It’s been over 1-year since we dropped and set an anchor from aboard S/V Rode Trip and now, for the first time along our canal travels, we had an opportunity to anchor Detour. Just like riding a bicycle, right? Previously we had a completely manual, fantastic system. We’d communicated well with one another and used the same technique for dropping and setting the anchor each time; we’d anchored so frequently that each of us could do it independently (provided good conditions) and rarely did we have to utter more than two words from the bow, “You’re IN!” As we entered the Leukermeer, a fabulously large lake opened before our eyes and we looked at one another with delight. We were both thinking it, oooh goody, we can anchor! An then, I shattered the moment with one, logical question, “How do you anchor with a windlass?” Brian thought for a moment and responded, “Don’t know, never used one.” And so we continued farther into the Leukermeer ready to just figure it out!
The Leukermeer was bustling with activity. The lake had two large marinas, one smaller marina providing guest spaces, and two large campgrounds. There were motor yachts, dinghies, row boats, and sailing yachts buzzing all around the lake. Using our ANWB navigational app for the iPad, we scouted the mooring places. Indeed, each mooring space had two or more boats but there was something a bit different about these moorings. The boats were moored to the shoreline, bow first, all in a row. Interesting. Farther still into the lake there were two boats anchored, yet still the same shoreline moorings. We thought about this for a while. “Let’s try it!” Brian proposed. I was hesitant. We’d certainly moored to the shoreline along the canals, but I wasn’t sure how this would work. I hemmed and hawed while Brian went straight to work getting the stern anchor from the storage locker as the boat drifted in the open water. “Ok,” I finally agreed, “there are larger boats moored the same way, it should be alright for the boat. Besides, if we are going to stop here we might as well be able to get ashore since we still don’t have a dinghy.” Anchor out, docklines ready, stakes and hammer available, we scanned the shoreline and selected a quiet looking spot with only one other sailboat moored.
As we approached the mooring space, the couple aboard S/V Gibson hopped out of their sailboat. Not only willing to catch a shoreline, when I cautioned them this was our first attempt ever at this type of anchoring, they were each reassuring and totally walked us through this process. I can’t thank Rob and Susan enough! Brian drove Detour slowly toward the shore while Rob explained what lines we would need; two from the bow, two from the middle. I went to work prepping lines and threw them to Rob, followed by our stakes and hammer and he hammered the stakes into the ground. Meanwhile, Brian had dropped the stern anchor while continuing to inch forward. The bow just touched the shoreline, boat still floating no worries. Rob attached lines to the stakes in the ground and handed me back the free ends so the lines could be adjusted from the boat. Susan continued to hold the bow rail, ensuring the boat would stay positioned. Once two bow lines were loosely tied, Rob told Brian to check the anchor. “If it’s not in, we’ll have to do this again,” he said. Brian pulled, and pulled, and pulled on the slack anchor rode…finally, hooked! The anchor was set. Brian then joined Rob ashore and I remained on the boat per their instructions to adjust the shorelines. We were anchored, Dutch style!Rob looked up, mission accomplished, and said, “That’s a big boat.” Now moored next to Gibson, roughly the size S/V Rode Trip had been, we had good perspective on our upgrade. Rob’s comment began a conversation that went on, and on, and on as we quickly got acquainted. Rob and Susan are our age. They had resurrected Gibson, Rob’s father’s boat, from the boatyard and have been sailing the boat during holidays. They’d just begun a week’s holiday at the Leukermeer, which is very near their home port. We kept chatting and chatting and when Rob and Susan began explaining the layout of the Leukermeer and it’s trails we realized we still hadn’t solved the problem of getting ashore. Climbing over the bow rail, under the overhanging mast would be no easy feat! Rob and Susan had a nice, secure ladder coming ashore from their bow; obviously professionals! I hauled the gangplank out of the storage locker and brought it to the bow. “Let’s use this! We never get to use this!” At this idea Brian was hesitant, “I don’t think that’ll work.” But Rob was optimistic, “Sure it will! Do you have any rope?” Brian fished some rope from the storage locker and Rob soon fastened the gangplank to the anchor roller on the bow. A walkway fit for a princess! We chatted and chatted some more with Rob and Susan and then finally broke for a little exploration of the lake, only to return later for beers and conversation aboard Detour.
Brian and I walked around the Leukermeer. It was blackberry season, which made for a nice appetizer prior to dinner. There were people everywhere enjoying the fresh water and sunshine. It had been a hot afternoon. Making a wrong turn, we stumbled into a field of flowers.Back on track, we’d reached the opposite side of the Leukermeer and had a splendid view of Detour and Gibson.We crossed the bridge over the entrance to the lake, after nosing through one marina, then got distracted in the campground looking at all the neat water toys for the children. It’s times like those, when cable-bridges and ropes courses are available, that we wish we had our little friends along to give us an excuse to play! The next morning I went running to explore the neighboring lake, Reindeersmeer. The Reindeersmeer is separated from the Leukermeer via a lock. The lock does not allow boats into the Reindeersmeer because it is a nature preserve. The lock actually has a restaurant inside! The nature preserve had great hiking trails and was absolutely gorgeous. It even had a cable-bridge that I got to use to pull myself across the Reindeersmeer! I woke Brian with my adventure and I think for once he was actually a bit jealous that he hadn’t gone for a run too. We had a great tour aboard Gibson and more wonderful conversation with Rob and Susan. Susan had me practicing Dutch words that she had taught me the night before. We learned much about the Nederlands and made wonderful friends during such a short visit to a beautiful location. We departed the Leukermeer that afternoon, anxious for the next discovery.