Maundy Thursday 29 March
Today we planned a shorter day, just into Dokkum which looked like an interesting small city, where we really needed to take on water and replenish fresh food supplies. Having reached an early bridge just in time to be waved through before he went off for lunch, we mistimed our arrival at the next and tied up alongside an unattractive plot of industrial wasteland, for our midday meal. Skipper had a useful chat with the keeper on his return, paid another ‘bruggeld’ and again watched a keeper cycle alongside us from one bridge to the next.
Having assured us water would be available after the last bridge in town, he then apologised that it was not turned on until 1 April. Mate made an executive decision that we would press on to our final destination for this leg, the marina of the Allures dealership for the Netherlands in Lauwersmeer, where we could surely fill up with water. She knew it was remote in terms of shopping, but it would be a case of ‘sort it out when we get there’. After all, that’s what the bikes are for…
We had a slightly tricky last lock and lifting bridge out into Lauwersmeer, and then a long slog in strengthening cold wind through this national nature reserve, along yet another buoyed channel. A herd of small, pretty ponies was spotted near the water’s edge, and eventually we made our way into our berth. The harbourmaster came to greet us, with the immortal words “we have a problem with our water supply”. He must have been disturbed by the looks on the faces of my crew, and soon jury-rigged a solution so we could take on enough for our immediate needs.
Mate decided shopping could wait until tomorrow, and dinner in the very good restaurant on site was the order of the day (evening). The restaurant is called ‘Het Raadsel van de Wadden’ – The Riddle of the Sands – as this is where Erskine Childers set his pre-WWI spy novel. Copies (in Dutch) are available on the bar!