On Saturday the departure was at 8am and it took 13.5 hours to sail 78 miles to the island of Vlieland. North wind was still blowing and we were sailing for most of the day. During the day it was also time to change a second courtesy flag of the summer to Suwena’s right spreader. The German flag was salty indeed when I lowered it and replaced with a Netherland’s flag. On the Baltic Sea the flags do not become saturated with salt.
The entrance to Waddenhaven marina is only 16 metres wide and the cross current can be up to four knots. There are regular collisions at the entrance when boats pass the current to enter the harbour. Story tells that one of the piles need to be changed regularily because the boats continuously hit it. There is a four page PDF on the web page of Waddenhaven
how to enter the harbour at different tide currents. The best is of course to aim for a slack tide either at low or high water. When in the afternoon the wind started to ease up and we were sailing against the North Sea current it was time to make sure that we will hit the slack tide. The Perkins was fired up and finally we were motorsailing for 32 miles.
Our plan worked smoothly and we entered the harbour without any current. The marina was already full like we were told beforehand. Fortunately we found a similar sized steel boat as Suwena and soon we were rafted with her. The Dutch skipper informed that they are going to leave at 9am on Sunday morning. That was ok for us because their departure was just at nine in the morning.
We were checking the mooring lines when from a RIB on a port side of Suwena we heard a brisk greeting, “Hello Sir, Netherland’s customs, may we come aboard?” Two extremely friendly customs officers stepped aboard Suwena and asked to see our passports and boat’s papers. It took some time to fill up some forms and we were questioned about the boat, crew and route. Their biggest interest seemed to be the amount of tax-free shoppings from Helgoland. Everything was in order and with a friendly greetings they left the boat. It seems it’s not easy to be a customs officer with a long shifts and still checking the boats at 10pm on Saturday evenings.
On Sunday we were eagerly waiting for departure of our neighbours so we could moor alongside. After all we had arrived into the paradise of the bicycling trips and wanted to get our foldable tandem out. Unloading is quite a lot more challenging compared to carring a small foldable bicycles.
Vlieland is one of the five Dutch West-Frisian islands. It is a popular outing destination and there are quite a few bicycling routes. We went cycling on both days and it was a great fun. The roads and paths were winding across the island on dunes, forest, horse pastures and even some small meadows. The western part of the island consists of only sand and dunes. The swell from the North Sea hits the north coast while on the southern side of the island is a Waddenzee. The birds were swarming on a seabed revealed by a tide and were looking for something to eat. Overall Vlieland is a very charming island.
From the cruiser’s perspective it is nice that there are two well stocked grocery stores in Oost-Vlieland village, Koop and Spar. Now that we had a bicycle it was easy to replenish our onboard stores without stretching our arms. If we hand carried all the food at home as well then for sure we would buy less useless stuff and maybe even would get a few kilos off the belt 🙂
Next to Suwena was an interesting traditional Dutch sailing boat. It had leeboards on both the sides that can be lowered on a lee side during the sailing. We have seen such a boats for some time and they look funny lying on a sand during the low tide. Hopefully the crew have put the anchor out otherwise the rising tide will take the boat while they are relaxing on a shore.