Leeuwarden - Stadskanaal

Monday the 28th of May 2018. A picture of our ship at the time, in Leeuwarden. Just a reminder – and we think it’s a nice picture. The left skyscraper is called the Achmeatoren (Achmeatower, Achmea being a financial services-company), height 114,6 meters (around 380 feet); the right one is named Averotoren (Averotower, Avero being -you already guessed it- a financial service-company too), height ‘only’ 77 meters (over 250 feet). The two towers, close to Leeuwarden’s train-station, are iconic for the city and visible from afar, when one’s still somewhere in Friesland ‘in the middle of nowhere’.

After three nights in Leeuwarden, a visit by good friends included, we left the city on Thursday the 31st at 8:55AM, intended destination Groningen – the city, that is. We tackled (parts of) the Westerstadsgracht, Harlingervaart, Van Harinxmakanaal, Langdeel, Lange Mear, Wide Hop, Wide Ie, Prinses Margrietkanaal, Burgumer Mar, Prinses Margrietkanaal again and Van Starkenborchkanaal. This is a picture of the Burgumer Mar/Bergumermeer – the last Frisian Lake for this year. Do they have water in Friesland!

Locks are a kind of a rarity in this part of the country. We did, however, two this day – the first being the Gaarkeukensluis, just after passing the Friesland/Groningen (province in this case) border. This name is a notable one, in English it would be ‘Soup kitchen-lock’, reason to dedicate some extra attention to it. This was around 2:22PM; the second one, named Oostersluis, crossed our path not earlier than 4:49PM.


A straight canal is, errr not exactly boring, but a certain monotony sometimes cannot be denied. Until one sees a working water-mill, using the wind to keep the low-lying polder (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polder) dry.

Groningen was reached at 5:37PM – so the engine ran for around 8½ hours! We moored under wet circumstances, while a thunderstorm had developed and the rain came pouring down. No, our way of life is, for certain, not for the faint-hearted! The picture was of course made under more favourable circumstances, the next day at 8:21AM.

After paying the price for one night, and having emphatically complained about its level (€ 29,00 and a few more cents, for one night) we left on Friday the 1st of June 2018 at 10:15AM. After entering the Winschoterdiep and planning to cruise via Veendam we noticed a sign on the way, indicating a(n alternative) route into Germany. As we plan to go to Berlin (if we can make it) we consulted our map and concluded this route suitable for us; the lowest bridge being 3 meters (10 feet) and the water-depth 1,20 meter (4 feet). We need 3 meters and 1 meter respectively. The first water, called Drentsche Vaart (although still within the Groningen province) proved to be a winding beauty. This picture, yes a mill again and a house too, shows a close-to-paradise spot along this lovely waterway.

Just a random picture of the surrounding land. It’s really ultimately restful. The Winschoterdiep, especially its adjacent industrial activities, are still visible in the background. Alternatively the Drentsche Vaart is a completely different world. Grab the chance to go there if you can!

  • Bird/animal watching

    The birdwatchers of course have discovered this bird-paradise. So there’s an observation post in the middle of this ultimately quiet area. They looked at the birds...

  • Homo sapiens watching

    ...using their binoculars and, after we waved at them, they waved back at us and used their binoculars at the same time to get some details of us – or perhaps our ship.

  • Zuidlaardermeer (I)

    The stunning Drentsche Vaart was followed by the vast Zuidlaardermeer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zuidlaardermeer). Not for the first time the buoys...

  • Zuidlaardermeer (II)

    ...differed from our map. Maybe we should buy a new map (ours dates from 2016) of maybe we are less good in reading open-water-maps than we’d like to think…

Anyway, we found the exit in one go, being the entrance to a water called Leine Wijk. After that we had to wait around ½ hour for a crew that would open the bridges and operate the locks for a convoy of three boats – our ship being one of them- in the canals to follow.

The accompanying crew was formed by four motor scooter-ised men. They played leap-frog, thus creating a more-or-less uninterrupted journey, using three narrow and shallow canals with a few tight bends, extremely tight at a 90° angle or even worse. The crew is pictured for 75% here. On the right one of the numberless pedestrian swing-bridges is visible.

Annerveenschekanaal – Annermond

The entire route is hardly do-able in one day. Therefore, a brand-new little harbour is created in a little village, called Annerveenschekanaal (no joke, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annerveenschekanaal). It’s for free, electricity included, as is the service by the crew. Our engine was switched off at 3:15PM. This is what it looks like – videoed because of the singing birds. The name of this little port is Annermond.

The short video showed some swimming youngsters. Completely understandable, as it had been a hot day. The clouds, however, were already building up, resulting in pouring rain later that afternoon. Here’s is the view from inside our wheelhouse at 6:57PM.

On Friday the motor scooter-ised brigade worked uninterrupted two hours for us. Saturday morning they popped up again at 7:45AM. As a consequence we left at 7:50AM and, after passing another bunch of bridges and a few locks we ended up in Stadskanaal at 11:15AM. And this is where we still are today, Sunday the 3rd of June 2018. Next week we’ll be in Germany, so watch this space!