After 9 months in Makkum for the small matter of a lick of paint Khujada 2 is underway once again and back on the IJsselmeer.
Transit from Schiphol and celebrating our reunion was followed by 1) provisioning plus satisfyingly brief tourism in Makkum’s 17thC centre, and 2) unsatisfyingly lengthy checking of the boat.
All this preceded our first family trip in more than a year with an overnight stay off Makkum beach (yes, beautiful and sandy) on the hottest day of the year.
LEARNING: be wary of setting out onto the Ijsselmeer* on a hot day in May** since your vessel is the only landing spot for miles around for swarming insects.
* or any unspoilt inland sea or large lake ** I imagine other months are available
The 30 degree temperatures had triggered clouds of mosquitoes, and within minutes the main, dinghy, cockpit – the whole boat! – were covered in tens (hundreds?) of thousands of these tiny nuisances. By the time we’d anchored the whole family had barred themselves inside. Encouragingly it kept the children quiet on the trip into the beach as they sought not to swallow the unwanted extra dose of protein, but fortunately they were still young so minimal biting reported.
The following morning most were still there but at least they were pacified by the overnight cooling and no longer swarming.
The wind picked up to a brisk BF4 so we motored upwind to Medemblik to avoid making everyone seasick on our first day of sailing.
Medemblik charmed from the off with goslings galore, 12thC Radboud castle (refuge from Gruette Pier and his band of pirates in 16thC) with stocks, moat and lilypads. Pekelharinghaven looked well located and proved a super choice, Skipper only gently bumping one of the wooden pilings on his sharp left-hander as the crew took on their first Dutch-style marina arrival (loops over ‘box berth’ pilings and pontoon cleats).
When in Holland, go visit a windmill.
We picked Molen de Herder on the edge of town, a national monument even though only reconstructed in 20thC because it used authentic pieces recovered from other old windmills.
On the way back we walked along the seawall where the children could compare the polder height to the water level in the IJsselmeer, illustrating the recovery of all the arable land to the west from the sea.
Our second morning in Medemblik the early bird was woken by the earliest bird – a lonely white nosed black grebe / duck pining for a mate at 0400 – a little early for the dawn chorus and quite a racket.
Skipper’s morning constitutional was interrupted – on disembarking on our pontoon and opposite were a dozen denizens all transfixed by all three families of local geese making their regal way up the allee to take a tour of their domain, six adults and more than twenty goslings.
The swallow that kept trying to distract him with its admittedly punchy morning chorus placed second.
Crunching on the lawn next to Radboud Castle, Skipper was accompanied by two herons beadily stalking the castle moat and ignoring the Vissen Verboten warning sign (!).
The shine taken off by the queue for the men’s showers – the main payback for nautical women who suffer the long queues everywhere else ….