Vlieland to Den Helder


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Den Helder is the main naval base for the Royal Netherlands Navy and the harbour is packed with large and imposing naval ships. Within the port is the Royal Netherlands Navy Yacht club, where we stayed for several nights in sight of all the navy ships plus many large commercial and Coast Guard vessels.

From Vlieland we made a 48nm run west to Den Helder. The point-to-point distance between the two is only 25 miles, and we investigated taking the shortcut through Oude Vlie, but the depths appeared too shallow for Dirona‘s 2m draft. We instead ran the deeper, but longer, route that passes Harlingen and continues west along the Afsluitdijk.

Below are trip highlights from October 23rd, 2019. 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.

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Positive Current
We’re underway on a 48nm run west from Vlieland to Den Helder and are getting an excellent push from the current. At 1551 RPM we should be doing about 7.5 knots and we’re making 9.3.
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Ferry
The ferry Vlieland passing us on a 7am departure from Vlieland. You can really feel winter approaching when 7:30am is still dark.
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Zandexpress 5
We’re starting to see lots of inland commercial barges now that we’re back in relatively sheltered waters, such as the Zandexpress 5.
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Harlingen
A group of boats were departing under sail as we passed Harlingen.
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Dike Work
Several trucks and heavy equipment were at work maintaining the important Afsluitdijk Dam.
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Current
We continue to run through a nice positive current with calm seas.
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Inspection
A fisheries enforecement vessel is at the bow of this fish boat and the officers are about to board and inspect them (click image for a larger view).
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Submarines
Den Helder is the main naval base for the Royal Netherlands Navy and the harbour is packed with large and imposing naval ships, including these two Walrus-class diesel attack submarines.
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DHTC
The free-fall lifeboat training facility in the Den Helder Training Center (DHTC). The organization offers a full suite of safety training courses for the offshore, shipping, wind and related industries.
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HNLMS Evertsen
The Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLMS Evertsen, moored at Den Helder near two other large navy ships. The 473ft (144 m) Evertsen, launched in 2005, is bristling with armament and can exceed 28knots.
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Marina Entrance
At the entrance to the Royal Netherlands Navy Yacht Club, where we’ll be staying for a few days. In the background is a large Coast Guard ship and an offshore oil platform at far left.
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Crash
We’re lucky not to have taken more damage in marinas given the many crashes we see. This one was a particular surprise in that it’s survey vessel where we’d expect a professional skipper at the helm. During this docking, the neighbouring boat and both sides of the dock were contacted hard several times.
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Dirona and Guardian
Moored at the Royal Netherlands Navy Yacht Club near the 215ft (65m) Netherlands Coast Guard vessel Guardian. We love being moored inside big commercial harbours like this, such as Skagen in Denmark.
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VTCC
The Den Helder Vessel Traffic Control Center adjacent to the Royal Netherlands Navy Yacht Club.
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Navy Ships
We had an excellent berth at the Royal Netherlands Navy Yacht Club, with a great view to the many ships moored at the naval base.
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Guardian
A better view of the 215ft (65m) Netherlands Coast Guard vessel Guardian. The ship is an Anchor Handling Tug Supply (AHTS) design with a main task of preventing environmental disasters, but it also can perform search and rescue, fire fighting, clearing of oil pollutions and fishery inspections.
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Texel Ferry Terminal
The ferry to the island of Texel, the next one west from Vlieland, departs from just outside the Royal Netherlands Navy Yacht Club property.
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Royal Naval College
The Royal Naval College, built in 1869. The actual institution was founded in 1815, but has existed since 1488 in various forms. The current campus in Den Helder was opened in 1854.
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Canal
A variety of ships, modern and historic, moored in one of Den Helder’s canals.
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The Crazy Chicken
We had a super-fun dinner at the 1950s diner-themed Crazy Chicken. This is the gregarious 70-year-old proprietor, who runs the restaurant mostly for entertainment and treats it a bit like his home. He knows everyone there and often joins them at their tables, and spent a fair bit of time with us also. The food was good, the ambience even better, and we really enjoyed speaking with the owner and some of the other patrons.
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Winter Lights
As with many Netherlands cities, Den Helder is wonderfully lit up for the winter season.
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Prospector 1
The oil platform Prospector 1, on the left as we entered the marina, looks great lit up at night.
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Submarine
The 257ft (78m) submarine HNLMS Tonijn on permanent display at the Dutch Navy Museum in Den Helder. We plan to tour it in a couple of days.
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Ferry
Ferry arriving from the island of Texel.
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Night Training
A group was doing night safety training as we passed the Den Helder Training Center after dinner. It appears they were practicing inter-ship fueling at sea, where they shot a messenger line over from one platform to the other and used that to drag back what looked to be a hose. We’re sure night fueling in rough seas between two two naval ships in close quarters justifies a lot of training.
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Drink
Since we’re staying at the Royal Netherlands Navy Yacht Club, we have access to the Marine Club, a private club open to all officers and former officers of all the armed forces. So we we stopped by for a drink overlooking the harbour before returning to Dirona.
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Port at Night
View across the Royal Netherlands Navy Yacht Club to Dirona with the Den Helder port lights in the background.
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 mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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2 comments on “Vlieland to Den Helder
  1. DM says:

    This video about the Waterloopbos just popped up on Tom Scott’s channel; it may be of some interest:

    * https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFkoLYrJGCM

    Some more info:

    * https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/waterloopbos

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