We normally prefer not to return to the same location, particularly for a long-term stay. But in looking at stop-overs for this winter, where we would make a couple of return trips to the US, we couldn’t find anything that came even close to Amsterdam in terms of marina location, restaurant and entertainment choices, and ease of travel within and outside Europe. City Marina IJDok is on the downtown side of the IJ River and an easy walk to Amsterdam Centraal train station and countless restaurants and attractions. And a train runs directly from Amsterdam Centraal to Schiphol Airport in just 20 minutes.
Since we are planning to visit the Mediterranean next summer, we could have travelled farther south and spent the winter somewhere warmer. But the weather in Amsterdam is very similar to our home port of Seattle, so that wasn’t a particular concern. Looking south along the Atlantic Coast, nothing appealed to us as much as Amsterdam for marina location, entertainment options and travel convenience. And for one of our trips back to the US we needed to be in the marina by mid-November. If we did make a stopover further south, we’d have had to allocate more time to get there along the exposed Atlantic coast with winter weather approaching. And this would have shortened our cruising time in Sweden, Finland and Denmark, something we weren’t keen on. So in the end, City Marina IJDok in Amsterdam was the obvious choice and it’s great to be back.
Below are highlights from our November 1st, 2019 return to Amsterdam. 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 mvdirona.com/maps.
Position: 52°19.45’N, 5°8.48’E
Approaching the Hollandse road bridge and adjacent railway bridge. Both have 43m (13.1m) clearance, plenty of room for our 30ft (9.14m) air draft.
Position: 52°22.67’N, 4°58.18’E
The Schellingwouder Bridge opening for us to pass through. We’re back in the same route we took into Amsterdam last year. After this bridge we have just one more lock and bridge to reach our berth at City Marina.
Position: 52°22.91’N, 4°57.66’E
The lock gate closing behind us at Oranjesluizen, our final lock of 2019. With the the 5 locks we’ve passed in the Netherlands at the start and end of this year, the 22-lock Saimaa Lakes trip, and our passages through the 58-lock Gota Canal, the 8-lock Trollhatte Canal and twice through the 2-lock Kiel Canal, in 8 months we’ve gone through 97 locks. These ranged in size from barely big enough to hold Dirona to sharing locks hundreds of feet long with commercial carriers.
Another impact of a large number of locks is the 110-hours we’ve wound up on the wing engine over the past 8 months, compared to 606 hours on the main. This is roughly twice the amount of wing usage that we typically see compared to main engine usage. We use the wing engine in close quarters situations, and when going through locks you spend an unusually long time in close-quarters.
Position: 52°22.99’N, 4°56.72’E
Navigating the channel Afgesloten IJ once through the Oranjesluizen. Pleasure craft need to stay outside the main commercial channel—that red buoy on our port side marks the starboard side of the channel for commercial traffic heading eastbound.
Position: 52°22.88’N, 4°55.01’E
The 810ft (247m) cruise ship Columbus moored in Amsterdam.
Position: 52°22.85’N, 4°54.83’E
The 180-ft super yacht Bellami.com, owned by the hair extension company of the same name, wrapped in gold as part of an advertising campaign. It certainly stands out.
Ferries crossing the channel in front of us while a barge passes to port. The Afgesloten IJ is a busy waterway.
Old and New
Historic buildings fronting modern ones along the south side of the Afgesloten IJ in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Centraal Station—we’re almost “home”.
Position: 52°23.01’N, 4°53.72’E
Blog reader Andre Verhoek sent us this web cam shot of Dirona, across the channel left of center, passing Amsterdam Centraal Station (click image for a larger view).
Position: 52°23.05’N, 4°53.66’E
Once settled into our berth at City Marina, we changed the engine oil on the main engine, the wing engine and the generator. They’ve never before been all due at the same time.
Washing the Wing
Position: 52°23.05’N, 4°53.66’E
In tackling an overheat issue with our generator earlier this year, we ended up “washing” the generator coolant circuit with dishwasher detergent. This is an unusual procedure, so we had tried many other things first before resorting to this. But it solved the problem. We believe what was going on is that either there was a mix of incompatible coolants, or the coolant went through some unusual failure mode. But a thin, 1/8-inch gel layer had built up inside the cooling system and remarkably that thin layer of gel was enough to cause the generator to overheat.
We cleaned that out by draining the coolant, adding one cup of liquid dishwasher detergent and topping it up with water, running it under load for an hour, and then repeatedly draining the coolant and filling it with water, rerunning it and then draining it again until the water came out clean. Then we drained the system a final time and added new antifreeze.
Because 1) this worked so well on the generator, 2) the wing antifreeze is due for a change, and 3) the wing antifreeze actually looked fairly poor (you can see how dark it is in the bucket at the bottom right of the photo) we decided to repeat the process on the wing engine.
Position: 52°22.55’N, 4°54.46’E
Enjoying a meal and a great window table at one of our favourite Amsterdam restaurants, Mojo Japanese Kitchen.
Position: 52°23.01’N, 4°53.71’E
Dirona back “home” at the beautiful City Marina in downtown Amsterdam.
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 mvdirona.com/maps.