Dover to Amsterdam – 165 Miles

by Adrian on May 25, 2012

An early morning departure of 7am took us out into the Channel shipping lanes.
The only problem was that we couldn’t see anything. Visibility was about 500m, then 200m then 50m. Really thick fog.

Undeterred (we have an excellent Simrad digital radar on board) we carefully continued on our course across the Channel. I was pleased I’d also bought and installed an automatic loud hailer fog horn, which we activated to announce our presence every two minutes to other vessels in the fog.

We passed safely by a number of large container and other commercial ships, their powerful fog horns blasting out into the murk. It is very strange knowing a huge ship is out there, being able to hear its engines and fog horn, but not see it.

As we closed the French coast the fog worsened and we became totally dependant on the radar to see around us. Unfortunately that was the story for the whole trip. We spent about 20 hours in fog navigating up the French, Belgium and Dutch coast keeping watch by radar and ‘all available means’ (ie peering out into the gloom)

Pea soup in a pea souper…

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We were only about 10 miles off most of the time, but couldn’t see anything. we were motoring (no wind, hence the fog) so the passage was smooth and easy.

Jacqui had pre-prepared a nice tuna pasta bake for dinner, which given the cold and damp was very welcome. We stood 3 hour night watches with Sandra and Geoff joining Adrian and Jacqui to stare into the darkness as we trudged up the coast.

Passing by the busy Rotterdam port entrance at 0100

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At around dawn the fog finally lifted and we were treated to the sight of the Dutch coast and the Ijmuden entrance to to Amsterdam canal system.

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At around 0700 we entered the main lock and then spent 2 1/2 hours heading inland past the early morning commuters towards the centre of Amsterdam.

Our destination was Sixhaven marina, which is right in the heart of he city. This small, tight and crowded marina lived up to its reputation of unconventional ‘stack them anywhere’ mooring as we were directed to moor beam on to the end of a finger pontoon. Fortunately with no wind or current it was reasonably easy once we’d figured out where and how to tie ourselves up.

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