Getting My North On
"God Created the World but the Dutch Created the Netherlands"
The past month I've been running away from Utrecht every weekend in the womb of the Hajji to check out some places up north, as my time is rapidly dwindling here. Here where she has been going....
To start...last year in Maastricht I was biking across the bridge one day and I noticed a very dangerous looking ship docked near the Mississippi Coffeeshop. To my delight there was a Canadian flag hanging on the back of this boat! Oh my delight! I was naturally curious and affectionate, and over a year later I am thankful I was. Clive Hammond, born in South Africa but holding a Canadian passport, built a Chinese Junk named the Nuthin Wong in Victoria B.C. over 20 years ago.
Clive doing repairs on the mast
Nuthin Wong anchored in Enkhuizen
Since then he has been sailing the world non-stop. Awesome right? Here is his blog, although very out of date
When I met him we cruised up the canals of the Netherlands towards Amsterdam, where he has spent the last winter doing repairs, selling his book (which is a good read!) and spreading the word about his next journey. Now the repairs are finished and they are putting the last touches on the Nuthin Wong before setting out on a 3-year journey that will take them north through Scandinavia, Scotland and the U.K., eventually across the ocean, through the Panama canal, and up back to Victoria. Given my northern location now, its a perfect spot to hop up to the Nuthin Wong. I've done so twice in the last month to help with repairs and revel in revelry.
Sexy New Canadian Flag Painted on the Deck
The first time the boat was anchored in the historic port town of Hoorn, just north of Amsterdam. We drank and sang. Its a side of Netherlands you will never see in the major cities, and given the long nautical history which surrounds the Dutch I am happy to have tapped into it. Hoorn is definately one of the coolest towns I've seen in Holland. The ship was anchored off the harbor (it costs money to stay in the harbor) which meant we had to row into the town for any shopping, drinking, or dancing we wanted to do. I was happy to help
Ben rowing into Hoorn
Here is a link to a full album of photos from this journey
The second time I brought my Kiwi friend Brett with me. This time the boat was further north in the town of Enkhuizen, which was cool but not as nice as Hoorn I thought. Driving to Enkhuizen you get to drive over a 30km dam. If you ever have time to sit down with a map of Holland and see how much of the country was created by damming off massive areas of water, its really remarkable. Driving over the dam you are on a two lane road and have water on both sides. At night its windy and kind of scary to drive, but Brett whispered calm reassurances in my ear.
Dam from Lelystad to Enkhuizen
Arrival in Enkhuizen!
Brett up the Mast
Front Flipping In the Ijsselmeer
Another great weekend full of adventure!