By Bela Evers

Spreading our wings

After being based out of the Zutphen’s harbour for 5 months, it was time to broaden horizons. We were ready to go on longer trips from harbour to harbour along the Dutch waterways. Real adventure while getting some serious rowing hours in. Pretty fun and seeing a bit of Holland at the same time.

At the beginning of March we already did a 2 day stint first rowing from Zutphen to Kampen and then Kampen to Harderwijk. A tour of over about 120km. Beautiful to row along the Ijssel, into the Drontemeer and finaly towards the Ijsselmeer. A friend of mine had a place reserved at the Harderwijk harbour which was our temporary base for a months. Having had some glorious cold and sunny rowing days it was time again to move on. Wilco, Paul and myself had agreed to row our training boat from Harderwijk to Naarden. Continuing our tour along the Dutch waterways by rowing boat. Joost, who has been training with us while at Zutphen, stepped in as the 4th rower.

Easter Saturday
After having left one car in Naarden in the early morning, we drove further with another car to Harderwijk, picking up Paul on the way. It was our last time in Harderwijk, where we’ve had some great training sessions with various guest rowers. And what a beautiful day it was. Blue skies and sunshine with a light breeze. Probably the first time we all rowed in short sleeves. You can definitely tell it was feeling like Spring. For the first time we found it busier than usual on the waters, especially being Easter weekend. It seems the water recreationalist have come out of their winter sleep.
Joost was reminding us of how the the coast of Harderwijk was once the coastline of the Netherlands. The Afsluitdijk that was built in 1932, creating the Ijsselmeer, changed the face of Harderwijk and other inner coastal towns. Fishermen who once earned their income lost their jobs as the salt water became sweet.

The changing landscape of the waterways
It is a real gift to be able to row along this stretch of water and experiencing the different changing waterways. After leaving the broader Wolderwijd lake of Harderwijk, we entered into a more narrow stretch of water, lined with trees, plenty of swans and many tourist villages along the way. It took a good hour or two before the scene changed again. We entered a broader lake (Eemmeer), lined with huge windmills which made us feel pretty small. When we got to Huizen, rowing into the Gooimeer we realized it wasn’t long anymore. Throughout our journey we kept to a rythmn of rowing 1.5 hours and steering for 30 minutes, We’d rotate every 30 minutes.

Last Shift
Bela took the last steering shift before entering Naarden. The wind surf foilers were a pleasure to see on the way. Joost was convinced we were taking a wrong route, but Bela was sure of her navigation bringing us nicely into Harderwijk. As we turned into the private waters next to the harbour we were warmly welcomed by two members of the Naarden Coastal Rowing Club. Bela had arranged with one of the members to be able to moor our boat in his ‘box’. It’s our temporary base for the next few weeks before setting off again into the big wide world of the Dutch waterways. Next destination – Amsterdam.

For now satisfied with more than 5 hours of rowing with 44 more training kilometers under the belt!