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Medemblik was a prosperous trading town in 1289 when it was awarded city rights and is the oldest port on the IJsselmeer. It’s a wonderful town to explore, with a fortress dating from its founding and centuries-old houses overlooking historic canals.

From Den Helder, we ran 26 miles south to anchor off Andijk, passing through through the Afsluitdijk dam and into the IJsselmeer en route. From there we ran the tender 3.5 miles to tour Medemblik. Below are trip highlights from October 28th and 29th, 2019 in the IJsselmeer, Netherlands. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

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Spectacular orange sunrise as we’re underway from Den Helder.
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Den Oever Bridge
Looking back to the tug Viking pushing a barge through the Den Oever Bridge. We just passed through on the left heading southbound. Possibly because the Viking was coming through as we arrived, we had no wait for the bridge to open for us.
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Approaching Stevinsluizen to cross the Afsluitdijk dam and enter the IJsselmeer. This is the first time we’ve passed through Stevinsluizen at the western edge of the Afsluitdijk—last year we reached the IJsselmeer through the Kornwerderzand locks at the eastern end of the dam.
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Control Tower
The control tower for the Stevinsluizen lock and bridges.
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Old Control Tower
The old Stevinsluizen control tower.
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Tending Line
Jennifer tending the line as we lock through from sea into the IJsselmeer. The water difference was about a meter, mostly to account for the tidal height difference on the seaward side.
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Exiting Stevinsluizen
Looking back as we exit Stevinsluizen. The whole process took only about 15 minutes from our point of arrival.
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Chart Comparison
We use CMAP charts on the main navigation system and, where available, purchase Navionics charts for our phone—they are particularly handy when out in the tender. We’ve often heard that Navionics charts are more accurate than CMAP. As we travel the world, we’ve seen places where that is true and many places where it isn’t. But in most cases they seem pretty close to the same. What’s interesting is the Navionics charts “feel” better in that they often show more detail and, in extreme cases, the CMAP charts show gray (“unknown”) whereas the Navionics charts shows depth contours.

It seems like the CMAP charts are very conservative when they lack data, but the Navionics charts make estimates when faced with an absence of data. The net result is the Navionics charts often look and feel more accurate even though they are often drawing from the same base chart data.

Here’s an example where CMAP chart on the left shows little detail whereas the Navionics charts on the right shows a complexity of depth contours. Based on the Navionics chart, you’d expect the depthsounder readings to be swinging wildly through this area, but they were stable at 12-13ft most of the way across the shallow area. The estimates the Navionics charts appear to be making give the illusion the charts are more accurate than CMAP when that level of detail doesn’t seem to exist. In this case the CMAP charts are more accurate even though they are less detailed.

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MS Alina
View from our anchorage off Andijk to the river cruise ship MS Alina heading east from the town of Medemblik.
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Fender Lines
James using a butane torch to melt and seal the ends of our fender lines. Some were fraying on the ends after a decade of use.
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Happy Hour
Happy hour on the deck at our anchorage off Andijk with a wild-looking cloud formation to our west.
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Church Tower
View to the tower of the Reformed Church in Andijk, with the clock lit up at night. The church was completed in 1930 and is considered one of the best works by Dutch architect Egbert Reitsma.
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Striking sunset lighting up an unusual cloud pattern over Medemblik, resembling a mushroom cloud.
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The diesel furnace wasn’t heating the pilot house as well as it used to, so we took apart the duct and found a fair amount of dust to clean out.
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Compressed Air
We cleaned off the diesel furnace outlet by hand and then finished blowing it clean with compressed air.
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The tender holds 9 gallons (34 L) of gasoline and we fill it quickly and easily from 5 small containers (4 x 1.25 gallons (4.75L) and 1 x 5-gallon (18L)) stored on the boat deck. Periodically we top up the smaller containers from our two 29-gallon (100L) wheeled gasoline tanks stored foreward of the tender.s and refill them all.
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Dirona at anchor off Andijk.
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Regatta Center Medemblik
We ran the tender into Medemblik to tour the town. We were planning to tie off on what appeared to be the guest docks at Regatta Center Medemblik on the outskirts of town, but the docks were inside a secure area so we continued into town.
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Radboud Castle
Radboud Castle on the eastern edge of Medemblik. The exact date of construction is unknown, but it was complete by 1287.
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We found a good spot for the tender in Oosterhaven near the center of Medemblik.
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Medemblik was awarded city rights in 1289 and is the oldest port on the IJsselmeer with many houses dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.
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Wapen van Medemblik
A great lunch in the bright sun-room of Wapen van Medemblik.
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Medemblik City Hall
The Medemblik City Hall building looks centuries-old, but was built in 1939 following a traditional design.
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Gemaal Lely
The pump house Gemaal Lely, built in 1930, was used to drain the Wieringermeer polder and still keeps it dry. The station is named for Dutch engineer Cornelis Lely.
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De Herder
The 17th-century flour mill De Herder on the western side of Medemblik. The windmill that stood here since the 1500s was demolished in 1947, and in 1990 a replacement was installed using one from a another village.
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BMW Planter
A rather expensive planter outside a house in Medemblik.
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Looking across Pekelharinghaven in Medemblik on a beautiful fall day.
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Historic houses overlooking Westerhaven in Medemblik.
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Boniface Church
The Boniface Church in Medemblik dates from 1404. The 232-ft (71m) brick tower is even older and was built in 1350 with 2-meter-thick walls. In the past half-century the tower has developed a lean to the northeast, likely as a result of groundwater drainage in the area.
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“Widow houses” dating from the 18th-19th centuries along the lane Heerensteeg.
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Looking along one of Medemblik’s canals. The town is quite scenic—we really enjoyed our visit.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at


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4 comments on “Medemblik
  1. John S. says:

    Medemblik looks more like an attractive, historic village than like a city. Nice photos.

    I agree with you about chart mapping differences. I had side by side Raymarine and Garmin GPS units on one of my boats and they often showed the same area with quite different details. I found it very useful and informative to have two views of an area to look at when I was entering a new or tricky place.

    Having two units was especially handy when our boat went outside the boundary of a Garmin navigation chip and the whole screen went black for two miles, right in a tight, tricky waterway juncture on the west coast of Florida.

    • I agree that, where practical, having two sets of chart data is very helpful. I’m just amazed at how different the CMAP and Navionics charts can sometimes be when they are both interpreting the same underlying chart data.

      • Julian Buss says:

        The screenshot looks as you had the crowd sourced sonar charts active in Navionics. If so, the official chart data is enriched using echo soundings from recreational boaters. But I’m assume you are well aware what Navionics sonar charts are :)

        I tried C-Map some years ago in the baltic and found them near to useless compared to NV Charts or Navionics. Much, much less details. But since you’re traveling world wide C-Map is the best of the very few options I guess.

        I’m always running two charts from different vendors side by side and there were several occasions where one chart showed important details the other one didn’t. So no vendor is perfect, having two opinions about tricky areas is a good idea.

        • Your right, all of those “way to shallow” sections were actually crowd sourced data. With that data off, that section is passable by Dirona. I guess the lesson here is a lot of depth sounders aren’t calibrated correctly and, as much as I like the idea of using 1000 of data point from 100s of boats on every area, it appears that the data accuracy of this data isn’t great.

          The area in the picture is completely impassible according to crowd sourced data and easily passable according to the underlying chart data used by both CMAP and Navionics. We’ll keep the crowd sourced data in Navionics off in the future. Thanks for pointing that out.

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