SV Laurin in The Netherlands

SV Laurin in The Netherlands

Sunday, 14 August 2022

11/08/22 - 13/08/22 Stampersplaat - Den Osse - Brouwersdam


Another lazy day on Stampersplaat, with Patrick and I finally getting round to servicing the port headsail winch. It's not been turning as freely as it should since before we went to the Med but Patrick had stripped both down and found a broken bearing that we were struggling to find a replacement for. The replacement has now been on board a few months and now I finally got round to fitting it. BUT, when I stripped the winch the bearing was intact! The broken part must have been on the functioning winch. Unfortunately I couldn't completely strip the winch without removing it from the deck so we did the best job we could and put it back. Some improvement but think we'll need to try again and remove it from the deck to do the whole job as it still felt a bit "sticky". Maybe we should by some superior Harken Winch Grease rather than the standard stuff we have on the boat.

Once the winch was put back together the swing came out again and the kids had fun alternating between swinging, swimming and paddleboarding before hiding down below with electronics to get out of the hot afternoon sun.

In the late afternoon Patrick and I found a shady spot ashore to get some respite from the heat before we ate a very late evening meal.


Now we were really scraping the bottom of the barrel (or fridge) in terms of food supplies we decided to head to Den Osse as recommended to us by a motor boat we rafted alongside on Archipel. An earlyish departure from Stampersplaat and we were in Den Osse not long after 10am.

AJ stayed on board whilst Patrick, Esmé and I went to find out what was what. Paid for one night (just under 24 Euros) and got the keys to borrow some bikes. Unfortunately they were way too big for Esmé (a bit of a stretch for me) so she headed back to the boat whilst Patrick and I went on a shopping adventure. The bikes were not only huge but had no brake levers on the handles... just needed to back pedal which only took a little getting used to.

Anyway, off we went, me tiptoeing to reach the pedals and Patrick saying "that's how it should be". (When I stood next to the bike the handles were almost at my neck height!).

It felt strange not wearing a helmet but I consoled myself with the fact that we were in the Netherlands and there are cycle paths everywhere... our Dutch friends were horrified that in England we ride on the roads with cars! However as we went along I suddenly became aware that we were no longer on a cycle path and that we seemed to be on quite a "fast" road (luckily not too busy). A brief (wobbly) assessment of our surroundings and I realised that we had missed the cycle path which was down a grassy bank to our left. Shouted to Patrick and slowed to a wobbly halt. Waited for a gap in traffic, U-turn and headed back to the point where the cycle track separated from the road. Back heading in the right direction it really wasn't that far until we reached Scharenijke marina and then the "big" Plus supermarket.

 Much to Patrick's dismay the shop was heaving and so I did the best supermarket dash possible, collecting enough food for a couple of days with the intention of returning the next day. 2 rucksacks and a little use of the bike racks later we were loaded up and on our way back. Only a minor close shave on the return (stopping really isn't my strong point on these oversized, strangely braked machines) and then we were back.

Stashed the food and had a very late breakfast. After a rest and a tidy up we headed to the marina office to do laundry and arrange free hire of a Pico for AJ, the rest of us enjoying an ice cream in the shade whilst he sailed. After a brief sail in the marina he headed out of the harbour with some other kids to get some better wind.

A slightly challenging course needed to sail in and out of the dinghy dock but no problem for our boy.


Up early for another supermarket run... I wanted a bit more flexibility than 2 days supplies but didn't fancy the bikes again so took Esmé to the closer Spar supermarket in the holiday village next door. Our attempt at a short cut got us lost in the maze of holiday bungalows so it was a 20 minute walk there, and 7 minutes back! Looked like a nice place and Esmé took time to enjoy the playground before we returned.

On our return Patrick was just finishing some hand washing of the stuff that got missed the previous day and was keen to tell me that the boat opposite (a Contest 32CS like ours but with a Pilot House) were happy to have us look round before they headed to the beach. The family were using their friends boat as a caravan whilst they enjoyed the beautiful surroundings ashore. A solid pilot house is something we have been considering as our second spray hood is looking old and tatty and we never take it down anyway. It would also give us a bigger area to mount a bigger solar panel. It was really interesting to see. The windows were bigger (and taller) which meant that I had much better visibility than on our boat. Certainly something to consider. Patrick had also been talking to a guy at the end of the pontoon about the marina and costs. He had a Contessa 32 and it cost him just 1500 Euros per year to moor there. It is a private club with a 2 year waiting list. Quite tempting! 

We headed to the marina office to say goodbye and purchase another ticket for the Grevelingenmere before dropping lines and heading out. On the way back to the marina we bumped into the owner of the Contessa 32 and he pointed out some of his favourite spots on the Grevelingenmere for us to try.We enjoyed a gentle drift towards Brouwersdam but eventually had resort to the engine. Our aim was to explore some of the public moorings close to Marina Port Zealand. I wanted to visit the beach and see if this was possible without spending money on an expensive marina. We looked into a lovely small harbour but it was hot, I wanted a swim, and there were LOTS of jellyfish so we headed back out and motored towards Brouwersdam watersports centre where we could see a collection of boats anchored. We dropped our hook for the first time since the Med and were a bit gutted to realise the holding was pretty poor. As we motored  astern the anchor was definitely dragging, however as the priority was lunch and a swim rather than an overnight stop, and it was light airs we decided it was good enough. Before the swim I paddleboarded over to the watersports area to check out the price of Catamaran hire and to have a better view of the massive waterslide. Although next to Centreparks this is a separate enterprise and we could pay 85 Euros for 3 hours catamaran hire or 17.50 Euros for an hour on the waterslide. I went back to the boat and in turn both kids came to look at the waterslide. We didn't have time that day and the jury's still out on if we'll return. Looks kinda cool but also kinda scary!

As this anchorage wasn't a good overnight prospect, come 5ish we moved on. Back to a series of pontoons outside the little harbour where we found a small space for Laurin. The Dutch opposite were very welcoming as is fairly normal for the Grevelingenmere and we got chatting before breaking off to cook tea. I really fancied a walk to the beach but was disappointed to find it was rather further than it looked due to having to walk up to a bridge to cross the busy road. AJ didn't fancy it so we reluctantly left him behind. Patrick, Esmé and I tried a slight shortcut which left us walking along the grass verge next to a railway track..... we've never seen a train go along it so might have to do some research about it. Eventually after about 1/2 hour we got to the beach, to find live music and LOTS of people. Patrick was looking less than convinced but Esmé and I were delighted with the prospect of an hour at a lively beach bar. AJ rang us and wanted to come.... but it was too far and we didn't have time to go back for him and still have time for a drink before it got dark. Patrick opted to head back to keep AJ company and Esmé and I enjoyed a drink and an ice cream, enjoying the atmosphere for a girlie evening!

It was a tough call, leaving it until the very last minute to leave but still ensuring we'd have some light left to find an alternative route back. In the end we got it just right and enjoyed the sunset and a lovely stroll "home".

Thursday, 11 August 2022

07/08/2022 - 10/08/22 Bruinisse, Archipel and Stampersplaat


Very excited to catch up with Martijn, Monique, Dylan and Jaz we phoned Bruinisse Jachthaven to book in for the night..... and were disappointed to find they were full. The option to call back in an hour wasn't too helpful as our Dutch friends were already on their way. I quickly let them know we might need to find a plan B and then we decided to motor over to the Jachthaven and try our luck. We squeezed into a spot on the fuel dock and gratefully negotiated a place for the night in their short stay area. It was already starting to get hot as Patrick and I went to pay, and as we passed the inflatable obstacle course and the paddling pool area we wondered if the kids had outgrown this stuff since we were last here 6 years ago.

Very soon the Dutch contingent messaged us to say they had arrived and we arranged to meet by the inflatable. What followed was an amazing, laughter filled day rekindling old friendships. The boys reconnected immediately with the girls only taking a few minutes to get over any shyness. Dylan was a little limited in what he could do due to just having undergone an operation on his feet so the boys spent time on the Switch, where-as the girls alternated between drawing, youtube, crabbing and the paddling pool.

By mid afternoon our embarrassing lack of coffee drove the adults off the boat in search of a suitable caffeine fix and we ordered pizzas for collection later on when the boys joined us hanging out by the paddling pool. By this time AJ and Dylan had discovered that a wheelchair is actually quite fun and were having a highly amusing time racing round the marina.

After pizza, ice cream and much more laughter it was sadly time to say goodbye, with hopes of managing to catch up later in our stay. 


Taking advantage of the marina water supply we topped up our tanks and did another batch of hand washing.... this time learning from my mistake and only doing as much as we had pegs for! Sadly it didn't dry quite as quickly as we'd hoped so it had to join the paddleboard down below so we could go sailing!

The aim of the day was to try to get a spot on the island of Stampersplaat as Esmé was keen on seeing the wild horses, however Patrick and I were determined to get a sail in on the way despite the wind bein on the nose. Once we were on the final approach we started to get a bit concerned at the amount of boats anchored outside the little inlet where we've tied up in the past. As we feared the inlet was full. We contemplated anchoring but decided to try Archipel, another smaller island but with more mooring space about a mile or so away. Luckily we got a space there and made it our home for the next couple of nights.


I'd still not braved a swim with the jellyfish but we'd all had a paddle on the SUP and after his turn Patrick came back to tell us that just outside the little harbour there was an area with no jellyfish. We loaded the small anchor into the dinghy and towed the paddleboard round to a beautiful little spot for a family swim. Taking the paddleboard is helpful as it is much easier to get back on board than the dinghy!

The boat we'd rafted up against gave us valuable advice about where to get groceries at uninflated prices, and a marina a little further away but with better facilities (free kayaks and Picos) and free bikes to get to said supermarket. 

We spent the day chilling out, chatting to various boats that came alongside for a lunch stop but made no real meaningful connections. In the evening we took the Cobb BBQ ashore to make boat pizza and baked bananas, along with toasting marshmallows. It's been a lovely opportunity to reconnect as a family and although there are always ups and downs, it's really nice to spend so much time together.


We woke intending to stay another day, however much to our surprise we found the holding tank was full. It seems as kids grow older they wee and poo a lot more! Our usual 3 day capacity now appears to be 2 days! 

We decided to aim for the marina recommended to us but take a look into Stampersplaat on the off chance that there was space. It was our lucky day! We came alongside a welcoming Dutch boat and Esmé and I took a hot walk to find the horses. It was a really lovely Mum and Esme bonding time.

Whilst we were away another English boat came in and Patrick told me he'd been chatting to them and they kept their boat in Goes, something we've been considering.... certainly for when Patrick retires but this made us question if it was something worth doing sooner. We loosely arranged to meet up later for drinks and to swap stories as they were also interested in our trip to the Med. The kids made friends and played on a combination of our boat swing and the paddleboards.

As per most boats on the islands, we were a little short on supplies but a raid of both boats produced a bottle of prosecco and a bottle of red along alcohol free cider and some snacks, resulting in an enjoyable evening for all, swapping stories and experiences. At some point the kids took an evening walk to the horses where to Esmé's delight one approached them and came close enough to touch. As it got dark the other guys showed us a trick of stirring the jelly fish infested water with a boat hook to see them glow in the dark.... kind of like phosphorescence but bigger and definitely as magical!

Sunday, 7 August 2022

05/08/2022 and 06/08/2022 Mosselplaat - Wolphaartsdijk - Mosselbanken


After a not so great nights' sleep, (no real reason other than perhaps slightly more wine consumed than is normal) we got a reasonably early start, mindful of the longish day ahead aiming to reach the Grevelingenmeer. Our oilies were dug out as there was some rain forecast and setting off I was mindful of the forecast increasing winds from the north. 

We enjoyed a lovely little sail before the wind went on the nose as we rounded a corner. Black clouds were looming and I just wasn't feeling the love for a long day. I suggested maybe we could call in at Wolphaartsdijk, a marina we'd been in on our last visit for an overnight as there was a nice clubhouse with free hot chocolate and cheap beer to while away a rainy day. We had a bit of a family decision and voted in favour.

We just got moored up as the winds increased (kids getting really good at the box moorings now).  Although the promised rain didn't materialise we enjoyed a leisurely day, hanging out at the playground and bouncy pillow, and then drinking hot chocolate and our first Duvel of the trip in the club house before having a siesta, not forgetting lunch where we sampled the herrings we found in Lidl!

It was lovely to see the kids start to interact with their Dutch counterparts.... only a little nudging required. Football it seems is a universal language!

We also took the time to message our Dutch friends to ask advice about the tides in the Oosterschelde which we remembered needed to be considered for the next leg but couldn't remember which way they flowed. Martijn very helpfully sent us a PDF tidal atlas and our decision to come in to Wolphaartsdijk ws vindicated as the tide would have been against us in the afternoon. We set our alarms for 6am to make the best of the tide the next day.


A beautiful early start and we were soon at the lock at the end of the Veerse Meer. Unfortunately the £11 app I bought told lies. The lock isn't open 24/7 and we had to wait until 7am for it to open.

We hung around for a while and then entered the lock with a lovely Dutch Barge with matching tender.

Onwards into the Oosterschelde, punching tide for the first hour and then a little sail before the wind went too far forward again.

By the time we were approaching the lock to the Grevelingenmere we still hadn't heard from our Dutch friends if they were coming to meet us. Just as we were formulating a plan to anchor for a while until we heard, they messaged to say they were coming the next day. We headed into the first marina after the lock to buy our "ticket" for a week's moorings on the islands and headed over to Mosselbanken to find somewhere to stay for the night. 

The kids instantly remembered the look out tower and spent time exploring. Many were swimming but we were nervous of the jellyfish in the water. After a while a local boat came alongside us and I got the chance to ask about the the jelly fish and they assured us they don't sting. As the day got hotter and hotter we gradually were tempted onto and into the water. I was still nervous and only got in up to my waist but the others gradually opted for a swim. Esmé and Patrick being the first brave souls! I was keen to see how confident a swimmer Esmé was now, 4 years on from returning from our big adventure but having not swum a tremendous amount since. I bribed her to swim out to halfway between the two pontoons and two guys off another boat encouraged her by letting her join in their ball game. I followed on the paddleboard to make sure she was ok. The comedy moment (but a little unsettling) came when Esmé kept hold of the ball for a little while longer than was polite and so one of the guys played a trick on his mate and picked up a ball shaped jelly fish and lobbed it at him. His friend just saw a ball shape coming towards him and held out his hands to catch, only realising it wasn't the actual ball when he was greeted by an armful of jellyfish. By this time I didn't know whether to laugh or completely freak out at the prospect of being attacked by flying jellyfish so Esmé and I returned to the relative safety of Laurin.

Our neighbours also pointed out that there was another Contest 32 on the other pontoon which had had extensive work done to her so after tea Patrick and I headed over to say hello. Bart and Dianna soon joined us on Laurin and we enjoyed a really pleasant evening comparing notes on and viewing the two boats. Bart and Dianna were lovely people and the kids were equally keen to chat. Esmé was keen to tell the jellyfish story and Dianna took time to say that the jellyfish were ok and you could cuddle them and shape them into a heart. I'm yet to be convinced but I suspect with the forecast high temperatures I will be tempted in for a swim later in the week. Spending time with Bart and Dianna, and looking forward to catching up with Martijn, Monique, Dylan and Jazz the next day reminded us that travelling is as much (if not more) about the people that you meet as the places you go. We swapped contact details with Bart and Dianna and will hopefully keep in touch.