we packed some stuff (some took their passport and money, some took their make-up) and went to the tug by rubber boat. The Russian crew was enthousiastic, especially when the female passengers arrived there, and even more when they discovered that these could speak Russian.
On board of the tug (model 1954) the athmosphere was ok, it stayed ok even when we had to wait till 21:00 for the next high water, and the crew of the ‘Oosterschelde’ quickly turned into a successful catering group: luncheon was received with an applause, drink with even more applause, and dinner applause was ovational! At 21:00 we all followed the attempts of the tug; every time the cable broke, something inside us broke as well. A Russian tug is not very well fitted to receive a group of 17 (especially the WC isn’t). Around midnight the tug brought us to Longyeabyen. We arrived at the hotel at 04:30 and enjoyed a hot shower and a warm bed. The next day brought the happy news that the ship was free again, and at 19:00 we went aboard again to conclude the voyage together with the crew.”
From the shipping company (7 Sep 2007)
Despite all efforts last night, the tugboat didn’t manage to get the ‘Oosterschelde’ into deeper water. Their towing line was not strong enough and it broke several times. After some attempts of course the water started falling again and that meant waiting for the next tide.
This morning the tugboat brought a better towing line and this time it all worked out fine. The ‘Oosterschelde’ is in deeper water again and will continue her voyage.
From the shipping company (6 Sep 2007)
On her way to Barentszburg this morning, the ‘Oosterschelde’ rounded a little cape in the entrance of the Grønfjorden too close and she ran aground, the keel in moraine gravel. Bad luck was that it happened right after high tide, so the falling water soon made it impossible for the ship to get off using her engine. The crew was aware of the tug that is almost always moored at the quay in Barentszburg, so our captain called the tug crew and asked for assistance. But the water had fallen too much already. So now the tug is lying next to the ‘Oosterschelde’ and both crews are waiting for the next high tide around 19:00 LT and then the tug will haul her back to deeper waters.
5 Sep 2007 14:12 GMT
78°59.08’N, 010°49.02’E. Compass 234. Knots 5,6.
“Sights, sounds and souvenirs.
After sailing through the whole night in all kinds of weather, we dropped the sails and headed into Smeerenburg (Blubbertown was also its name earlier), the anchor fell around 07:00. A small group of intrepid guests went ashore to re-live the history that surrounds this area. It’s not like Disneyland, where everything is all prepared for you, the remnants are there but you have to use a bit of fantasy and imagination and a small touch of historic romance, to be able to get the full impact or feeling of what went on here all those years ago. To imagine how they lived in these conditions with, compared to now, such primitive and basic equipment, those were tough guys, a little crazy but tough. It also helps to read some of the books, especially the ones with pictures.
The Magdalanefjorden was the next stop; the last few trips there was too much ice to be able to get into the fjord, but this time the wind was working with us to blow the ice out to sea. We anchored in a really small bay, it’s more like an extended sand bank on one side and a rocky cliff on the other. The rubber boats went ashore with the guests, who were able to walk up to the foot of the glacier Gullybreen and sit on the big blocks along the beach and wait for the next piece to break off. RUMMEL, RUMMEL, CRACK, CRUNCH, CRACK…..and finally BOOM, (sounds like a fight scene from a Batman comic, but I don’t know how to describe it ) and the big blocks fell and the cameras were raised to the eye with excitement.
After dinner we left for Ny Ålesund (according to Martin, you have to say the A like an O because it has a strange Norwegen circle thingy above it…OK). The morning program was for a short walk along the coast of Blomstrandhalvøya and to pick up the people again at London, the old marble mine, and head over to (phonetically spoken) Neu Ooooolleesond for the night. The only problem was that the souvenir shop was closed today and we were planning to leave early in the morning. To avoid a mutiny on board, we were able to speek to the nice lady who ran the shop, and she said that she could open it in the morning for us. So our departure was delayed due to shopping, that’s a new one for me.
Now we are under sail and heading for the outside of Prins Karls Forland and searching for whales. We just saw a harp seal and some minky whales. We will be in Barentszburg in the morning.”
2 Sep 2007 18:55 GMT
79°55.86’N, 013°04.24’E. Compass 268. Knots 2,9.
Anthony sent the following:
“Sun, snow, animals and ice.
Its been a very busy several days since the last news. When last we spoke, we were on our way to the North, towards Virgohamna. The morning came and the guests were surprised once again about our surroundings. A small bay at the foot of large hills that surround the anchorage providing a good shelter from most winds and waves. A short visit ashore to the historical island and then off to the famous look out, Ytre Norsk Øya or the Zeeuwse Uitkijk. Luckily the weather of the morning had disappeared and left us with a perfectly blue sky, sunshine and a sea that looked like it was covered with oil, a mirror as far as the eye could see, nice to find whales but there was no chance of sailing.
On the way to Moffen, above the 80′ north line, we came across several walrussessesss swimming in the water, the ship was turned around and around several times to get THAT photo, the light was better from this side or the silhouette was nicer from that other side… we aim to please, this also gave us some more time to make a better ETA form our 80′ party, otherwise it would be before dinner, don’t want to make the cook mad. It’s all about timing you know.
On the Southern point of Moffen we were able to see our old friends with the big teeth just lolling around on the beach, we came close enough to see their breath in the cold evening, the barking and snorting could be heard as they fought for the best position on the beach, cameras ready… GO.
The morning brought a short wandeling around Reinsdyrflya and once back on board we spent the rest of the day zigzagging through the massive amounts of ice that was scattered around the Liefdefjorden and trying to get to the Monaco Glacier. Planning a trip here is difficult because of the weather, but when you add this to the animals and the ice you can throw all your plans out the window.
With a maximum speed of 2.5 knots, and all around are blocks of ice the size of small family cars, the last thing you want to hear is someone call out “whales !!!”, especially when they are behind you. Ok ok, we’ll turn the boat around, and fight our way to the whales, about 4 or 5 sperm whales, really spectacular. Then you continue on through the ice…. “Baird rob on the ice block over starboard !!”, ok ok we turn around again, a little bit further and….”Ice bear, no, TWO ice bears, and in the water!!!” We spent the whole day surrounded with ice, animals, sun and blue sky, not a bad way to spend your holiday in the North. We anchored for the night in the ice free (!) bay of Hornbæk Pollen and left early in the morning towards Vulkanhamna and a short walk to the hot springs, sounds nice i guess but…… I’ll tell you about that another time, ha ha ha.
Now we are out of the Woodfjorden, at sea sailing along the coast towards Smeerenburg, probable arriving tomorrow morning some time, it’s a sort of good news bad news situation… ‘the good news is that we are not going very fast, the bad news is were going the wrong way’.
It’s also snowing, sailing in the snow is probably one of the strangest things I have done in my life.”
30 Aug 2007 19:54 GMT
79°17.57’N, 010°44.05’E. Compass 349. Knots 7,3.
Anthony’s next story:
“We left Colesbukta early in the morning, and headed out the Isfjorden towards Poolepynten, arriving after lunch. The wind and weather was being its usual unpredictable self, and although it was cold, the new adventure seekers took the chance to go ashore and explore. Once ashore, the opportunity was there to collect some wood for the fire in the saloon, and to search the beach for our big toothed friends, the walrusses. The wood was easy, but the walrusessessses were not to be found, only an old skeleton, next to the small Sysselman’s hut, remained. It was still a nice chance to stretch your legs and enjoy the sights and sounds of Svalbard.
We proceeded on to the North and over the Forlands Revet, that small and shallow passage in the fjord. This was Jips first real taste of Svalbard, a narrow passage in a massive sound, with a head wind and of course it wouldn´t be complete without a little bit of snow to help reduce the visibility…. welcome to the Northern part of the world.
Early in the morning, around 02:00, we entered the Krossfjorden and headed up to Signehamna, zigzagging through the ice towards our little bay to anchor for the night. The morning was a chance to go ashore to the old German weather station and after lunch to go and ‘play’ around in the ice at the foot of the glacier. The sun was out in full glory and provided us with spectacular light on the glacier and the surrounding ice blocks that filled the fjord. The rubber boats were launched, and to our delight, were able to find amongst the maze of ice a bearded seal, also enjoying the sun, sleeping on a large chunk of the broken glacier. Cameras ready and we were able to get about 2 to 3 meters from it, he/she didn´t even bother to look up for the photo. Returning back to the big O with (as they say in Australia), a smile that goes twice around your face, the new guests had the time of their lives, little do they know there is a lot more where that came from, this was just the first of many amazing things to see and do here.
We are now on our way further to the North, with the plan to arrive at Virgohamna or Smeerenburg in the early morning.”
29 Aug 2007 04:02 GMT
78°06.99’N, 014°59.88’E. Compass 221. Knots 0,0.
Anthony’s continuing story:
“The sun goes under!
The morning of the 28th gave the old guests a chance to visit (most went shopping) the town of Longyearbyen, as today was also the day we get our new guests. With everybody ashore we were able to clean the ship and organise the newly arrived supplies for the next 12 days, try to get our administration into order and just generally run around like a chicken with its head cut off, a silly Australian expression, but the idea is clear, I hope.
The guests finally left the ship at 13:55 and at 14:00 the hew group arrived. Busy busy. We let the lines slip from the pier and headed out into the Isfjorden with a small breeze to help us on our way to Colesbukta, a short trip around the corner from Longyearbyen.
The anchor fell after dinner, and we had our first taste of the adventures to come. Boats to the shore for a short walk around, and then a well deserved nights rest at anchor, after a long day for everybody, who were either traveling to the boat or leaving from the boat our getting the boat ready for those who were either leaving or coming, or was it coming and going…??
The one thing that is sure the nights are slowly becoming nights, the sun was a kind of setting, and, I saw the moon just poking its head above the mountains as the sun sank on the other side of the fjord. The nice thing is the colours of the sky and clouds with a setting sun, you forget that after a while because the sun hasn’t set for the last few months.
The plan for today is to head up to Poolepynten, and continue on to Signahamna late in the evening or early morning. Stay tuned for more.”
29 Aug 2007 04:02 GMT
78°06.99’N, 014°59.88’E. Compass 221. Knots 0,0.
Anthony next chapter:
“We anchored in my favorite place just after dinner on Monday. Why is it my favorite place? The bay is quite large (about 1 NM across) but gives the illusion of being small, because on either side, the massive mountains give you that same feeling as being in you local pub, a feeling of calm and peacefulness (sounds like I’ve bumped my head one time too much but it is true). At the one end of the bay is the Isfjorden with its panoramic views, mountains with snow, and ice, and the other side, were the water ends, opens out to a kind of marshy flat wetlands, with what looks like the Grand Canyon on both sides. It almost invites you to try and look what is around the corner, just behind the hills. Its about 4 NM (7 km) to the first corner inside the valley, but it gives the feeling the it is just a matter of a short walk, or to just stretch out your neck and see what’s there behind the hill. In Spitzbergen its difficult to judge the distances ashore, until you have a point of reference. So once you land with the rubber boats, then you really get to see just how far or how big things actually are.
Anyway, after dinner we went ashore with all the necessary ‘liquid’ supplies and began to gather wood for a campfire. The lumberjacks among our group were busy sawing the logs that you find littered around the coast line. They say that a fire gets you warm 3 times: gathering, sawing, and finally burning.. And it’s tru. We were all slowly moving back from our seats around the fire as it began to heat up, our faces glowing with the radiating heat. Until late in the night, or early in the morning (depends who you ask) we sat huddled around the warmth of our fire surrounded by the massive mountains in my favorite place.
The silence of the bay was broken as we lifted the anchor in the early morning and headed to the Pyramiden. A short look around the abandoned ghost town, is a strange feeling in comparison to all the other places in Spitsbergen, then a short last hop over the Isfjorden to the civilization of Longyearbyen. The last evening meal on board for this trip was complimented by warm felt speeches from our guests and the crew, the stories of adventures from the trip, both big and small, were exchanged until late in the night. A perfect end to a perfect trip.”
25 Aug 2007 14:50 GMT
78°16.46’N, 013°57.53’E. Compass 090. Knots 0,0.
“In the last news we had just left from Ny Ålesund and had the brilliant plan to go on the outside of Prins Karls Foreland, this for two reasons: the weather was very calm, (that’s a nice way to say wind still), and to search for those whales that had avoided us until now……
I think we were about 200 m away from the quay, when the first shout was heard over the deck: “Whales over starboard”. The motor went still and the cameras went into action, changing sides regularly to find the best angle for the perfect shot. The weather was also werking with us, as the sea had a mirrorlike surface that enabled you to see every movement easil of these ‘big fish’ (I know that they are not fish, I just say that to pester the guides. Its just like the ‘purple sandpiper’……its not purple at all, ha ha ha). Anyway, we drifted around by the entrance to the Krossfjorden and enjoyed the company of our massive swimming friends, who seemed as much interested in the ship as we were in them. Eventually they were no longer to be seen, we set the sails in the light breeze and headed of around the corner and into the Forelandsundet, deciding not to go outside after all, but sail through the night towards Barentszburg.
The watches, red, white and blue, changed and so did the winds and the sails, everybody keeping busy and also enjoying the spectacular views with the giant mountains and glaciers on both sides, and sun slowly sinking towards the horizon, but not yet going under, creating a golden glow over everything. As we glided through the water with the clouds lit up behind us, the rubber boat was set overboard and later returned with some fantastic photos, what a great evening.
The morning broke (a strange English expression I know, but…..) we arrived at the old and still used Russian cole mining town and had the chance to look around and explore this strange place. A big contrast with the rest of the pristine nature of Spitzbergen. After lunch we headed to the Northern side of the Isfjorden, Ymerbukta and searched for fossils at the foot of the glacier.
The wind began to fill in the holes on the water’s surface with small ripples, the sails were set and we proceeded on our way to the bottom of the Isfjorden, the Templefjorden and our anchorage at Bjonahamna. A morning stroll along the beach and then off to explore the glacier at the end of the fjord. This is one of the glaciers that has actually moved forwards out into the fjord about 0.5 NM. We were able to get very close to the massive ice wall that’s about 60 to 70 m high, and at its foot, resting on the broken blocks of ice were 4 to 5 bearded seals. Cameras ready….. go, click, click,click.
We are now on our way to one of my favourite places, Skansbukta and will spend the night there for anchor and proceed further tomorrow. maybe Pyramiden.”
24 Aug 2007 06:11 GMT
78°55.72’N, 011°56.05’E. Compass 090. Knots 0,0.
Anthony’s next chapter:
“Winter has gone summer is back….
The weather in the last news was, we thought, the early beginning of the winter, but of course you never know, as the next day we were bathed in sunshine and all signs of the snow had either melted or been scooped from the deck, by our happy to help guests. There was one question that seemed strange in the beginning of the trip but now made perfect sense ….”do you have a snow shovel aboard ?”….answer, “NO?, why would we need one ?”….., Maybe next year we’ll bring one.
The Liefdefjorden and the Woodfjorden are two of the most beautiful places up here, with massive glaciers, lots of seals, polar bears, reindeer and birds, and of course the many different types of mountains that surround both sides. We stopped at Vulkanhamna and hiked up to the hot springs, moved onto the very small bay at Mushamna to visit the trappers’ hut, and headed out to sea towards the island Moffen, passing the famous 80 North line just before midnight. Champagne and a small ceremony of a nautical baptisme followed. Of course you need the permission from the God of the sea to cross any nautical boundaries, luckily this was arranged just in time, because you don’t want to make him mad…..
Going through the night we headed towards the historically Dutch parts of Spitzbergen, the well known Zeeuwse Uitkijk and of course Smeerenburg.
When entering the Kongsfjorden we were surprised to find it totally full with ice. The wind having been predominantly Wly, and the ice being pushed back towards the glacier, it was now slowly coming out to meet us because of the slight tidal stream and absolute lack of wind. This however gave a spectacular scene, the sun was in full glory, the ship surrounded with ice blocks, the water looked like a mirror, and with massive mountains and glaciers in the background covered with fresh snow, it was difficult to see which way was up in to foto’s…
A morning walk along the coast line of Blomstrandhalvøya and in the evening we moored up to the quay in Ny Ålesund, giving us the chance to walk freely around the town and of course have a bit of contact with the outside world, send postcards, use the one and only public telephone, talk to the locals and enjoy the perfect views.
Today we left early in the morning and have decided to go to the South on the outside of Prins Karls Forland, in the hope to see some whales. You never know what we will see and you know what they say….’never work with children and animals’….too unpredictable .”
21 Aug 2007 14:54 GMT
Still great weather, but now we have some snow added. Very, very beautiful.
21 Aug 2007 08:32 GMT
79°27.63’N, 013°17.86’E. Compass 090. Knots 0,0.
After a walk in a light blizzard at Worsleyhamna we decided to wait for weather improvement. Our nature guide Jan lectured and we saw a movie about the archipelago. And the weather improved. Anchor up and to our next destination, the Monacobreen, a very impressive glacier in the Liefdefjorden (Love fjord). We were rewarded with beautiful blue walls of ice and the thunder of masses breaking off and falling into the water. The highlight most certainly was a polar bear with his prey, a bearded seal, on one of the many floes. He didn’t like us approaching and left two times with the prey to shift to another floe. Binoculars and telelenses braught them close. Last night we were anchored in the small bay of Hornbæk and this morning we left for Vulkanhamna. As usual our guest are eager to start a new hike and a new adventure.
20 Aug 2007 04:32 GMT
79°41.33’N, 013°34.76’E. Compass 296. Knots 0,1.
“Winter is here…..
We left Signahamna after dinner, and just like the way in, slaloming our way between the ice blocks out the fjord towards the 14 July glacier. This is at the entrance to the Krossfjorden. It has a small bay at the foot of the ice wall and one of the few places that you can walk up to the glacier. Everybody aboard, and we headed to the North, around Cape Mitra, along the coast to….the Zeeuwse Uitkijk (although plans are as varied as the weather).
Around about 02:00 in the morning, I was explaining to a guest, that firstly, we hadn’t had rain for a long long time, and secondly it’s good, why, I hear you ask, because it means that it’s not cold enough to snow (me and my big mouth),.Around 03:00 the temperature dropped and what was once rain, became snow.
This peace of coast line is one of the few places that are open to the ocean, to the right (about 4 NM), Spitzbergen, to the left (about 350 NM) Greenland, so with the motor and sails we proceeded further. The plan was to go to the Zeeuwse uitkijk, but there is no point if you can’t see any thing, so we decided on Virgohamna instead. The difference between now an the last time we stopped there was amazing, with a sprinkling of pure white snow over everything you just had to think about Christmas. Once that idea is in your head you begin to hum Christmas songs the whole day long, but its only August. The short hike around this historical place, filled with reminders and remnants of the explores that were here before you, was a real winter paradise. This is for me one of the nicest places here.
The second part of our original plan was to go further up to the island Moffen and the 80’s but a good wind is a shame to waste, especially up here, so with sails full of wind and snow we raced along the coast towards the Woodfjorden. The snow would come and go, but the wind surprisingly, was constant, 4 to 5 Bft NW, a perfect back stay wind and with our energetic guests on deck, all busy with ropes and steering etc, we jibed around Verkomst Point (on the NEly side from Reinsdyrflya) just after dinner, and into the Woodfjorden and finally our anchorage at Worsleyhamna, all under sail.
This morning I awoke to find the whole ship under a thick layer of snow, the temperature around -2 C, and its easy to see that the seasons are changing. Sometimes the sun peaks through an opening in the clouds, and shines a spot of brilliant light down onto the freshly powdered mountains, what a magical place.
The wood stove in the saloon is burning, and slowly the boat and its inhabitants come to life, a new day brings new chances.”
18 Aug 2007 15:33 GMT
79°16.25’N, 011°31.86’E. Compass 018. Knots 0,1.
“The new guests arrived very early in the morning, around 02:00 and were shown around their new home for the next few weeks, some familiar faces and many new ones, but they all share the adventure and excitement in the frozen North.
The anchor was hoisted after breakfast and we set off into the Isfjorden with our first destination being Poolepynten. The wind was fair and we set sail just outside the ‘harbour’ of Longyearbyen and raced towards the entrance of the fjord, and the open sea, a great way to begin the trip. The first impressions of Spitzbergen are always nice to hear, the mountains, the glaciers, all the animals, the temperature, everything is new and exciting. The tone was set for the rest of the trip.
The wind in Spitzbergen is not very trustworthy especially in the fjords so if you can sail then you should, you don’t know when it will stop or change….this being said, with the change of the watch, just by the entrance, the wind decided to do its own thing; still we had sailed the whole morning, with good speed and, also very important, in the right direction.
We turned the corner and proceeded on our way to Poolepynten and hoped to find the walrusses. The closer we came to the beach and to our anchor spot the easier it was to see that on the edge of the sand there were around 6 to 7 of our big brown friends. The boats went ashore to explore and of course capture the moment, it’s not every day that you see a real live walrus. Once back on board, we left just before midnight (it’s still light here the whole day) and proceeded further to the North, through the Forelandsundet and up into the Krossfjorden and Lilliehookfjorden, arriving in the early morning. By the entrance to the Krossfjorden we were greeted by the first ice blocks of this trip, the speed reduced and a zig-zag course was followed through the blocks, some as big as a football and others the size of a small bus. At the end of the Lilliehookfjorden is a very active glacier (otherwise their be no ice on the way there), here we sent the rubber boats out to get a better look at all the blocks. When your in a small rubber boat the whole experience is different, the crackling sound it makes, the change of temperature as you get closer, the different colours and of course the size. After spending several hours floating around this strange amusement park we headed over to Signahamna (about 2 NM) and will spend the rest of the day hiking around ashore and exploring the old German weather station up in the hills.
More to follow……..”
From the shipping company (17 Aug 2007)
A chart of west West-Spitzbergen can be downloaded here.
Webcams in the area, that sometimes show the ‘Oosterschelde’, can be found here. Pick ‘Svalbard’ in the View region menu in the top bar.
Details of the stops that the ‘Oosterschelde’ makes can as usual be found on this site in the menu The Ship, sub-menu Log.
16 Aug 2007 08:33 GMT
78°13.92’N, 015°35.27’E. Compass 233. Knots 0,1.
Anthony’s next chapter:
“The morning was spent exploring the shore with the possibility of going to the glacier, however, people always mis judge the distance to objects here and as the giant ice wall was more than 6 to 7 km away, they searched the ‘beach’ for fossils instead with great success.
The anchor was lifted and we sent out into the Isfjorden and slowly began to set all the sails. With a cheeky breeze coming from the NWly and with 2 to 3 knots we slipt silently through the arctic waters towards Skansbukta. Of course the rubber boats were launched and the cameras went crazy as the back drop for the photo shoot was the sharp mountains of Spitzbergen, lit with the afternoon sun…..wow.
We spent the night at anchor and went ashore in the morning to inspect the old gips mine, leaving after lunch and heading for the big city in the North, Longyearbyen. We had the afternoon to look around to do some shopping and that night we all enjoyed the last dinner aboard with a special video presentation of all the things we saw during this trip.
As this is being written our last guests are leaving the ship. We hope that we sent the old guests off full of impressions (and with full memory cards in the cameras) of a great trip, in a special place, and of course on a special ship. Later tonight the new group of guests will arrive and hopefully just as eager to explore and experience this impressive and pristine place.”
14 Aug 2007 06:04 GMT
78°16.47’N, 013°57.73’E. Compass 122. Knots 0,0.
“After sailing through the night, everyone was surprised to wake up and find themselves moored up on the quay in Ny Ålesund. This was a small taste of the civilized world that people seemed to miss after the last few days of being in the wilderness of the northern fjords. The northern most city in the world was coming to life around the same time as we were, slowly, one by one, the guests would stick their heads out the doors by the main entrance to see where we were, and what the weather was doing, the typical daily routine, some are always the first and some are always the last.
After walking around the small city, soaking up the sphere, a mixture of history meets modern science, there was of course, the stop at the most northern shop in the world, to buy a card and to post it at the most northern post office in the world, so the people back home can see just how far to the north we actually were (the card should be coming in about 3 to 4 days).
The next stop was a short hop to the other side of the fjord, about 3 NM. The rubber boats were launched and the guests landed on the beach in London. This is an old marble mine and still full all the old machines, cranes and cabins the were brought here especially from Europe for the mining operations. The mine was only open for a short time because when the blocks reached the rest of the world, they were finally defrosted and it was found that they were full of cracks and splits, and so totally useless, an unfortunate waste of time and a lot of money. Hiking along the shore, up and over the hills and back to the boat, we saw a polar fox real close, reindeer with giant antlers (I think you could hang almost 20 jackets up on those things) and the aerial battles between the birds, great skuas and kittiwakes, fighting over food.
The anchor came up after dinner and we headed off towards Barentszburg. We took a little detour to look at the other side of the island, Blomstrandhalvøya, the glacier has retreated so far back to reveal several small bays and islands, really really nice.
Arriving late in the morning, we had time to explore the Russian coal mining village, some decided to visit the hotel and test the local vodka and coffee, others were happy to just stroll around an explore the area. On the other side of the same fjord, there is a small archeological dig underway led by Louwrens Haquebord from the university of Groningen who also made the excavations in Smeerenburg and Ytre Norskøya (‘Zeeuwse Uitkijk’). They are uncovering an old Russian trapper hut from the 1800’s, and we were able to come over and take a quick look around, really amazing. Whilst on the beach a group of 5 to 6 belugas were swimming along the shore line, towards the ship, the workers there didn’t even look up, the only response was: “Oh yeah they come along here every day, in and then out.” The cameras on the beach pointed their way to capture the white backs coming out above the surface, “finally we get to see beluga’s” was heard on deck. The anchor came up and we slowly followed them along the shore line, after a while they disappeared, that’s nature…unpredictable. We turned around and headed for our spot for the night, Ymerbukta.
The anchor fell just after dinner and we will explore the surrounds in the morning.”
12 Aug 2007 05:11 GMT
78°55.72’N, 011°56.13’E. Compass 090. Knots 0,0.
“The small bay of Hornbækpollen was indeed a beautiful place to spend the night and in the early morning we set out to explore the new surroundings. The shore party landed on the narrow beach and headed up to the cliffs full with birds, pointed the cameras and binoculars their way, and then proceeded up and over the rocky hills towards the ‘Texas Bar’. The name alone was enough to inspire the imagination, however, this was not the northern most disco in the world, but is a small hut for the representative of the Sysselman, who come and observe the comings and goings of all forms of life in the fjord.
We proceeded on our way out the Liefdefjorden and into the Woodfjorden with our next stop being the trappers’ hut in Mushamna. With everyone again aboard we set off for Moffen the most northern point of our journey and crossed the 80′ around 22:20 that evening (at 014 30.0 E). The champagne corks exploded and the cameras were all squashed into the steering hut to capture the precise moment from the GPS as evidence to the people back home. The low atol of Moffen came into sight and so too the unmistakable figure of the walrus swimming around the boat or laying on the beach.
It was now time to start heading back to the South, the next stop….Ytre Norkøya, the look out.
The anchor fell early the next morning and boats were sent ashore for the morning exercise, however the exploration of Dutch history was cut short by…yes you guessed it, b..e..a..rrrrrrr. On the other side of the hill looking over the rocks, possible woken up by the noise from the motors and people in this otherwise tranquil surroundings. The boats were sent over to the beach to bring everyone back to the schip and be able to enjoy at a safe distance. At the same time as we left the island so to did the bear, deciding to take to the water and go to the neighbouring island, but for how long? we didn’t know so to play it safe we stayed aboard, no point in looking for trouble. The bears live here, we don’t.
We eventually lost sight of the bear and so decided to go on to Vigohamna and explore there. With bright sunshine and a chance to sail down the coast we set off and once outside the sails were set. Today the wind gods were almost on our side, we were not going to break any speed records, but with everyone active on deck and in the mast who cares. We enjoyed the amazing stillness as the motor was shut off and just sat and relaxed and took time to contemplate all the things we have seen.
In the morning Ny Alesund.”
10 Aug 2007 05:23 GMT
79°36.34’N, 012°39.02’E. Compass 000. Knots 0,0.
“With all the passengers back on board, we left the Magdalenefjorden and headed out to sea, and yes!, the plans had changed to suit the weather. Due to the bad visibility we decided not to take the smaller passage through to Smeerenburg, as you need to use a bearing line of one small stone above the top of another to enter the small bay. I have once again the greatest respect for the people that first explored this place, they were either very good or very crazy.
The anchor fell just after lunch and was quickly followed with the rubber boats, bringing all the guests ashore. Astrid and Caroline decided to collect some samples of the marine life from the area, mossels, jelly fish and snails – strange looking creatures live here.
The walk around this piece of Dutch history was ended abruptly when the shore party got their first look of the one animal that most people come here to see. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not a bird and it’s not a whale, it’s big furry white thing with four legs, and goes GGRRRRRRRR. It was quite far away but you don’t want to take any chances ashore, so a graceful retreat back to the boat is the best thing to do. Once on board the photos from the adventure were displayed on the computers and at the same time the anchor was hoisted and we headed to the North.
Once outside the wind god had decided to help us on our way, sails were set and we cruised along the coast throught the night, towards the Woodfjorden and onto the anchorage of Worsleyhamna. As the sails come down we were met by (depending on who you ask) several whales or just the same one several times, we turned around and followed it/them around the fjord for almost an hour. Slowly the deck became full with cameras and binoculars that ran from port to starboard many times. Finally it/they sank into the deep and we turned back to our anchorage, not five minutes later the same cameras and binoculars spotted another big white furry thing ashore, we proceeded on up to our spot and we were greeted with either the same bear or a new one walking along the beach. It entered the water and swam over to a neighbouring island, what a great way to start the day! With all our tricks out the bag, I don’t know what we’ll do tomorrow.
After lunch we left Worsleyhamna and headed towards the Monaco glacier, between the islands. Yeah yeah another bear! Several hundred photos later we made our way through the ice to the foot of the glacier, about 70 m high and 4 km across and today very very active, with massive blocks and towers of ice crashing into the water below causing the big O to roll around with the big waves. With all the batteries in the cameras needing to be recharged we headed slowly out the Liefdefjorden to explore a new anchorage, Hornbækpollen. A small encircled bay with a narrow entrance, about 20 m across and 9 m deep, once inside your totally surrounded, a really nice place; we’ll spend the night and explore tomorrow.”
8 Aug 2007 04:28 GMT
79°33.55’N, 011°02.39’E. Compass 090. Knots 0,0.
“After being away for so long, it takes a few days to adjust to the life on board again. (Luckily I had already gotten used to the cold by enjoying the typical Dutch summer back home.) Just like all holidays, the adventure begins when you leave the comfort of your own home and head out to the airport, check in your baggage and board the plane, say good-bye to mother earth and race through the clouds, on your way to a strange place at the top of the world.
On Monday night we left Longyearbyen for the second time this trip, but this time with everything and everybody on board and we made our way out the Isfjord. Through the night several attempts were made to set sails and finally, just before breakfast, the wind was a constant 3 à 4 Bft E-ly and we could sail the rest of the way to Poolepynten. The anker fell and the rubber boats put out to look for our big toothed friends, which we found hanging around in the water, just off the beach. The rest of the day was spent traveling to the north, as we made our way through the small shallow passage in the middle of the Forelands Sundet and onto the Krossfjord and finally anchoring in Signehamna later that night. This was our first chance to see the big chunks of floating ice from the glaciers. Everyone could see a different kind of animal in the many different forms that appear from the ice. We could not resist to launch a boat and bring back a ‘souvenir’ to put in the whiskey, a bit bigger than expected but we man-handled it aboard and proceeded to create an ice sculpture.
The following morning included a short hike ashore followed by a photo session by the Lilliehook glacier with the ‘Oosterschelde’ in front of the wall of ice and the rubber boats cruising around between the blocks of ice and the seals, and many types of birds.
Further to the north and one day more, we are now anchored in Trinityhamna in the Magdelenefjord and the guests are ashore at one of the few places that you can actually walk up to the glacier on the ‘beach’ with out getting squashed by the falling blocks of ice. The weather has changed and for the first time this trip there is mist, so maybe the plans for the afternoon will have to be changed.”
5 Aug 2007 21:48 GMT
78°13.96’N, 015°35.11’E. Compass 006. Knots 0,0.
Our guests from voyage #2 left us very early Saturday morning and the same evening our new guests arrived. That is, most of them at least. Four got delayed and at this moment, Sunday evening, we are back at anchor by Longyearbyen awaiting their arrival. We will also pick up the lost luggage of three of our newcomers and expect to be complete around one o’clock this night.
We haven’t let these minor disturbances keep us from starting the voyage though. Yesterday evening we left around the corner to the peaceful anchorage of Colesbukta to have a good night of rest on top of a long travelling day. After breakfast we set out on the first hike here and this afternoon we sailed through to Tryghamna for a hike under the impressive birdcliffs of Alkhornet.
Soon, when boarding is complete, we will heave anchor and sail through the night to our next destination of Poolepynten where we hope to find our lazy big teethed friends the walrusses.
2 Aug 2007 01:27 GMT
A few thoughts of the weather on Spitsbergen:
In our last news piece you heard about our trials to visit the Ytre Norskøya as in two rounds the fog kept us from landing there. But fog is not the only factor that can tease here. It is a remote place with very limited ship traffic and therefore not many weather services are available. This year so far we have received a total of five messages on our Navtex receiver which obviously is not much in three weeks time, but is still five more than all of last year here when we didn´t receive a single one.
And one thing is theory, another reality. Along the rugged mountainous coast deep fjords cut into the land and countless glaciers fill up the valleys before ending in sea and this all affects the coastal weather dramatically. At this point we have learned the following: whenever you round a corner you will have a change, but how it will change remains a mystery to us. Often there is a very sharp line in the water across the fjord signalling such a wind change, one side calm and the other with a fresh breeze. As this is being written we have gone from wind of 2 Bft to 6 and back to 2. Yesterday we had a lot of wind, trouble finding an adequate anchorage, a lot of work picking up our guests on the beach, and ten times we had to change our plans.
The ice is another variable. One journey an anchorage can be ice free the next it is filled up sometimes even making it impossible for us to enter. If you want to sail on Spitsbergen you have got to be flexible.
Now we look forward to a quiet night at anchor in Skansbukta. Weather permitting of course…
30 Jul 2007 09:36 GMT
78°58.21’N, 012°09.90’E. Compass 333. Knots 0,0.
Now anchored at Blomstrandhalføya. Lots of ice this time. Spitzbergen is full of surprises – one time it is full with ice, then there is none.
29 Jul 2007 23:06 GMT
79°17.40’N, 010°32.79’E. Compass 157. Knots 7,4.
We are on our way to Kongsfjorden.
The following piece was written by Bridget Wicinski, guests and former crewmember:
“A great many things have happened since last we shared news. Where should I begin… We left Lilliehookfjorden and headed north towards Ytre Norskøya (Outer Norwegian Island). One problem: our destination had been swallowed by a thick blanket of mist. Instead we circumnavigated Amsterdamøya to visit the old Dutch whaling station of Smeerenburg (Blubbertown), where whales were brought ashore nearly 400 years ago to harvest their precious blubber. The huge paw prints of the polar bears we found in the sand and mud reminded us how important it is for us to keep near the guides armed with their large caliber rifles. Ytre Norskøya emerged from the fog and once again we headed for its shores. As we approached, the weather gods decided it was not our day to visit – the fog engulfed our desired destination in a matter of minutes, making our planned hike up to the Zeeuwse Uitkijk, the old Dutch whalers’ lookout point, pointless. Flexible as we are (and have to be!), we changed course, this time towards Liefdefjorden (liefde = love). Many eyes were scanning the shores as the likelihood of spotting a polar bear in this area is quite high. Is that light patch along the shore one of the polar giants? No, just one more disappointing and deceitful rock, but we continued our search. Hey! Those rocks are furrier than the rest. Polar bears! As we throttled down to carefully approach them, lunch plates were abandoned below and everybody emerged armed with binoculars and cameras. One mama and two cubs curiously lifted their heads from their cosy nap, perhaps to catch sight of their first three-masted topsail schooner. Another lazy bear shared their enthusiasm, lifting her head for a photographic moment before resuming her fully-reclined position. It iss hard to believe these cute and furry animals, one of the largest bears in the world, are dangerous and ferocious hunters. As we sailed further into the fjord, Astrid stood iceberg watch on the bowsprit to avoid the large and uniquely-shaped remnants of the Monacobreen (Monaco Glacier). We bundled up even more as the temperature dropped several degrees near this beautiful 4.6km-wide glacier, which put on quite a thunderous show for us. So many of the icebergs take on animal forms as they slowly melt: a swan, a whale’s tale, an open-mouthed alligator – it’s like an Arctic Ice Safari! On our way out, one of these ‘icebergs’ crossed our bow doing the ‘doggy paddle’. Another polar bear! 🙂
The Bockfjorden revealed reddish, iron-rich mountains and mild volcanic activity. We also had a distant peak into the isolated life of one of the few remaining trapper huts as we visited Mushamna (Mouse Harbor). Saturday evening we left the Woodfjorden and headed north, WAY north, to the island of Moffen above 80 degrees north latitude. We celebrated this crossing with champagne, and diplomas from Neptune certified our accomplishment. We kept our safe distance from the protected shores of Moffen, but spotted several walruses both in the water and along the shore. Æolus, god of wind, blew a favorable northeasterly to us and we set sails. The midnight sun helped the next watch get out of bed at 2 am, the warm sun shining on our faces. Oh, and the skuas, puffins, black guillemots, and a minke whale also kept us in good company.
Our third attempt to visit Ytre Norskøya was looking grim as it was again blanketed in a fog, but as we dropped anchor, the sun burned the fog away and we were finally rewarded with a warm hike up to the Uitkijk (Lookout), a splendid view which would have many years ago been filled with the blows of the bowhead whale.
This place is truly amazing – I can’t wait to see what the next days will bring us.”
25 Jul 2007 21:23 GMT
79°39.56’N, 011°01.46’E. Compass 070. Knots 0,0.
On Monday morning our new guests came on board the ‘Oosterschelde’ awaiting at anchor in the Adventfjorden by Longyearbyen. After filling up the ship’s stores with fresh provisions we got ready to depart. Though we had a bit of a drizzle, low clouds and grey weather the wind was favourable. We hoisted the mainsail, heaved anchor and backed the staysail to fall off. Once at half wind we eased the staysail to port, set the topsail and as the sails filled we gently and without a sound sailed out of the fjord. We sailed through the night to reach our first destination: Poolepynten and its lazy and smelly inhabitants, the walruses. We saw one animal transform itself from and elegant and graceful swimmer to a clumsy pile of blubber as it made its way onto the beach, its heavy body obviously not made for life on land.
As the clouds lifted we made our way north into Lilliehookfjorden on a sea of glass. The beautiful evening sunshine illuminated the massive and impressive glacier at the end of the fjord. We manoeuvered through the chunks of glacier ice, then launched the dinghies to take a closer look of the ice and a few bearded seals resting upon it. We stopped the main engine and enjoyed the thunderous rumbling of the calving, and the crackling of the melting ice.
We dropped anchor on Tuesday evening in nearby Signehamna and enjoyed a whisky with pure and bubbley glacier ice to round up this spectacular evening in this spectacular place. Originally we had planned to drop anchor in the Magdalenefjorden, but we saw a huge Russian cruise ship there and some 300 people ashore, so we left again. It is a bit less quiet than last year.
From the shipping company (23 Jul 2007)
A chart of west West-Spitzbergen can be downloaded here.
Webcams in the area, that sometimes show the ‘Oosterschelde’, can be found here. Pick ‘Svalbard’ in the View region menu in the top bar.
Details of the stops that the ‘Oosterschelde’ makes can as usual be found on this site in the menu The Ship, sub-menu Log.
22 Jul 2007 12:59 GMT
The ‘Oosterschelde’ has arrived at Longyearbyen. Tonight our guests will fly back to the war south. The last couple of days we have spent in the Isfjorden, visiting Barentszburg, the bird cliffs at Alkhornet and that nice anchorage Skansbukta. We also had time to hoist all the sails and practise tacking. Tomorrow (MondaY) our new guests will arrive.
Passenger Susanne Duin wrote:
“Friday July 20 2007, arrival at Barentszburg, a name that many will know. It is a Russian village to the west of Longyearbyen, around a coal mine. The whole place is covered with the black dust, as were our mooring lines. It is a time travel to the end of the 19th century, with images of heavy industry. There are a hotel with a bar, a post office, a small orthodox church and a sports hall. In the sporthall we met some children and we played a bit of football with them. Untill a Russian lady came who made them stop; she didn’t even look at us. This is a world that we don’t know.
In the evening we sailed to another bay with snowcapped mountains around us, and we dropped anchor there, far away from this unknown world.”
After our visit in Bellsund we set the course North up along the coast and through the sound between the island Prins Karls Forland and the mainland of West-Spitzbergen. On our way we stopped at Poolepynten to make a hike and take a closer look at walrus group resting on the beach. We continued North and into the Lilliehookfjorden where late in the evening we let our anker go in Signehamna. The next mornings hike took us close to some impressive birdcliffs with thousands of nesting birds and along the remains of a second world war german meteorological station where you could still clearly read “Kriegsmarine” on the oildrums.
We motored close to the impressive Lilliehook glacier where we also reached this journey’s northernmost point of 79.200 2’N (at 011.380 0’E, and a mere 1186 km from the north pole). With a backstay wind straight out of the fjord all were kept busy setting sails and jibeing back and forth. We arrived in the evening in the northernmost town of the world, Ny Ålesund, once a coalmining town now a modern arctic research station with about 150 researchers from all over the world.
Two young passengers tell us about their adventures sofar.
“I like the Spitzbergen voyage very much because I already have seen so much and found so many things, and I made walks. I have also climbed the mast where I had a great view. And I saw a polar bear eating a dead whale.”
“Very special was that all of a sudden many whales appeared. From the mast I could see them very well; that was cool. The greatest was the polar bear eating a dead sperm whale at 150 meters from me.”
Their postscript: “Greetings to grandma.”
16 Jul 2007 13:30 GMT
77°37.10’N, 014°54.91’E. Compass 018. Knots 0,1.
On Saturday July 14 we had our first morning at Svalbard. The day started with celebrations: birthday of our guides (and twin brothers) Hans and Cor. Then we hoisted the anchor to explore the Hornsund. The mountain peaks wre covered by clouds. Weather is changing rapidly here. The first fjord was fee of ice, the second one so full of ice that we could not enter further than halfway. So, we used the dinghies to explore the rest. Anchoring was made impossible by sudden strong winds and we decided to move on. Once at open sea, the sky broke, the sun started shining and the wind completely disappeared. All preparations for hoisting the sails were halted, we all warmed ourselves with the sun and enjoyed the lush views. Our goal for the night was Fridtjovhamna. Early in the morning or night (what does one say, with the sun shining all the time) we dropped anchor in front of the Fridtjovbreen. Our first walk is in muddy territory and offers us a splendid view of the glacier and that tiny little ship in front of it. After lunch anchor is hoisted. In the exit 5 walrusses surface to inspect us.
After a night in the Recherchefjorden we set a course for Bourbonhamna, just ‘around the corner’ but a trip of two hours, Last year polar bears were feasting on a dead sperm whale here. We thought that would have gone by now and we prepared ourselves for a walk. But part of the carcass and blubber was still there and some polar bears as weel, so we had to skip our walk. 2 bears, and also a mother bears with 2 young. After some hours of watching them through our binoculars we decided to take the walk in the Van Keulenhamna. There a couple of representatives of the Sysselmann (Norway’s governor of Svalbard) came on board, for a mixed purpose of inspection oand curiosity.
Right now, we are anchored in the Van Keulenfjorden, ready to leave for Prins Karls Forland.
14 Jul 2007 00:56 GMT
77°00.98’N, 016°15.23’E. Compass 129. Knots 0,1.
Our 250 NM passage over the Barentsz Sea to Bjørnøya went well. This area of the sea holds the nickname “the devils dance floor” yet it treated us relatively gently. Halfway as the wind died out a nasty short and steep sea remained and with no pressure in the sails the ship was rolling back and forth as we continued under engine.
A dense mist covered Bjørnøya as we approached and with a mere 0,5 NM to go there was still no sign of the tall steep cliffs rising up to 440 meters straight out of sea. 1000s of birds nest on these cliffs and we actually smelled the island before we saw it. Sailing a little closer we first saw the huge breakers on the shore and shortly afterwards the towering cliffs faintly through the mist. It was a very spectacular and sort of mysterious impression. We made our way up along the west coast and dropped anchor in a bay to get a closer look at this remote place. After a good hike, and for some a welcome feeling of solid ground under their feet, we heaved anchor and set course for Spitzbergen, just another 150 NM to go. The wind picked up from the NE and soon the ‘Oosterschelde’ was under full sail enjoying speeds of up to 9,5 knots in a smooth sea. It was clear we had arrived to the arctic as the temperature dropped to a mere zero degrees celsius – just two days earlier in Tromsø we had 25 degrees.
All eyes were on the sea as these waters are a feeding ground for whales. The mist would sometimes cover us and limit our view soon to lift again, this way coming and going. We were still enjoying beautiful sailing as we approached Spitzbergen but besides a few visits from white-beaked dolphins no whales had been sighted. From a amazing 45 miles we could already see the white shine from the glacier covered south tip of Spitzbergen and here our whale show began. In the distance the distinctive “straight up” powerfull blow from a Fin whale was spotted in the distance and soon we counted eight whales all around us. The deck came alive with people and the “whale dance” of running from one side to the other and from the stern to the bow began to get the best view of the show. As we sailed through one group the next would soon turn up and so it continued the hole day. We also saw three Humpback whales and at least one Minky whale to add to the carefully estimated 30 Fin whales. It’s not everyday you see three species of whales in one day!
Close to our destination, the southernmost fjord of Hornsund, the wind died out and we steamed the last few miles. We arrived at our anchorage late in the evening where we will enjoy a beautiful quiet night before exploring the surroundings tomorrow.
10 Jul 2007 21:00 GMT
Once again we have cast off our mooring lines and have started our next journey. Our guests arrived late last night and after a good night of rest we left Tromsø this morning, and made our way out through the fjords to open sea. We sailed very close past the island Fugloy (Bird Island) which fully lived up to it’s name – thousands of puffins, black guillemots etc. could be seen as well as not less than 6 majestic white-tailed eagles.
Now we are at open sea with 230 miles to go to Bjørnøya (Bear Island), about 340 to the south tip of Spitsbergen, where we, weather allowing, will make a stop. We are having a bit of a drizzle and a somewhat choppy sea but are making good progress with sails ‘full and by’ in the easterly winds.
And so this years Spitzbergen program has started. We will make a total of six trips on this spectacular island group before returning to Rotterdam in early October.
9 Jul 2007 15:00 GMT
After a short visit to Svolvær in the morning of Thursday July 5, we continued to the Trollfjord. The narrow entrance can hardly be seen when arriving. Slowly we were able to see inside. We were impressed. On the left and on the right steep cliffs. Slowly we drifted in, the engine shut down. A cruise ship disturbed our peace; they would like us to go in with a speed of 9 knots, because they could not pass us. Calmly we went on to the end of the fjord and waited till they left again. They came in at considerable speed and left in the same hurry. In the evening we anchored in the neighbourhood, at a beautiful place. We make a campfire on a pebble beach, and we have drinks and we sing: our guest Theo (almost a crew member) has his birthday and we celebrate. From the Netherlands we receive messages that tell of the bad weather over there. We have t-shirt weather continuously, and the sun shines 24/7. The locals tell us that this sunny weather is exceptional. Only that NE-ly is not what we would like. We sail on to Tromsø, where we arrive Saturday afternoon. 1340 beautiful nautical miles, and we all enjoyed it. Our last dinner gets a Norwegian touch from our cook Joost, we have some speeches, and then we drink and laugh until late in the night. In the morning we say goodbye to most of the guests, some will join us on the next leg, to Svalbard.
4 Jul 2007 23:31 GMT
67°42.55’N, 013°14.64’E. Compass 044. Knots 6,1.
Passenger Theo writes:
“Passing the Polar circle. Lofoten, here we come. After visiting the mondain city of Bergen, we headed for the Lofoten archipelago. Quiet sailing. reading books, painting the wooden boat, repairing the main sail. Master Maarten made preparations for our visit of the Lofoten, studying charts, pilots and leaflets. During the night we passed a huge Shell gas platform called the ‘Draugen’. Our best estimates indicated a height of 104.5 meters. Many of us made pictures, using the ample amount of light at this latitude. On starboard we saw the snowcapped mountains of the Norwegian mainland. During this night we saw two whales, for the first time. After some consultation of guide books, we decided on Pilot whale and Sei whale. In the meantime the ‘Oosterschelde’ raced towards the Polar circle. First, at midnight, we celebrated Johan’s birthday with a song and a drink. Then everyone came on deck for the count down to 66 degrees and 30 minutes North. Champagne was served and the sound of the glasses could still be heard hours later. Arriving at the Lofoten was easy. We entered the little harbour of Værøy in the west, the conditions being almost Caribbean. The local policeman and the mayor/harbour master visited us and they were surprised; it had been years ago that such a tall sailing ship visited Værøy. The village is nice, a shop, a church, a pub, stockfish, a radiostation at a height of 400 meters (pff), bike rental, beautiful views of the Lofoten and the mainland. During the afternoon we spotted a white-tailed eagle. At 19:30 we had a lovely dinner with lamb, and for dessert a cake made by Annemarie. Now we are leaving. I greet all of you. Ship and crew are well.”
Master Maarten adds to this: We are sailing towards Svolvær right now, the main village of the Lofoten. We left on sail and tacked until 01:00, with a lovely sun. Weather is calm. We expect to arrive in the morning.
2 Jul 2007 19:23 GMT
63°53.56’N, 007°10.91’E. Compass 030. Knots 7,2.
Today’s start was breathtaking with the full moon behind us and a great sunrise in front, almost in the north. Although the difference between night and day is diminishing rapidly. The wind, that was against us yesterday, became less and less, and around noon we were presented with a nice SW-ly breeze. All sails set, even the huge square foresail. We were able to go on like that untill around 7 pm. Now the wind is gone and we go by engine. It is the longest leg of this voyage. We expect to arrive at the Lofoten somewhere on Wednesday afternoon. It will be the pinnacle. After that we have a lot of time left for the final leg to Tromsø.
1 Jul 2007 06:44 GMT
61°04.96’N, 004°20.78’E. Compass 359. Knots 7,6.
Thursday evening things calmed and we left the next morning. Getting out was much easier then getting in. We even had sunshine. Next: Bergen. During the day the rain came, lots of it. Wind and currents were favourable though so we raced north. We entered the Korsfjorden on Saturday morning at 05:40 and we enter Bergen at 10:00, using the ‘Staatsrat Lehmkuhl”s berth. A warm and sunny day. We visit the old town and buy some souvenirs. After dinner (fish, and on deck) we leave under sail and slowly we go through several fjords, sometimes the passage is quite narrow. Our guests Wim and Willy are fishing from the poop and catch mackerel. Now we are at open sea again. The distances we have to cover are huge. Almost no wind now and we go by engine. The weather is great and we do some painting before it will not be possible anymore because of the cold. The next stop, the Lofoten group, is some 500 NM to go.
28 Jun 2007 09:54 GMT
58°02.88’N, 007°14.97’E. Compass 028. Knots 0,1.
During dinner we also celebrated Boudewijn’s birthday. And we decided to leave. We already knew that wind direction and force was not favourable, but in a quiet harbour it is difficult to imagine the state of the sea outside. Although the wind was NW, there was a high sea and our progress ws minimal. When we hoisted the mainsail it tore, making it unusable. We went back into the fjords and went looking for a quiet anchoring spot. We are at Lonestranda, a small bay with a little village. The dinghy has brought most of us ashore for a hike, and on deck the mainsail is repaired. Sun shining, very quiet, clouds are racing above.
27 Jun 2007 08:38 GMT
58°01.66’N, 007°27.45’E. Compass 090. Knots 0,0.
This morning at 06:15 we moored the ‘Oosterschelde’ in Mandal, the most southern town of Norway. Today we will explore its surroundings. We will stay till after dinner and depending on the weather forecast we will stay or leave.
26 Jun 2007 21:12 GMT
57°52.09’N, 008°31.63’E. Compass 280. Knots 7,6.
This morning, around 09:00 we rounded Cape Skagen, the most northerly tip of Denmark. We entered the Skagerrak. Many shifts in wind direction and speed and lots of water on deck. Sometimes we sail, sometimes we motor. We are in the center of a low pressure area and there are stormy winds all around us, so we are relativley comfortable here. Our first goal is Mandal, already close-by, we expect to enter Mandal’s harbour around midnight., and then we’ll see how the storm area is moving.
25 Jun 2007 09:44 GMT
55°24.00’N, 011°01.29’E. Compass 338. Knots 4,9.
This year’s 10 day regatta festival Kieler Woche, one of the biggest in the world, is over. A fantastic time we had here, every day setting sails in the Kieler Forde. Hundreds of big sailing ships come here every year and that is how we come to meet some colleagues that we normally don’t meet. A bit of rain, but mainly nice weather, and even some nice winds. We sailed every day, and most of the time we also sailed in the evening, always with a lot of people on board. The cooperation with Edelhoff is excellent; this firm has been hiring the ‘Oosterschelde’ for years now during this festival.
And now for something completely different. Last night our guests embarked and we left for the voyage to Tromsø, along the Norwegian coast. We left around 22:00, while Kiel had the closing evening of the festival. We could not immediately get out because of the fireworks, but that was no problem since tat was huge and impressive. What a way to start this voyage. Next we had to make our way out, in the dark and with hundreds oif little boats all around us. This morning there was a light SE and we sail north. Less than an hour ago we sailed under the huge Støre Belt bridge. Norway, here we come.
15 Jun 2007 16:13 GMT
54°19.26’N, 010°08.58’E. Compass 090. Knots 0,0.
“We sailed through the night with a light breeze and full sails, crossing the traffic lanes and headed towards Helgoland. Just after 02:00 in the morning we moored up in the outer harbour and enjoyed the customary arrival beer, telling stories over the previous days and the things that went on during the watches, a good end to this half of the trip. After breakfast the next day, everybody went ashore to explore the island and returned for an early lunch and short there after, we prepared for the last race across the North Sea, and along the Elbe to the Nord-Ostsee Kanal (Max says that we are not allowed to call it the Kieler Kanal anymore so….). The wind had now increased to a Wly 4-5 Bft so too were the waves, with a good backstay wind we left the harbour and raced across the waves to the entrance of the Elbe, the sun was out in full glory and the tide with us. The wind slowly disappeared as we weaved along the river, and with a setting sun the motor sprang to life as we headed to past Cuxhaven and onto Brünsbüttel (the locks for the Kanal). Around 24:00 we entered the locks and continued through the night along the canal. About 100 km further at around 08:00 the next day we were through to the other side, the Kieler Fjörden, our playground for the next 10 days. The wind was good and all sails were set as we made several fun tacks on the way out the fjord. We decided to stay in Kiel for the last night as the weather for the next day was not so nice and it would be an early start for everybody heading home. It turned out to be the right choice as the next morning the heavens opened up, at least we won’t have to wash the dek, it’s already been done for us. The guests all left around 10:00, with wet feet but happy memories they made their way to the station, and at the end of another successful trip it’s always interesting to see that a group of individuals who come onboard and, after a few days at sea, they always leave as a ‘finally tuned sailing machine’, ok, ok, a bit over the top, but they do form a team by the end of the trip, that’s a good part of this job.
“There is no rest for the wicked”, so they say, the last guests just left and the ship has been transformed into a three-masted topsail daytrip expert, the Kieler Woche has began (strange, because I thought the a week had 7 days, but apparently here in Kiel a week is 10 days….. busy busy busy). The galley is empty, the bar as well, cabins have been changed into stores and the saloon, with buffet tables along one side and the rearranging of the other tables, the catering has loaded up with beer and food, coffee, glasses, plates, knives and forks……etc, and then we are ready for the next week (or 10 days) of daytrips in and around Kiel. It will be a busy time but it is always fun to take part in such a big festival with so many other ships. As I type, the lines have just been let go and we are on our way for the first of our trips, hopefully the weather will also play along and we can enjoy a great week….”
13 Jun 2007 11:34 GMT
54°10.46’N, 007°53.61’E. Compass 090. Knots 0,0.
After great sailing wind the wind from behind, we were able to go to Helgoland, where we arrived at 02:15. The weather has improved more and more, the sun has come through and the wind is a WSW 5 Bft. During the morning we have the opportunity to visit this weird rock in the North Sea. Departure is right after lunch. Some serious sailing ahead, the busy Elbe river always is an adventure. We hope to reach the entrance of the Nord-Ostsee Kanal at Brünsbüttel late in the evening or in the beginning of the night.
13 Jun 2007 08:55 GMT
“Going north. We are now on our way to the races in Kiel and then to the frozen north where we will spend the rest of the summer between the icebergs and the polar bears. It is strange to talk about summer and ice in the same sentence but you can imagine that if that is the summer the winters must be pretty amazing.
With the end of the last day trip in Rotterdam we were amused to see the quay in the Veerhaven full of provisions for the next few months at sea. Three pallets full of soft drink and beer, that’s about 250 trays, or around 6,000 cans (hopefully enough). We loaded everything aboard and set of for Scheveningen and Vlaggetjesdag.
The next 4 days were spent zigging and zagging along the coast just in front of the beach, sometimes in the sun and sometimes in the mist, generally your typical Dutch summer weather. (“If you don’t like the weather then just wait 5 minutes and see what happens”.)
Most of the day trips that we do are for larger groups, from compagnies with clients or personnel or for weddings, birthdays, almost anything, but in Scheveningen, individuals had the chance to come along for the day and enjoy the nautical adventure. For 2 days we opened the ship for people who came along for the first time to see what it is like on such a large sailing ship, or for a proof run for a future longer trip, to the regulars that you see every year, sometimes several times through the season. They all had one thing in common…. lots of enthousiasm for the ship, they needed to because we set all the sails.
It was nice to catch up with people and to hear that somebody actually reads all the things you write for the news, and yes, all the stories are true…. never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
We are now on our way to Kiel, the wind is not really playing along but hopefully it will swing around to the W and then to the SW so it should be easy sailing, possibly to Helgoland. The whole night we had a dense fog with the visibility down to around 200 meters, but this morning the sun is doing its best to try and push through and it should be a nice day, good winds, good food and a good atmosphere aboard.”
On Saturday old Oosterschelde acquaintances Mr. and Mrs. Vink made a daytrip with us, to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with their family and friends. In the evening the next group of guests came on board, to celebrate the birthday of another Oosterschelde regular, Mr. Loman. In the evening we set sail and we reached the sea against the sunset. The next morning we picked up a last guest at Flushing and we set a course for Oostende, where we arrived late in the afternoon. In the evening we left for the trip home. In the morning there was enough wind to set sails, but after a couple of hours the wind dropped. With the many youngsters on board we made a lot of dinghy trips around the ship. At the end of this Monday afternoon we arrived back in Rotterdam, to enjoy a lovely Indonesian dinner made by our cook Jan.
Today we made another of these nice New Horizon Cruises daytrips. And in the meantime we are preparing for the trips to the Baltic and to Spitzbergen.
30 May 2007 08:45 GMT
51°54.41’N, 004°28.72’E. Compass 090. Knots 0,0.
“The trip home began around 19:30 as we left the harbour of Boulogne-sur-Mer and made our way out to sea, the weather was not really going to help us much as we made our way to the north. Our passengers had the night to get used to the motion of the ship as we passed through the Straights of Dover and crossed over to the English side. The choice was simple: the French side or the English side. We choose the latter as the wind was going to stay in the N/NWly and from out Ipswich this would give us a good starting point for the crossing to Rotterdam.
As we made our way from off sea up the River Orwell and on to the typical English town of Ipswich, we were greeted with the English summer, (how do you know when its summer in England ?…..The rain is warm). We spent the night alongside and took the opportunity to explore the night life in town and find the typical English pub with its bad lighting, sticky carpets, giant pints of warm beer with no bubbles and full to the very top of the glass…….mission accomplished!
The next day was divided between a trip to the famous Pinmill pub or a lazy day walking around town and enjoying a good book on board. Later that night we had an early dinner as we made our way along the river before we reached the open sea. This gave us enough time to put in a few reefs and check that everything was vast for the last bumpy ride across the North Sea to Rotterdam. Outside was waiting a strong NWly wind around 6-7 Bft to ensure a quick trip. With the speed around 8-9 knts we reached the ‘paddos’ at the entrance around 12:00 and continued to sail along the Maas until almost the Veerhaven with the wind and tide with us, the end of another Whitsuntide trip….. a trip on the big O is always an adventure.
We are now busy with getting the ship ready for the rest of the summer season as these are the last few days in Rotterdam before we set our sights to the north, first some day trips in Scheveningen and then off to Kiel and following that, Spitzbergen…..ice, snow, sun, whales, walrus and hopefully lots of polar bear.”
26 May 2007 09:03 GMT
50°43.40’N, 001°35.74’E. Compass 023. Knots 0,0.
At this moment the ‘Oosterschelde’ is moored up in the Napoleon Dock in Boulogne-sur-Mer. We arrived early yesterday morning well ahead of schedule. After our stop at Alderney we experienced the English Channel from a completely different side than on our outward passage: very light winds and the sea so smooth as a mirror. We enjoyed the calm, the good progress and the beautiful sunshine and also found time to launch the dinghy loaded with the cook, a deckhand and one of our French guests. For the international currency of Scotch whisky we got a whole bucket of crabs from a nearby fishing vessel. Our cook Joost, with the help of our guests, transformed them into an delicious evening appetizer.
At this moment our guests have just departed and we are busy cleaning the ship and preparing for our next trip. This next journey will take us back to our home port of Rotterdam with a stopover in England (wind allowing).
24 May 2007 09:49 GMT
49°50.37’N, 001°49.43’W. Compass 073. Knots 6,4.
Former captain Eliane joined us on this voyage:
“At Île aux Moines the ‘Oosterschelde’ was waiting for me and a French group of ‘friends of the Tall Ships’ to sail along to Boulogne-sur-Mer. Early morning the pilot came on board to guide us out through theis maze of islands and a fierce current. With a Nly of 3 Bft we sailed into the night, a good opportunity for all to get to know the ship and the others. Later during the night the wind subsided and what was left was against us, so we started the engine and rounded Ouessant. After that we could sail again and we went to Alderney. The next day brought us a clear, sunny sky. Gradually the rest of the wind went away, and we used to engine for the last part to the island of Alderdey. We achored in the middle of the bay and most of us went for a walk, sat on a terrace, ate icecream and wrote some postcards, amidst the smell of spring. When we arrived back on board, dinner was waiting for us, opening with oysters and white wine.
The next morning we hoisted anchor, again a blue sky. On the way out we got a pan full of king crabs from a French fisherman.
It was very nice for me to see the ship again and to see how much work was done this winter. She still looks very fine and the crew still is highly motivated. I will surely join again.”
22 May 2007 16:03 GMT
47°32.23’N, 003°53.22’W. Compass 268. Knots 1,9.
“Our week in Golfe du Morbihan went by very quickly. It was the typical sail festival program; with each day, trips out into the baie de Quiberon and then returning back to the mooring in the afternoon for an evening of cocktail parties…. THAT, was the only thing standard or normal about the time we spent here.
The festival has only been running for the last few years and specialises in mostly small traditional boats from around the area. When you say small boats you think that its not that impressive but….. when you put over 1000 !!!!! in this maze of islands and channels, and then add around 7 Knots of current, several hundred rowing boats and kayaks, the thousands of spectator motor boats, around 80 police boats and in between all this the ferry boats that cross straight through from one side to the other, and in the middle of all this one large black and white, three mast top sail schooner and several other large ships, then you’ve really got a festival, and i didn’t even mention all the plastic yachts that also came along to have a look.
The people her are really crazy about anything that floats and especially something with a sail on it; I saw a two masted Optimist (a type of small boat for small kids) with 2 jibs a main and a mizzen with 4 rather large french gentlemen squeezed into it, on the other side of the coin I also saw a massive racing catermaran fly past us out in the bay.
Saturday was a very busy day out on the bay we came in with the sail parade for the final time. In our designated group for the parade there was around 400 boats (not including the spectator fleet). We ziged and zagged through the fleet and arrived at the mooring and prepared the ship for the special evening program. In all the years of sailing on boord I have seen many strange and wonderful things, but for the first time in a long time I was amazed at what was now taking place….
We had spoken with the performers earlier in the week and had made a plan, from the end of the course yard arm, if that’s to technical then I’ll call it “the big wooden beam high up in the schooner mast that goes across the ship”, anyway, we had suspended up and out over the water (around 10 meters high), a trapeze. From this there was hanging two people wrapped in a long red curtain like material swinging and turning doing different holds and catches in the air, amazing !!!. Meanwhile on the back dek, one man played the gutair whilst the other balanced a woman on his head and played the double base at the same time!!!. It really did happen…… a fantastic way to end a fantastic week, we all would like to come back and spent some more time here, the people were very friendly and the scenery breath taking.
The new guests arrived just before dinner on Sunday night and all were eager to explore the ship and hear the plan for the next few days at sea, finally in for our last night at the mooring in the golfe.
This morning we left around 09.00 and were once again dragged out to sea with the ever present tidal currents, across the bay, and out through the reef and onto the open sea. Sails were set and we cruised further in a northerly direction, along the coast. This is the beginning of our next adventure at sea with this ‘fine old lady’.”
15 May 2007 08:55 GMT
47°36.29’N, 002°51.09’W. Compass 045. Knots 0,1.
Sunday afternoon we tied up to a mooring buoy at our final destination inside the Golfe de Morbihan and so officially completed our somewhat harsh journey from Oostende. This about 590 NM long passage from the North Sea through Dover Strait and the English Channel and out into the Bay of Biscay took a total of six and a half days and thus averaging a mere 3,6 knots of speed. Though quite spectacular in its own way we are happy that journeys with so unfavourable wind conditions are few and far between. This old lady from Rotterdam once again proved herself though and confirmed a saying on board: “f you take good care of her, she will take good care of you.”
This journey stayed true to its nature to the end: two of our guests got the last bit of adventure as they departed via the dinghy in the choppy sea from just outside the Golfe de Morbihan to be in time for their flight home. In between we picked up a pilot to make use of his special knowledge and with up to 7 knots of current we raced through this labyrinth of over 350 islands, shoals and numerous channels. Absolutely spectacular. After arrival we gathered on deck for a glass of well deserved champagne to celebrate that we had made it in time. The weather gods were seemingly not quite ready with us and before anyone could even propose a toast a heavy wind squall knocked over half the glasses and heavy rain washed the remnants from the deck. A tactical withdrawal to the cosy saloon was the best option.
The rain and wind continued all night and didn’t subside until the early morning. A ray of sun made it through as our last guests got ready to depart in the rubber boat, the motor was started and at the same time of course, to the amusement of us all, the heavens open up for a final wet goodbye.
Here in Golf de Morbihan we are taking part of a large sailing festival including several hundred boats and ships and are at this moment expecting our first guests. In the coming days we have a busy schedule of day trips and evening arrangements and as the largest sailing vessel here we will proudly lead the parade of sails on Saturday.
From the shipping company (13 May 2007)
We had a difficult voyage this week. With all the strong headwinds that we faced it was very hard to get out of the Northsea and to make some progress in the English Channel. When we finally reached Ushant and altered our course to the south, a southerly gale was forecasted. Luckily that wind didn’t come yet and we had a fast crossing of Biscay to the Gulfe of Morbihan. We dropped anchor at 08:30 this morning and we wait for the tide at 15:00 before we enter the gulf.
12 May 2007 11:38 GMT
48°23.83’N, 005°11.71’W. Compass 180. Knots 4,7.
Passenger Wim Brok writes:
“We boarded on Saturday at 13:00. We left Oostende on Sunday, to go to Vannes in France. Now we are west of the island Île d’Ouessant. Immediately after departure we saw unfavourable weather reports coming in. A watch system has been established: 6 hours on, 6 hours off. In the first week we have experienced almost all that is to be experienced on a three-master, except nice sailing! Handling the helm, tacking, navigating, sleeping, and taking in the multitude of impressions. When handling the wheel in 7-8 Bft, wind against, just a reefed main sail and the engine helping along, that is an experience never to forget. It is a memorable and beautiful week for us, passengers. The crew is always calm and steady, and they have it all under control. My conclusion after a wild but great week on board of the ‘Oosterschelde’: do it, it’s worth the effort.”
10 May 2007 03:45 GMT
49°56.37’N, 001°10.74’W. Compass 293. Knots 2,3.
“Hard Miles…. It is around about 5 in the morning, I don’t know what day, for that you have to check in the log book, some things are not so important at sea, but as you look out over the port side you see the light house of Barfleur. Its been in the same position for some time now…why, I hear you ask… we are fighting against around 3 knots of tide and an increasing SW wind and waves, so that our speed is around 0.5 knots. This is what we call hard miles…. We have made reasonable progress since passing Calais and heading down along the coast and have just crossed over the Baie de Seine, with Cherbourg now about 25 NM to the SW. The tide will soon turn and what was against us will soon be with us, that is at least something positive to think about because the weather report was not so good: SW 8 Bft with gusts, sounds like fun. This may scare some normal people, but not us, oh no, we have now become experts in big winds and seas against us, as this is all we have been getting, so much so that everyone is now at home with the motion of the ship: rolling, stamping, crashing, bashing, picking, hacking, heaving, ramming, lurching, and just generally moving around in an uncomfortable and awkward kind of way. All things considered life on board just goes on and we take it one watch at a time, and all are glad the we are not still tacking backwards between the sand banks, those were really hard miles. Out here we have at least some room to manoeuver what ever comes our way.”
8 May 2007 10:02 GMT
50°31.90’N, 001°20.55’E. Compass 197. Knots 6,6.
Since our last news we have visited three countries, said goodbye to one group, welcomed another and have started our next journey. Never a dull moment on the ‘Oosterschelde’.
Last Friday we arrived at Ipswich, England, way up the river Orwell. We sailed past the large industrial harbour of Felixstowe further up the river in the narrow winding channel and we were soon surrounded by beautiful hilly forested landscape. The evening brought a visit to the pub and a good night of rest, well deserved after our fast – and perhaps for some rolling – crossing. Saturday morning we set sails towards the Dover Strait and had smooth sailing with the still NWly winds. Due to our different courses our guests were kept busy most day changing the sails combination to suit our course. In the early night we crossed the Dover Strait and moored up in the port of Calais, France for a good night of sleep.
Sunday brought the third country in three days as we made our way through the sandbanks along the coast to the harbour of Oostende, Belgium, where our guests departed in the evening, properly tired but also full of impressions.
That same evening our new guests for the delivery journey to Vannes arrived and shortly afterwards we departed. The very stable high pressure system over northern Europe and the NWly winds that came with it, had unfortunately finally changed – we are now facing a rather strong SW flow for the coming days, surprisingly enough exactly the direction we want to go. Our first day brought winds at times up till 8 Bft and very little progress. One watch made 11 miles good in six hours – the following with the tide against sailed six miles backwards in six hours. (Not much fun at the time but it will make a great story later!)
At this moment we are making the best of the currently lighter winds and are enjoying some good progress. We have just passed the narrow part of the Dover Strait and are making our way ahead under the French coast.
4 May 2007 11:00 GMT
52°04.19’N, 001°46.77’E. Compass 264. Knots 8,0.
In Chatham we visited the maritime museum and we were taken back to the year 1897 in the impressive ropery and under water in a real submarine (the conditions on the ‘Oosterschelde’ are not so shabby after all). In the evening the Queen’s birthday was celebrated in style with orange decoration and this days hip dance style ‘jump’, the crew watching rather confused at these athletic movements (and feeling old).
The very stable high pressure system over northern Europe ensuring us smooth sailing to Chatham was working a bit against us on our return journey. We motored out of the river Medway into, and out of, the Thames, and during the night we headed to the north so that the following day we could make the crossing in style, under sail. Everybody helped set sails and steer the ship, and quite a few went aloft for a bit of a birds view of the ship.
On Wednesday morning the ‘Oosterschelde’ arrived back at her berth in the Veerhaven marking the end of this years Flexus journey. The days flew by – hopefully we will share more next year.
At this moment the ‘Oosterschelde’ is on the go again, heading back towards England with a group from the Belgium amusement park Plopsaland. We are again enjoying the northerly winds from the earlier mentioned high pressure system and sailing in a force 5-6 Bft making great headway. We expect to arrive at Ipswich on the river Orwell some time this evening for a quick stop, maybe a cold pint and then a good night of rest.
29 Apr 2007 04:43 GMT
51°23.54’N, 000°31.42’E. Compass 090. Knots 0,0.
The ‘Oosterschelde’ has been in Rotterdam for the last week, almost her last chance to put the final finishing touches to the winter refit project. You have to realise that a schip is never really finished, so that every spare moment we have, we are making the ‘last final touches’.
The Flexus group came on board around 19:00 on Friday, a total of 16 kids and 3 counselors, the energy and excitement from the group was overwhelming. This is the third time we have done such a project with Flexus, so the expectations are high after the success of the last trips and many of the organisational details are almost automatic.
We left almost right away, with a large group of family and friends on the quay to let go the lines and wave fanatically as we set off for England. The weather report was very good, with a NEly around 3-4 Bft, a good direction to cross the North Sea. Along the Nieuwe Maas and out to sea, the questions from our new and overly excited guests were almost as quick as the tide that sucked us out to sea, however this soon changed as we passed between the ‘paddos’, the lights at the mouth, and bumped and bounced our way further. The sails were set with an ever decreasing number of helpers, due to almost everybody becoming sea sick, so we settled in for a peaceful night at sea. The sun came up and so to the spirits of our passengers, with a good nights rest and the energy levels back to maximum, the calm of the night was gone. More sails were hoisted with the new found energy and almost all eyes were focused on the horizon for the first sight of land, after such a long time at sea (ha ha ha). We entered the mouth of the River Thames around 15:00 and proceeded on towards the River Medway, and on to the museum at the Historic Dockyard Chatham. We sailed almost the length of the river, but with the setting sun and the wind also decreasing the sails were packed away and at 22:30 we dropped anchor and took a mooring buoy astern, as there is not enough room to turn on the anchor when the tide changes.
The program for the day is a visit to the Dockyard….. more news later.
From the shipping company (22 Apr 2007)
Thursday evening, around 22:00, the ‘Oosterschelde’ arrived in the Veerhaven. The circumstances during the last part of the voyage had been quite good, so the ship was one day ahead of the schedule. Next week we’ll have a few days for some extra maintanance before the ‘Oosterschelde’ has to sail again. These days will be the last ‘free days’ untill half October.
12 Apr 2007 12:00 GMT
44°55.65’N, 010°35.48’E. Compass 059. Knots 6.
Jan ten Dam continues:
“On Wednesday morning we reached Cabo Finisterre and entered the Gulf of Biscay. We sail by motor plus some sails. The seastate is rough, but there is not so much wind. This makes steering difficult. Especially because you need your concentration to keep yourself standing up as well. Around noon we decide to stop the engine and try it with our sails only. As the wind is Northeast, this means tacking up. Everytime we tack, the manoeuvre goes better and all hands on board help. Even the cook is at the helm for a while. The chart shows that we make very little progress though, so when the wind decreases, we start the engine again.”
From the shipping company (5 Apr 2007)
The first days at sea we enjoyed fair winds and good weather. After passing Mallorca and Ibiza the wind turned against us and we decided to make a stop in Torrevieja. We left yesterday evening and last night was a busy one due to the many wind shifts. Both in direction as in strength. At this moment we have a back-stay wind and we are sailing 6 knots towards Cabo de Gata.
1 Apr 2007 17:00 GMT
41°54.00’N, 05°11.77’E. Compass 211. Knots 9.
Our guests arrived in the pooring rain in Cannes. That must have been a surprise for them. We decided to leave after a light meal. One of the anchors was stuck behind another anchor chain. We needed the assistance of a diver to clear it, but soon after that we set sail. We have a nice wind at this moment and we are making 9 knots towards the Balearic Islands.
From the shipping company (30 Mar 2007)
Since Wednesday the ‘Oosterschelde’ is back in the port of Cannes. Stern-to moored between two big motoryachts we received some local agents and brokers yesterday and today. Also the crew has been changed. Martin, Sabine, Jules and Anthony will enjoy some well-deserved free time and Jaap, Sep, Dana, Astrid and Joost took over. The crew is complete now and tomorrow we expect our guests for the trip back to Rotterdam. We will probably leave this Sunday.
21 Mar 2007 19:18 GMT
43°32.86’N, 007°00.95’E. Compass 013. Knots 0,0.
More from Anthony:
“Big boats and big boys…….
On Friday the MIPIM festival was finished and within a few hours the stand builders began to move in and demolish the small city of tents and buildings that were especially set up for the event, I’ve never seen so much rubbish before. All the temporary carpets (these cover the beautiful wooden decks of all the ships) were thrown onto the streets, together with thousands of leaflets from all the different companies that were represented here. But just as quickly as the mess was made, the next day it was all cleaned up and you could not imagine what it was like before. Our guests from ING also left on Friday and seemed very satisfied with the way everything went aboard during the event. The biggest compliment was for the ship, everyone thought that it was great that this Dutch company had charted a Dutch sailing ship, and that it was so ‘down to earth’ when compared to all the rest of the ships. Altogether a great success.
We decided to stay in the harbour for a few more days and continue with maintenance on board. Because of the nice weather we decided to put the boat overboard so we could have a bit of fun in and around the harbour. To our amazement we received a standing ovation from other boats as we sailed through the marina, even the man in the ships’ chandlery remembered us from “that small wooden boat” he said, apparently we are now quite famous. We are of course very busy with other things, but it’s just nice to mention that we were sailing with the sun setting and the temperature was around the 20 C, while everyone is at home in the rain and even in the snow (sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad). We will be leaving the harbour tomorrow and going for anchor, possible back to the same place at Théoule-sur-Mer, and stay there for around a week depending on the weather of course, and then come back to Cannes. All is good and well on board and we are still enjoying the soft weather.”
14 Mar 2007 10:51 GMT
43°32.86’N, 007°00.95’E. Compass 090.
“Let the games begin….
Our ING guests arrived on Monday night and made the last preparations for the next few days. The ING group has around 140 people from all over the world attending this conference, however we have only 7 that are sleeping onboard, so the atmosphere is very relaxed.
The ‘Oosterschelde’ has been given a multi-functional task for the next few days, switching from hotel, to cantine, to office, to cocktail bar, to restaurant and at the end of the day back to hotel. The business life is very fast paced, so we have to change quickly and quietly into each different roll. The kotje has been converted into the office, with fax, computers, telephones, scanners, everything that is necessary for the day-to-day things in a normal business world.
The smallest things are the strangest, to us the kotje was a place for navigation and the daily running of the ship, with all the normal sounds and smells of a ship at sea. The crackle of the radios or the beeping from the GPS have been replaced with the constant ringing of telephones, and the zooming of faxes spitting out page after page of important documents. The smell of diesel or the sweaty stinky seamen have been replaced by a sweet mixture of perfumes from the different hostesses that are diving in and out of the wheel house with their high heels klipping and klopping on the steel deck.
The weather here is very nice, around 20 C with a soft breeze coming through the harbour, just enough to make the sponsor flags flap so you can read them. We are moored up at the end of the harbour, behind us on the quay is a large area where people can come and sit and relax in the sun with possibly the best view of Cannes, however all the people there (in their black suits, and ties) are too busy with their telephones glued to their ears, pacing back and forth organizing their agendas for the next few days. Sometimes the talking stops and they look up and around to admire the surrounding ships and finally enjoy the great weather.
Everything on board is going smoothly, with very good catering and enthusiastic hostesses to welcome the clients as they come up the gangway. The saloon and main entrance have been given their finishing touches, and whole ship has been cleaned from top to bottom, no one can tell that just several weeks ago we were busy with a major building project. The reaction from the clients as they look around our ship are all very positive, however they are all amazed to hear that we sailed around 2400 miles to come here (well worth the effort if you see the result now).”
7 Mar 2007 14:24 GMT
43°32.86’N, 007°00.95’E. Compass 090.
“After some windy days at anchor the ‘Oosterschelde’ was finally allowed to come into the harbour of Cannes last Sunday. Heaving up our two anchors turned out to be quite a challenge so early in the morning, due to the swinging of the schip the chains were dragged over the bottom of the sea, back and forth, for about 5 miles (according to the GPS). The port anchor brought with it, the chain of the starboard anchor, we tied up the chain with a mooring line and dropped the anchor again hereby freeing it. When heaving the starboard anchor a huge knot in the chain came out of the water…. all together we were busy for about an one and a half hours, with the rubber boat, steel cables, big shackles, blocks of wood and of course the whole crew. Generally a good way to start your day.
The reason for the harbour master’s concern about us entering the harbour earlier in the strong winds, became evident when we entered the port. From a small boat he advised us where to drop our anchors, after which we manoeuvered our stern to the pier and set lines the Mediterranean way.
The harbour and city of Cannes is of course very famous, it is what you could call ‘the play ground of the rich and famous’ (a coffee costs around 4 euro and a beer just a little more). Around the quay you see the ‘money’, with a casino on the corner, and the car park with Ferraris and Porsches. All around us are huge motor yachts covered with antennas and satellite domes, jet skis, power boats and an array of other toys (we have only an old green folding bicycle), the crews all have the same uniforms, sunglasses, and matching hair cuts, they take their shoes off to come on board, it is really a different world. However there is a few very beautiful J-class like classic sailing yachts tucked away in the corner of the harbour – these are all just the toys of the rich and famous. People say that ‘money isn’t everything’, but its usually the people with the money that say those type of things…
The ‘Oosterschelde’ is moored up near the entrance to the harbour and everybody that comes in or out looks at her with admiration, you can see the people looking at her and dreaming about great ocean voyages, wild storms, romantic sunsets or childhood adventures as pirates over the seven seas. When you see a ship like this, it opens up your imagination.
You can see the masts from way out at sea and from the streets around the city, with her huge green and white flag from the top mast flying in the wind. I guess that to say we stand out from the crowd, would be an understatement. The other ships are also impressive, but you have the feeling that you are not allowed to use them, it’s like the houses you see in the magazines, they look nice but what’s it like to live there?
There has been a small crew change, with Max taking a break and Gerben and Jules coming aboard to help with the last details of the building. Erné is also coming to put the finishing touches to the electrics, and Alex and ‘Meppa’, the carpenters, have also arrived and are now covering the whole harbour with saw dust. On Monday the conference begins so the ship should be in top form for our new guests. But we are all now very busy inside and outside.”
3 Mar 2007 07:07 GMT
43°30.68’N, 006°56.45’E. Compass 132.
Anthony continues: “When your at sea with the ship your life is quite simple. This is very handy because seaman are not that smart, the basic things are: what is the weather, what are we going to eat, and how fast and in what direction are we going. The questions change rapidly and multiply the closer you get to land: where are we going, when do we get there, what do we do when we get there, when are we leaving, and all the other variations that you can think of in between. If you combine that with the daily work on board and the plan to do some work on deck, you really begin to go crazy. I guess I’m just trying to make an excuse for not sending more news earlier, it’s much easier to find the time in the middle of the night at open sea, to sit and type something interesting about the last days on board than in the harbour with every thing going on around you. It is always difficult for us simple seamen to adjust back to a ‘normal’ life.
Anyway…… We were busy with crossing over the Golfe du Lyon, this small but open area of sea can be prone to winds that come down from the mountains and out over sea, we had waited for a day in Palmos so that we would miss the worst of the wind and were now making good progress. Throughout the night the winds were either against us or not enough to make a respectable speed, typical sailing ship weather, however in the morning it began to pick up and we eventually ended up sailing between the small islands just off the coast by Toulon. Further along the coast we passed Cap Camarat and then Saint Tropez, Saint Raphael and then onto the Golf de La Napoule. This is a small bay with Cannes on one side and a small town, Théoule-sur-Mer, on the other side (about 4 NM in between). Here we set the anchor, as the harbour master told us that the winds in Cannes were much more severe, NW 6-7 Bft and gusts to 8 Bft and not such a good idea to try to come into the harbour.
With the winds slowly increasing during the day and with big squalls literally falling down between the surrounding mountains, we looked for some shelter close to the shore in the small bay.
The last few days we have spent at anchor, swinging back and forth with each gust of wind, so much that the trip log, that is connected to our GPS, at the time of anchoring was 109 NM and is now on 113 NM. Unfortunately the anchor was dragging a little during the night so we decided to heave up and set again. The winds were very squally with the strongest gust being measured at around 40 knots, so we set 2 anchors with 3 shackles each (1 shackle is 27.75 meters) with the idea that the schip would not swing so much back and forth.
Today is Saturday and the first guests have just left, with the rest soon to follow, all have said that the trip was excellent, and are going home with a story to tell over and over. The journey was indeed a long one, 18 days with around 2376 Nm, with all different kinds of winds, waves and weather. A trip on the ‘Oosterschelde’ is always an adventure… To finish up, it looks like we will stay at anchor for one more day as the winds are still raging across the quay in Cannes but tomorrow it should die off and then we can enter the harbour. Until then everyone is busy on deck with painting and sanding and enjoying the sun (around 20 C). Except the wind gusts that blow the water onto the deck everything is great, or as Martin says: “It’s working as good as a Hansel and Gretel” (but then in Danish).”
1 Mar 2007 08:51 GMT
We have dropped anchor in the Bay of Cannes. Winds are still pretty strong, the harbour master wants the weather to calm down before letting us in. Maybe later today, maybe tomorrow….
28 Feb 2007 02:24 GMT
42°40.52’N, 005°18.67’E. Compass 064. Knots 7,4.
With the last message we were making our way along the coast in the direction of Barcelona, the wind began to fill in and the sails were set accordingly, that means in this area, for the next 10 minutes. The difficult thing is that the winds are very, very unpredictable around the coastal areas and things change very rapidly. With the changing of the watch, around lunch time, we ended up with full sails. However this didn’t last too long, within 5 minutes it changed from NWly 3 Bft to SWly 5-6 Bft, sails were speedily taken down as the speed went from 5 knots to 10 knots and above, the lunch buffet was squashed over to one side and cups and plates were launched across the saloon. With the sails down and packed away the wind again changed, to nothing!!, with the motor on we continued on our way towards Barcelona. The rest of the day was an interesting combination of sailing, motoring and everything possible in between. The next change of watch, around dinner time we were just in front of the harbour of Barcelona, and sailing, When I made a comment about the weather, and that we had had everything except rain (I know now that you don’t make fun of ‘mother Nature….), then the wind changed from Wly 3 Bft to SEly, so we tacked, everything set up on the other side, the wind changed again to NEly, tack again, wind change again to Ely, tack again, and slowly the wind fell away to nothing!! In the one day we had seen all the points of the compass and almost all the levels on the Beaufort scale. Be prepared for anything, was the lesson for the day.
During the night we motored further along the coast, with a clear sky and a half full moon to help light the way, we arrived at the port of Palmos around 05:00. Not being able to contact the harbour master (calling every hour for the last day, but with no answer), we decided to anchor for the night.
At around 07:00 the entire fishing flotilla left the harbour at full speed, ships from between 40 meters with 10 man on board to boats from 4 meters with just enough room for one man, the procession lasted about 10 minutes and the silence returned as the last boat rounded the breakwater and headed out to sea.
The Spanish harbours are an interesting combination of total chaos and kilometers of ‘red tape’, rules are rules, and no one knows why, but that is just the way it is, so that is how we do it here. At 09:30 we spoke to the harbour master who informed us that firstly we needed permission to enter the harbour, that it was against the rules to anchor here, that we should have called before to arrange for a pilot and a place to berth but we could eventually come alongside, but we needed a pilot (for the 50 meters to the quay). At times like these we say that the life of a captain does not involve sailing…
Once moored up the gangway was put out and we had a chance to explore a new piece of the world: the Costa Brava.
The rest of the day was a combination of working on board and playing tourist, relaxing in the sun (around 22 C), on the terras with tapas, dinner on board, then back in the centre for a cup of coffee and a beer.
We left the harbour around 11:00 today, of course with a pilot!, and are now heading across the Golfe du Lyon towards Cannes. If all goes to plan we should miss the bad weather and arrive in Cannes some time tonight.
25 Feb 2007 02:14 GMT
39°51.14’N, 000°51.57’E. Compass 006. Knots 7,7.
“It was only a few days ago that the last news was sent, the progress of the schip has been excellent as we make our way along the coast. We are now in Golfo de Valencia, at the same latitude as Islotes Columbretes, a small marine reserve, and we are heading in a northerly direction, towards Taragona (80 NM), which lies about 45 NM from Barcelona. The plan at the moment (plans change on board almost as quick as the weather here) is to follow along the coast to Palamo and either find a small bay to anchor, or to keep going and cross over the Golfe du Lyon. The winds that we are expecting are from the NW around 7 maybe 8 Bft, the direction is not so bad, almost half wind, but the strength and possible waves are not so inviting. So if possible we shall wait for a day or so, until it dies off, and then cross over for the last 200+ NM to Saint Raphael.
OK, enough technical mumbo jumbo. The weather has been really great, I mean when you are used to 10′ C and rain, big winds and big seas then this is a paradise, around 18′ C with lots of sun and at night it cools off to around 15′ C. With a clear sky, the stars give enough light to see the way around on deck (hope the weather back home is not too cold? Hahaha).
During the day everybody is busy with work on deck and making the most of the sun and of the views, with the huge mountains along the Spanish coast, and of course also the chance to call home, when or if you have contact. Then down with the brushes and paint cans, and with telephones held high in the air, doing a strange modern type of dance, trying to get that one last point of contact so you can call home.
The other amazing thing here is the water. It has a kind of algae in it so if you agitate it, it will give off a green glow. The line of the schip through the water is visible for almost 100 meters behind, the bow wave is almost hypnotic when you stare over the railing and through the net, but the most bizarre thing to see is the dolphins, which look like glowing torpedos racing from port to starboard under the bow and jumping out of the water. Very very strange.
The typical seamen has a very short memory because just a few days ago we were bouncing and rolling around the deck with full wet weather jackets, in the rain and wind, and wondering why do we do this to our selves. Then suddenly the wind stops, the waves go away and the sun comes out, and all is forgotten, and you think to yourself: “I’ve got the best job in the world”. Until the next time it begins to blow and then you remember: “Oh yeah… that is what it’s like”. But I know none of us would change it for anything……it’s always an adventure.”
22 Feb 2007 16:35 GMT
36°03.00’N, 004°39.36’W. Compass 095. Knots 6,7.
“The long home stretch…..
The last time we wrote we were enjoying the change of weather; the covers off the hatches and all the windows open to get some fresh air into the ship. The main sail was repaired and once again hoisted with everybody eager to see the handy work of the last few days. When it was set we all took some time to see exactly where the repair was, in the saloon the sail reaches from one side to the other and feels gigantic but in the mast everything looks a lot smaller. Several schools of dolphins swam along with the ship and just before dinner three pilot whales came to investigate us. The good weather continued into the night with some people choosing to have dinner on deck and enjoy the sun set. The forecast was for W-ly winds, and early in the morning with our course set for the Straits the wind came in from the S and SW about 5-6, occasionally 7 Bft. With half wind we began to race along, several reefs were set in all the sails but we still managed to reach around 11.3 knots with the smaller coasters doing around 10 knots, I’m sure some of their crew were looking out the windows at this sailing ship flying through the Straits of Gibraltar. In the 6 hour watch we did 58.5 NM, not bad…. (I have to add that it was in Martin’s watch.)
Now we are in the ‘Med’, maybe it is just psychological but it is warmer and a bit more relaxed without the whole Atlantic ocean jumping up and down on the ship. We now have a good W-ly wind that should stay with us for the next 3 to 4 days and hopefully we can do some more work on deck.
For the people at home, now is a good time to open the atlas to the pages with the Med ….. Ok….. We are about 40 NM south of Malaga, going in the direction of Cabo de Gata, about 120 NM, then NW-ly along Catagena to Alicante, in between Ibiza, but this is still a long way to go.
Everything and everybody on board is fine and we are all enjoying the frequent visits of many dolphins…..”
20 Feb 2007 16:10 GMT
38°45.71’N, 010°21.59’W. Compass 179. Knots 7,4.
The last time we wrote we were waiting for the oncoming winds out of the South, they eventually came but a little later than expected. Around 08:00 on Monday morning the wind began to build up to around 6-7 Bft with rain that was flying horizontally across the deck. Unfortunately around 12:00 the main sail had had enough and split along one of the seams for about 2.5 meters, it was quickly brought down and a double reefed schooner put up in its place. With the change of the watch we decided to tack out to sea to give us a little bit more room to manoeuver with the heavy seas; as the others enjoyed a acrobatic breakfast below decks the wind disappeared, from 6-7 to 2-3 Bft, leaving everyone hanging on to a once again rolling schip. The main sail was taken off and down into the saloon to be repaired, with different shifts working around the clock it should be back on deck tomorrow; under normal circumstances it would take about half as long but the swell is around 4 meters and even standing still requires a huge effort, so you can imagine the trouble they are having trying to stitch the heavy sail cloth back together, a champion effort all round. The ship has been at sea for over a week now so you would think that all the things are ‘sea fast’, unfortunately many hours are spent on your knees trying to pick up the pieces from different draws or cupboards, even as I type the last few books on the shelves decide to throw themselves at me. If you don’t laugh about it you just go crazy.
Back to the important information: progress is good despite the seas, we are almost at the same latitude as Lisboa, only about 40 NM from the coast and hopefully we will be reaching Cabo de São Vicente early tomorrow morning, then just a short 180 NM and we are at Gibraltar. The winds are now from the NW but will change to the SW and then S tomorrow evening, then back to the W for our run into Gibraltar. The atmosphere on board is good. As the people below decks work on the sail, the rest on deck are enjoying the sun, the warmest day so far, 16 C.
From the shipping company (20 Feb 2007)
Meanwhile the ship is 150 miles North of Cabo São Vicente, the South cape of Portugal. The wind is hard (7 Bft) from the West or the North. The ‘Oosterschelde’ is rolling heavily. It is difficult to move, to eat, let alone stay in your bed, so everyone is tired and looking forward to a short stop or more quiet weather.
18 Feb 2007 16:20 GMT
43°09.80’N, 010°36.91’W. Compass 175. Knots 7,1.
The story continues with the ship now 45 (nautical) miles off the coast from Cape Finisterre and heading South with motor and sails, against the slowly building Southerly winds and seas. It is typical with sail ships that the wind direction is always from out the same direction that you want to go, I guess that is why they invented the motor? Surprisingly the weather changed in the middle of the night, first the winds fell away, but the waves continued. With the schip rolling around and sails flapping, this brought about an unfortunate technical discussion. How many square meters is 1 liter of milk? (To find the answer you should ask Sabine, the cook.) The sails were taken down and the motor once more came to our rescue. The waves eventually subsided and left us with a surprisingly calm sea and a beautiful night sky filled with stars. We knew that the good weather would not last for too long, so we headed as quickly as possible to the south to try and sneak between the different weather fronts, and are now waiting for the oncoming winds.
17 Feb 2007 14:17 GMT
46°18.24’N, 009°20.76’W. Compass 202. Knots 8,2.
“Let the games begin.
Our journey over the famous Biscay is quite an interesting one, if you look at it from a mental or physical side. The wind is a hard N to NW 6-8 Bft. This is in a good direction as we would like to go to the SW and around Cape Finisterre. The games begin with the first meal with big winds and ocean swells (3-4 meters). Its not really a game but an EXTREME sport (like the sports that are sponsored by Red Bull), to be able to balance yourself, to and from the table, and also your meal so that it stays on your plate and of course there are also the rest of the passengers who are also staggering from side to side with each wave and roll of the schip. All together quite entertaining when you look around and see the way people can adjust to the situation at hand, if you don’t laugh about it, it will only make you crazy(er). Not only do we have ‘extreme eating’ as sport on board but we also have ‘EXTREME sleeping’. You would think that lying down is not so hard, but the tricky bit is to stay there. Everybody knows now about the slinger-sails for the beds and the trick of putting a life-jacket underneath.
Altogether the journey is going with a good speed (max 10.3 knots) in the good direction and life on board goes on without too much trouble…..
PS: I think I just invented a new sport: ‘extreme typing’, hanging on to the desk with one hand and trying to hit the keys with the other.”
16 Feb 2007 14:48 GMT
49°04.88’N, 006°36.20’W. Compass 230. Knots 7,0.
As promised we left Dover in the morning and set our sights on the end of the English Channel. The wind was a little better, from the NW 2-3 Bft, but the weather was not so good: rain, mist and cold. So with the motor and the sails we had to make up the time we lost in Dover. The motor was repaired (the problem was apparently caused by a blockage in the fuel system) and was now been put to work. The wind began to build up and change to the S 5-7 Bft and our speed also increased as we raced through the Channel along the Isle of Wight and out towards the famous Start Point and Lizard Rock, the end of the Channel was in sight, finally. On the way we had a small problem with the jib in the increasing winds, the top eye in the sail ripped out and came down, it didn’t really come down, it just became very lose and flapped around a lot. With many quick hands the sail was brought down on deck and a replacement storm jib was hoisted on the inner jib stay. Quite an operation in the big seas with the bowsprit going sometimes underwater; very wet and very tired we continued on our way. The jib was repaired during the night and was hoisted with the first light today. Around the same time we left the English Channel and we are now heading into the Biscay. The rain has been with us for the last 2 days so the ship is now quite clean, however you still find some saw dust hidden under coils of ropes and hatch covers. The wind should be coming out the NW around 4-5 Bft for the next few days then unfortunately turning to the South, but we will see what happens later. Everyone is a bit wet but very happy and watching the big ocean swell moving slowly underneath us (about 3-4 meters high and takes around 10 seconds from top to bottom, very smooth flowing action). Until the next time….
PS: This morning surrounded by a large pod of dolphins.
14 Feb 2007 16:37 GMT
51°07.03’N, 001°19.77’E. Compass 304.
It was a strange feeling to be back at sea, with the Oosterschelde, after such a long time in the harbour, werking on the refit from the saloon, the cabins fore, the galley, the watertight bulkhead, the main entrance and all the technical details under the floor. There was a small army of people involved to make it possible in the short amount of time that we had, and to all, we would like to send a special thanks for all the long hours and hard hard work that went into the ship.
When you are all there working on the project it is difficult to get the full picture of what is being created, so many people in a small space, it was only when we finally left the harbour on Sunday morning that you could really see the changes without all the people, machines and noises. With the first evening meal at sea we sat at the table and just looked around and finally had the chance to enjoy what we had helped make, truely special!.
After leaving the harbour we were busy getting the ship ready for our 2200 mile trip to Cannes, along the Mass and out into the Noord sea and further on into the English channel. The weather was not going to help us at all so with main sail and motor we crossed over the shipping lanes and headed for Dover. The wind was from the South West and between 5-8 Bf so progress was sometimes quite slow especially with the tide also against us. On Tuesday morning we decided to head for the harbour of Dover to seek shelter from the coming bad weather, however, several miles from the entrance the motor stopped. Because we were in an area that is monitored by Dover Coast Guard we informed them of our situation and a small boat was offered as assistance to tow us into the harbour (speed of around 2 Kn, against the tide). Just before we reached the entrance the motor was repared and finally we set anchor inside the break waters. The guests are now ashore exploreing Dover, some a very happy that the schip is finally still and that they have their appetite back. Tonight we stay at anchor and possible leave tommorow with the tide.
13 Feb 2007 16:37 GMT
51°07.03’N, 001°19.77’E. Compass 304.
It was a strange feeling to be back at sea with the ‘Oosterschelde’, after such a long time in the harbour, working on the refit from the saloon, the cabins fore, the galley, the watertight bulkhead, the main entrance and all the technical details under the floor. There was a small army of people involved to make it possible in the short amount of time that we had, and to all we would like to send a special thanks for all the long hours and hard hard work that went into the ship.
When you are all there working on the project it is difficult to get the full picture of what is being created, so many people in a small space, it was only when we finally left the harbour on Sunday morning that you could really see the changes without all the people, machines and noises. With the first evening meal at sea we sat at the table and just looked around and finally had the chance to enjoy what we had helped make, truly special!
After leaving the harbour we were busy getting the ship ready for our 2200 mile trip to Cannes, along the Maas and out into the North Sea and further on towards the English Channel. The weather was not going to help us at all, so with main sail and motor we crossed over the shipping lanes and headed for Dover. The wind was from the Southwest and between 5-8 Bft, so progress was sometimes quite slow especially with the tide also against us. On Tuesday morning we decided to head for the harbour of Dover to seek shelter from the coming bad weather, however, several miles from the entrance the motor stopped. Because we were in an area that is monitored by Dover Coast Guard we informed them of our situation and a small boat was offered as assistance to tow us into the harbour (speed of around 2 knots, against the tide). Just before we reached the entrance the motor was repaired and finally we set anchor inside the breakwaters. The guests are now ashore exploring Dover, some are very happy that the ship is finally still and that they have their appetite back. Tonight we stay at anchor and possible leave tommorow with the tide.
From the shipping company (13 Feb 2007)
We had a rough night. For hours we kept the head of the ship in the good direction but we made no significant progress. At five o’clock this morning, 12 miles before Dover, our main engine suddenly stopped. We gybed and under small sail were heading north again. Although very inconveniant and stressful, there has been no dangerous situation. We couldn’t find find a suitable anchorage in the area and therefore we asked the assistance of the lifeboat to bring us into Dover Harbour. At this moment we see the white cliffs next to us. In the meanwhile we try to localise the problem with the engine. We think it is a minor problem as it seems that a fuel-pipe between two filters or the (filterhouse itself) is choked. We have good hope that we can fix it soon.
11 Feb 2007 16:00 GMT
The ‘Oosterschelde’ left Rotterdam this morning at 11:00.
From the shipping company (28 Jan 2007)
We worked very hard the past weeks and all of us are getting very tired. Nevertheless it becomes clear that we won’t have time enough to finish everything the way we would like. Two weeks to go. We concentrate on the entrance and the saloon now and perhaps we will have to finish one of the cabins by the time the ship comes back form the Mediteranean Sea. The good thing is that it all becomes very beautiful!
From the shipping company (24 Jan 2007)
Slowly it all gets into shape. The crew is painting in the evening hours. Luckily the central heater is functioning again. Today we hope to finish the water-system, so that we can have a shower again.
From the shipping company (16 Jan 2007)
It is a race against the clock now. Some minor jobs demand a lot of time and we have so many of them (and so little time). On the other hand: we made important decisions about construction details, which enables the carpenters to go ahead now. Under the floors the work proceeds well. Many pipes have already been installed and with some luck we will have warm water after this week.
From the shipping company (11 Jan 2007)
Two steps further, one step back. That is how it works at the moment. With so many people (19) working on a small surface it is inevitable that small mistakes are made. In the saloon the wooden floor is back and the work there proceeds very well. In the other compartiment we are constructing all the profiles for the walls. Once we have covered them it will give a total different impression. We still have one month left and that is not so much, but we still hope to be able to finish everything in time.
From the shipping company (6 Jan 2007)
Also today was very productive. There is a good atmosphere on board and everybody works hard. The biggest problem, if any, is the installation of all the pipes. We are just not fast enough with that to stay ahead of the carpenters. Also the cementfloor in the galley, which needs to be constructed soon, waits for that. On Monday we have some extra help on that project.
From the shipping company (3 Jan 2007)
On Wednesday the carpenters started working. It took some time to get used working with so big a group. At first everybody was looking for electrical connectons, materials and tools. But with ± 10 people the work goes very quick and after the first day we already saw a huge difference. Erné is connecting the main power switch board and we hope to have the heater running at the end of the week.
From the shipping company (1 Jan 2007)
The past days we did work on the installation work. Tomorrow we want to lay down the floors and on Wednesday the carpenters will start. It will be difficult to finish all the work in time, as the ‘Oosterschelde’ will leave for Cannes in Februari. The newyear starts busy!