These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over nine years now and are still loving it. Our Ulster born Shih Tzu, Shannon, has grown up, and has taken over the boat! After three wonderful years in Ireland, we transported The Puzzler to The Netherlands, and spent a year there. In 2015 we went southwards, to reach the north of France by June. After glorious weather throughout the summer, we arrived in Roanne in late October, and enjoyed our winter in this friendly port. We cruised extensively in France in 2016, 2017 and 2018, returning to Roanne each winter.

Monday, 6 October 2014

1st - 4th October. Our location in Holland on Flevoland. On to Almere-stad, then across Gooimeer and Markermeer to the island of Hooft.

Having been right over to the eastern border of the Netherlands, we are now back in Flevoland, as shown by the orange dot.
This mooring in Flevoland caters for campervans too, and we found extremely good walking in the woods nearby. We are quite near to the town of Lelystad here.
Our original idea was take our time on Flevoland, and to cross the Markermeer on Sunday, but the weather forecast has changed its mind, so we have pushed on, missing a visit to Lelystad. We managed to reach our friends, Ed and Olga, in Almere-stad by Thursday evening and had a great time with them.
In order to reach the lock at Almere-Haven by 10am, our booked time, we set off just after 7am, as soon as it was light. However, our route was across the Noorder Plassen, where we had to stop for half an hour, as the mist was too thick to see anything! After a while it began to clear, so we crept on until we found a marker to follow for our route.
Almere Sluis is built into the dike ahead of us. At this time of year it is only opened at 10am and 3pm, by arrangement. We managed to get here by 9.45, despite being delayed by the mist, as the sun eventually broke through.

Once in the lock, it seems a long way to go up!

We go up 5 metres in this lock, but these "floating" bollards make it so gentle. I kept waiting for the surge of water coming into the lock, but it never came!
From Almere-Haven we sail along Gooimeer, which is the most westerly part of the Randermeer. If we had wanted, we could have sailed along the full length of the Randermeer, to the south of Flevoland, all the way from Ketelmeer, but we prefer the inland route to these wide waters. We do not have a choice about this part though!
We have to go left of the green marker, then on  through the arch marked by the two yellow lights at Hollandse Bridge, which looks tricky, from this view! However the work barges are actually further from the bridge than it looks, and there was plenty of room to go behind them. They seem to be building a new bridge here, beside the current one.

In the distance we could see innumerable swans, sitting on the rocks.

As the weather was so calm, we went across to Hooft Island for a break, before the final stretch across to Muiden. It was so lovely that we stayed there until Sunday, only regretting it during some strong winds on Saturday, when we did bounce! During the weekend more boats of all types arrived, and the wind moved to the north, so the island protected us.

The island of Hooft is made of sand, but is protected from the waves by breakwaters, especially on this northern shoreline.

Well, everyone needs their own director's chair!

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