We had given up the lease on our flat in Sellstedt from the 1st of July, so in June we really started to feel the pressure to get everything ready to go. Not just the boat had some things that still needed to be fixed, but our flat had to be packed down, we had to arrange for the last vaccinations, health insurance while underway, and the many, many extra things that have to be taken care of when you leave a country for good.
Also, Runa and Mattis have been really stressed about leaving, and would actually just wish that they could stay in Sellstedt forever instead of going on this stupid trip. It’s been especially difficult for Mattis, who didn’t really understand what was going on. We had promised them that we would arrange a party for their friends in Sellstedt, so two weeks before leaving we had a get-together for our friends in Sellstedt and for my colleagues. Luckily, the weather was in our favor, because we had invited many more people than there was room for in our little flat. We had a lovely afternoon, with cake and hotdogs and children playing. And it was a good way to mark that we were leaving soon.
We had rented a truck to drive our furniture to a storage unit in Denmark a week before moving out, and the last few days in the flat after that was a marathon of sorting and cleaning. Car load after car load was dropped into our little boat, the last pieces of furniture were sold (enter inflatable mattresses) and all the rest was driven to the dumpster. And at the same time I was still at work every day – do after all want to spend my holiday sailing!
On Friday, the flat was handed over to the new renters, and we went to have pizza in our friends garden with my mom, dad and niece. Esben and I were relieved to be done with the flat, but Mattis and Runa were already homesick. When we arrived in the marina to sleep on Chip-Chip, we were greeted with a mountain of stuff that needed to be packed away to make room to sleep. Quickly, the cockpit tent was put up, and most of our belongings moved to the cockpit so we could sleep.
Saturday, my sister arrived, and her and my mom took all the kids to the zoo, while Esben and I got things in the boat sorted. During the day, friends came by to say hi, and in the evening I went to Bremerhaven to have dinner with my family, while Esben took care of the last things onboard. Since the high water was at 4.00 the next morning, we wanted to go through the lock, the “Dobbelschleuse”, that same night, and spend the night at the waiting pontoon outside. We put the kids to bed, and finally went through the lock at 23.00 that night.
The alarm woke us up at 3.15 – way too early, but we quickly got Chip-Chip ready, and then said goodbye to my mom, sister and her kids, who had come to wave us goodbye. And then we were off, out into the Weser.
The wind was perfect, coming from south-west, and we quickly hoisted our new sails. With the outgoing tide we were quick – until the tide turned 6 hours later and we sailed with 1 knot… Quiet frustrating, but at least the sails were better than the engine, which couldn’t get us forward at all. In the meantime, the waves were increasing, and Esben and the kids were not feeling well. We were both tired from the short night, so from the beginning of the sail we had taken turns sleeping down below. We discussed if we should stop at one of the Frisian Islands, but finally decided against it – we preferred to take advantage of the following winds and get all the way to the Netherlands. After 41 hours and 176nm, we arrived at Makkum in the Dutch IJsselmeer, at nine in the evening – a little oasis of peace after a fairly rough sail through the Wadden Zee.
As we woke up the next morning, the most important thing to do was to visit the pool! This had been our main seller to the kids when we told them that we wouldn’t be making any stops on our way to the Netherlands – and now they were very happy. The next two days, we spent getting Chip-Chip a bit better sorted and relaxing. Runa and I had one walk to the little picturesque town of Makkum, on which we learned how locals had gotten rich from east-india trade a couple of hundred years ago. But other than that, we stayed in the marina, where there were plenty of activities for the kids to have been entertained for a couple of weeks.
But after two days we decided to move on. This time to Amsterdam. In order to arrive in the afternoon, we left Makkum at 5 in the morning, and enjoyed our coffee and homemade bread as we made our way south. Up to this point, we have only used our wind vane, the Aries, for self steering, but now we got the autopilot out, and it worked beautifully all the way to the entrance to Amsterdam. It was another sunny and quiet day, and the kids mainly spent it with the LEGO they were gifted by Anne before we left. To enter Amsterdam, we encountered our first busy lock at the Oranjenschleuse, probably a taste of what’s to come when we go south. And we are now finally birthed in Sixhaven Marina in Amsterdam, looking forward to exploring the city.