As I write this, we are tied up to the side of the canal in a tiny village named Aldeboarn. The fact that we got here was an interesting international story, actually. (Let the adventure begin.)
Let’s start back a week ago when we first heard of the “Turf Route“…
We have a book about 50 great cruising routes in the Netherlands, but the Turf Route is not on it. If you search for the Turf Route, what you discover is this:
- A network of waterways was under construction in the 16th century where turf skippers transported cargo to the west part of the country.
- The Turf Route travels over these ancient waterways.
- It goes through 4 national parks.
- The route’s name refers to the past of men of position, turf bosses and poor turf diggers. The turf trade made some of the major Frisian families quite rich. Their legacy, country estates with beautiful gardens and parks, can be seen at places like Bakkeveen, Oldeberkoop, Beetsterzwaag and Oranjewoud.
- The Turf Route is recommended for “experienced” cruisers (I suspect they mean people who know how to stop their boat, tie up to the waiting area, and not hit things).
We left Grou this morning and went through Akkrum (which has small canals going through raising bridges). After the 2nd bridge, as I was taking a picture of a cute wooden skiff on the side of the canal, there was a “clunk clunk” noise, and David said, “the prop just fell off, we don’t have any forward or reverse.” We were in the middle of a crossing without any propulsion other than the bow thruster. David was able to thrust us (and we drifted) over to a private dock, at which point we realized we could push the boat up towards the waiting area and grab one of the bollards from the bow. Once we were one line on, we walked the boat forward down the bollards until we were tied onto the waiting area, then turned the engine off and had to think about what to do.
The bridgekeeper was talking to us across the canal, at which point we explained the situation, and he gave us his personal phone number and said to call in 3 minutes. The second time I called him, it was to inquire about a diver, because by then we assumed the prop had fallen off and was in the middle of the canal, and we were going to be rescued by our boat yard owner sometime later today or tomorrow morning. That was when he told me that he’d met us before 5 years ago when he was the harbormaster in Grou (that was obviously not us)… and then he told the neighbors across the canal from us what was going on, and the neighbors on our side (Klaus and Linda) and the 2 guys on the other side (Andres and Jan) decided they must come to our rescue. And rescue they did!
5 Star Review for the People of Akkrum (or at least our 4 friends)
Klaus and Andres rowed over to our boat. They determined the prop was absolutely on there, and then heads down into the engine and saw bolts and nuts laying down around the shaft. The guy that installed the engine had not installed the bolts/nuts with nylocks, washers, or anything to lock them onto there, so they vibrated off, and ultimately our shaft and clutch were disengaged from each other. For 45 minutes, the three guys worked on the engine and voila – they pieced it back together. After a beer, and an exchange of a card, we bid our new Dutch friends farewell and continued on to Aldeboarn.
Not as High as Tzum
Aldeboarn is a tiny little village, population less than 2000 people. It was first mentioned in 1243 as “jn Bornde” (“Boorne” is a river name here, “Alde” is old). Aldeboarn developed in the 11th or 12th century along the Boorne river. It was a long terp (artificial living mound) village, surrounded by water at one point. It was a trading place, and a regional center. It hasn’t grown much.
Back when they built the church tower (quite a few hundred years ago), the builders wanted it to be the tallest tower in Friesland. At the time, the church at Tzum was the tallest tower. So, 2 guys visited Tzum, climbed to the top of the church tower, and measured the height with a rope. That evening, while they were sleeping in the inn, the keeper (who knew what they were up to) cut a bunch of feet off the rope. The tower still isn’t taller than the one in Tzum.
It is hotter than hell here today. High 80’s, 80% humidity, and it’s been hot for a few days now. It’s not supposed to be this hot here, and even though there’s water everywhere surrounded by land, the land is now dry and yellow. This is not the way it’s supposed to be here. Tomorrow it should be cooler, and we are going to get a few days of rain in the coming week. I do worry that this heat and the dry land is fodder for Netherlands catching fire like America’s west and east coast has.
Tacos and Margarita Flavored Margaritas
Every afternoon I get to have the same conversation with my girlfriends over Signal that I have every morning when we all wake up on west coast time. We’re regularly in touch, short of a few hours where we don’t overlap. I am also carrying on business the same way I always have, and having Zoom meetings with clients (some don’t even know we’re over here). But, the one thing I miss most of all is street tacos. I miss Masa in Point Richmond and their street tacos. Leeuwarden does have a street taco shop, so when we go up there (first stop after Turf Route), that may be my first stop in Leeuwarden.
Aldeboarn Local Knowledge
Best place to moor: left side of canal in the middle of town, just past the 2nd of 2 bridges
There is a green board with a button on it to call the bridgekeeper on the left side just before the 1st bridge. Don’t miss it. If you are coming the other way, it’s the same situation.
There is a toilet, but no showers. Electricity appears to have been free.