Saturday, 30 July 2016

Ijsselmeer and Enkhuizen

There was only about 5 feet of water at our island last night -enough for Bonita but Calismarde needs 6 feet. Fortunately the bottom is soft mud. However the day started with Bonita towing Calismarde off the mud and into deeper water. We then locked out of the canal system at Lemmer and into the Ijsselmere. We all felt relieved to have a rest from innumerable locks and bridges

We had a brisk and at times wet sail into a squally SW wind, and by mid afternoon we entered the harbour at Enkhuizen. We didn't have time to look round Enkhuizen when we last came and today we were sorry that we got here too late to see the museum, which had been recommended to us.
Enkhuizen church spire

This is an ancient trading port and in the 17th century was important in the Dutch  East Indies trade. There are many fine buildings from this time. Its importance subsequently declined as ocean going ships got bigger and the harbour silted up, and it lost its trade to Amsterdam.

Church interior
Most of the Dutch coastline is flat and featureless and many coastal towns had churches with large and distinctive spires as an aid to navigation to guide sailors at sea. Sometimes the height and grandeur of the spire seems to be out of all proportion to the size of the church below. The photo shows the very fine spire on the 16th century church at Enkhuizen. The bells in the spire seem to be in constant activity. The second photo shows the inside of the church with the ceiling of the nave planked like the hull of a boat.

Traditional Dutch boats at Enkhuizen
We saw many traditional Dutch boats out sailing today, some of them very large boats. Many are about the size of a Thames sailing barge or larger, and many are over 100 years old. There are far more dutch barges under sail than there are active  Thames barges in the UK and its encouraging that the skills involved in maintaining and sailing these old boats are being handed down.