“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”


Nr 51. The Walcheren Canal

After the challenging sail from Stellendam to Goes, we stayed a few days in Goes. The harbor was called ‘Het Goese Sas’, a small harbor with a friendly harbormaster. We cycled around in the area of Goes and did some shopping. Of course we bought the famous ‘Zeeuwse bolus’, a delicacy overhere!

Our next trip would be to Vlissingen. Despite our recent experiences with bridges and locks, we wanted to sail in between the islands again instead of going offshore and sail via the Nordsea. We had 2 ‘sentimental’ reasons for that: Gilles has bought his first boat in 2012 at the Veerse Meer, from the owner who lived in Veere. It was a small motorboat of 6 meters long called Hector. After we bought the catamaran (Gilles second boat, so quite an upgrade 😊), we sold Hector a year later in 2020. But it was hard to say goodbye to Hector, because we have had so many nice weekend-trips in the Netherlands with this boat. For example sailing to Amsterdam on Queensday, sailing the Vecht, going to Enkhuizen or Hoorn. So Gilles wanted to see the area of Veere again, which is also known for being a nice area to sail.

The second reason to stay sailing inland, is that Gilles wanted to pay a visit to Hotel De Nieuwe Doelen in Middelburg. He stayed here in 2000 for 6 months while working in the city of Vlissingen, since it was too far to travel to Vlissingen from Almere where he lived at that time.

So we started to sail from Goes to Vlissingen, first crossing Het Veerse Meer, which was indeed beautiful, surrounded by green grasslands. At the city of Veere, we entered the Walcheren Canal by going through 2 locks which went smoothly.

The Walcheren Canal has been here since 1870 and was developed to have better accessibility to Middelburg and Vlissingen. It’s a 2 hour trip with about 5 bridges, and passing nice cities like Oost-Souburg, Middelburg and Vlissingen. The Walcheren Canal has a great system, called the Blue Wave, the same as the green wave with traffic lights over the road. If you pass the first bridge with your boat and you keep your speed at 5 knots per hour, all other bridges to come will open automatically for your boat!

At Hotel De Nieuwe Doelen, which is situated right at the Canal, we tied our boat up at the quay and walked to the entrance of the hotel. On the internet, Gilles had seen that the Eduard and his wife Sabine were still the owners of the hotel. And when we walked into the hotel, Eduard said: ‘Wow, Gilles, that must be 3.000 years ago!”. We were so surprised that he remembered Gilles staying at the hotel more than 20 years ago and also remembered his name! We sat down at the hotel bar and had a great conversation with Eduard, reminiscing on old memories. Eduard is also a boatlover and he visited our catamaran in front of his hotel. Then we said goodbye to him, really enjoyed the surprise visit and sailed further to Vlissingen, which was only 30 minutes further thanks to the Blue Wave system.

In Vlissingen we entered the city harbor, which has a great view on the world famous shipbuilder Damen with beautiful mega-yachts in front of their shipyard. The city harbor is very cosy and has a great restaurant which we visited. On the menu was also English breakfast, which had to do with the international workers, mainly from England/Scotland, who work in the harbors of Vlissingen.

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