We left Hommerts at 07.30 with dark storm clouds either side of us. We donned our rain gear and headed for Lemmer at the top of the IJsselmeer.
It took us 1 hour to get there. There is a large lock to go through to get to the meer, and we were sharing the lock with a huge commercial vessel (we thought we better let him go in first!).
It was certainly not the best of days to on the IJsselmeer in a tjalk! It was rough, to say the least. Martin reckoned it was a force 6, with the amount of spume coming off of the waves. The swell was about 6 feet, and the tjalk pitched and rolled a lot as we went along. The weather was dreadful, a cold wind from the North, and lots of rain showers just made the journey more miserable. The light fittings swung, and the cupboards opened their doors and spewed their contents onto the floor (including our dinner for that night). As Martin held fast to the wheel, I held on just to stay upright. By this time I was more than a little scared. I thought about what sailors did in the past when at sea, and I decided to sing sea shanties in my head to lift my spirits a bit and take my mind off the possibility of the situation getting any worse.
After two hours we reached Urk and decided to stop. The bilge was filling with water (it was coming in through drain plugs that we didn’t know we had), and we were both hungry and tired. We made the decision that perhaps we would use the canals from now on as we’d had enough of the Ijsselmeer at this point!! However, Martin was very impressed with how the tjalk handled in quite rough water.Urk (part way along the IJsselmeer) is a lovely little place, and we moored along the quayside.
The Harbourmaster came to greet us as Martin was making an attempt to rid the bilge of the collected water. He offered to get us a pump from his office to make the job easier, and with the help of a very kind gentleman, Hans, whose boat was moored just down from us, Martin and the Harbourmaster managed to pump out the water from the bilge. At this point, we offered both the Harbourmaster and Hans a beer. The Harbourmaster declined as he was on duty, but Hans accepted and later helped us with planning our route. Hans advised us that the weather would be much better tomorrow, and that the IJsselmere was really the best route if we were pushed for time (which we are now). He suggested that we download iSailor on my iphone for a better map, and he then showed us around his boat.
After we had thanked Hans again we went back to the tjalk to clear up the mess, and boy was it a mess!! We decided to replenish our food stocks, and fill up our water canisters. We are eating out this evening, and staying in Urk for the night. We were hoping to have reached Amsterdam today, oh well, maybe tomorrow then.
Captin’s log: My admiration for Sarah has increased beyond measure after the way she handled today’s Ijsselmere trip. Martin.