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Trip Report Sailing the Wad, lots of photos

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I spent three days aboard my son's ship last week. They had an individual trip arranged, but didn't have many guests so I got to go too.:)
We sailed the Wadden sea, a UNESCO site.

I arrived in Harlingen on Sunday evening, after dinner. Together with the other guests, a couple from Switzerland, a couple of German girls, and a Dutch couple, we were welcomed with tea or coffee and got to know each other a bit. Later beer and wine was available at €1 a glass .Jana, my DIL had a selection of local cheeses for us to try too.
My husband took me to the ship so he left later that evening as he had to work on Monday.

Monday dawned bright and sunny with a good wind. Jana provided us all with a wonderful breakfast so we were ready to sail.
The mate, Jens, gave us a safety talk and showed us the ropes, literally. We were expected to be active participants on this trip! We left Harlingen and once out of the harbour raised the sails set off for Terschelling.
It was busy on the Wadden sea due to a sailing race, also going from Harlingen to Terschelling. It didn't stop us enjoying all the wonderful food Jana prepared for us!

We made good time and arrived in Terschelling in the afternoon. I took Duque, the ships dog, for a walk on the beach before going into the village. While enjoying an ice cream I reminisced on the last time I was there - to see my son and Jana marry in the Brandaris lighthouse.
Jana did us proud again that evening with another wonderful meal.

Tuesday we were all up early ready to sail at 9 am. Sadly the weather was not goo - wet and cold, and Chris, my son debated whether to set off so early or not. Eventually we did go, about half an hour behind schedule, as the forecast was for improving weather.
The Wadden sea is very shallow, and at low tide there are lots of tidal flats. Because the Excelsior is flat bottomed, like most traditional Dutch boats, it is possible to sail onto one of these flats, and wait for the tide to go out. Chris headed for one of these flats, off the island of Vlieland, and we waited for the tide to retreat. Soon we were walking on the sea bottom. An amazing experience. Surrounded by sea, but still on the bottom. star fish, crabs, seals bobbing up and down just off the flat. Amazing.
Before long it was time to get back aboard and wait to re-float.

We spent the evening in Vlieland harbour. I didn't go ashore, though the others did, as I wanted a shower, and to help Jana. Vlieland is a delightful village, and the whole island is very special - only a few cars for the locals, no other cars allowed.
There was a spectacular sunset, and later we watched the bio-luminescence in the warm harbour waters. Our own little light show.

I was up early on Wednesday, and enjoyed some quiet time on deck, listening to a cuckoo in the nearby woods, and enjoying the amazing light.
After breakfast we set sail for Harlingen again. It took a lot longer than planned due to the lack of wind - we ended up lowering the sails and motoring home. We did find time for some games on the foredeck though.
All too soon it was time to say goodbye to new found friends and wave Jens off back to his own ship. I then spent a lovely evening with my son and DIL, and my husband who came back up to collect me.

Normally Jana is mate on the ship, but because she was doing the catering they hired in another mate. They also had a young German lad aboard who is hoping to become a mate this summer, if he can find a ship.

I hope my trip report and photos will inspire some of you to look further than Amsterdam, when planning your next visit to the Netherlands ;)

Photos: http://tinyurl.com/69htx98

More info on sailing the Wad : http://www.historischezeilvaart.co.uk/

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