January in Amsterdam

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After returning to Amsterdam from a Rhine River cruise in late December, we spent the first three weeks in January completing a number of boat projects and preparing for our upcoming trip south to the Mediterranean. Projects completed included installing a new 55-inch TV, replacing the windshield wiper arms, greasing the davit, replacing a depth-sounder, and installing a pair of new side-looking video cameras on the mast.

We also had some fun, including attending the Amsterdam Light Festival and spending time with several visitors. We ended the month with a three-night trip to Berlin, followed by a ten-night trip to Seattle.

Below are trip highlights from January, 2020. 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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Samsung QN55Q70RA
We just completed the job of replacing our old 46-inch flatscreen with a modern 55-inch Samsung QN55Q70RA. And it looks fabulous.

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Commbox Modem
We’re beta testing the KVH IP-MobileCast service and the new system requires an upgraded version of the V7hts Integrated CommBox Modem. KVH shipped us the new one by courier and the old one will be returned the same way.
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Nano Daypack
We find that we sometimes are out traveling without a pack, but end up stopping at a store and picking up enough that it’s hard to carry it. Our latest solution to this frequently repeating theme is the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Nano Daypack. This tiny 1-inch cylinder fits in Jennifer’s purse but can unfold to an entire back pack.
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Nano Daypack in Action
We’ll see how it does in use, but so far the Nano Daypack looks like an impressive piece of gear.
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A beautiful sunrise looking towards Amsterdam Centraal Station from our berth at City Marina.
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Depth Sounder
We replace our Maretron DST-110 depthsounder every 2 years. What’s annoying is the depth reading is always working well but the water temperature sensor can only go 2 to 3 years before the temperature sensor fails. We’ve been reading 80F water for a 6 months now and we doubt it’s been over 60F anywhere we’ve been during that period. Given that it’s roughly a $350 part and its primary purpose is reading depths, we hate to replace it when it’s still reading depths correctly, but we like knowing the water temperature.

Replacing the sensor isn’t difficult. Just unscrew the collar, and then quickly pull out the old one and slip the new one in before tightening down the collar on the new one. It sounds easy but it’s this opens a fairly big hole more than 4 inches below the surface of the water. The water pressure is fairly high down that far and the hole left by removing the old sensor is pretty big and it’s truly amazing how fast water rushes in and how much comes in during that quick change. We now read 47F, which checks out as correct, and past experience suggests we’re good for another 2 years.

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Windshield Wipers
Replacing the wipers arms. They have gone ten years so we can’t complain. The job had a few setbacks so we ended up spending a few hours on this one but it’s now all working again.

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At DHL in the Museumplein district to send our V7hts integrated CommBox Modem back to KVH after upgrading it.
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After dropping off our package with DHL, we had a delicious lunch at a sunny table at nearby Martinot.
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Albert Cuypstraat
We passed Amsterdam’s famous Albert Cuypstraat street market on our way back to Dirona from the DHL store. The market began trading in 1904 and now has over 300 stalls.
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Amsterdam Light Festival
We really enjoyed the Amsterdam Light Festival last year, and were looking forward to viewing it again. The theme for this year was disruption, where the artists “use light in a unique way to be disruptive and give us new impulses”. The route of the festival was quite different from last year, and only two displays were not visible from the water, so we were able to take in most of the show on a single pass through the canals.

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Diesel Drip
A small fuel leak had developed either at the site gauge O-Rings or at the lower valve of the wing engine fuel tank. We’re not sure which, and can tighten the valve packing and replace the O-rings fairy quickly, so we did both.
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Boat Wash
We gave the boat a wash today. We’re in the center of town, so it gets dirty fairly quickly.
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Duane & Michelle
An excellent meal in great company at Wolf Atelier with Duane Rodgers and Michelle Walker. Duane and Michelle have long been interested in Nordhavns, and are in Europe partly to attend the Dusseldorf Boat Show. We first met them in Melbourne in 2015, and they visited us in a couple of years later in Florida. We’ve not seen them since then and it was great to catch up and spend time together.
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Two of the speakers in the pilothouse weren’t working. We were expecting it to be a bit of a challenge to chase down, but the problems turned out to be easily fixed. Both were vibration-induced loose connections.
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Vodafone Traveller
With the EU’s “Roam Like at Home” rules, we’ve been using the SIMs we bought in Ireland and the UK throughout our European travels. Partly because “Roam Like at Home” may not work on the UK SIM going forward and partly because the system is designed for people who are based in the country of purchase, we’ve been researching getting a third SIM. We planned to buy one in the Netherlands, but the pre-paid programs here are quite expensive compared to other countries.

Shopping around on-line, we found a Spanish SIM, Vodafone Traveller, that gives 25Gig for €20 and also includes roaming in Turkey and the US. We ordered it from 4gsim.es and it just arrived today. We were able to activate it and use it in the Netherlands and so far we’re quite happy with it. The only downside is that we can only top-up through the mobile app and it can only be installed with a Spanish Google account. This can easily be worked around by setting up a second Google account located in Spain and switching accounts on our phones when we want to use the app.

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Kidney Diet
Spitfire was diagnosed with kidney problems early last year and we’ve since been feeding him a special diet. We’re stocking up on enough food to get us to mid-summer.
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HVAC Filter
When the HVAC systems are used more, the air filters build up dust rather quickly and need to be cleaned every three or four months.
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Greasing Davit
Our ES-1500 was an early design from Steelhead and it has problems with aluminum galling on the boom extension. We mitigate it by greasing it annually. Even with these precautions it requires periodic rebuild.
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New Video Cameras
We have two side-facing cameras mounted on the stack, but they are security camers directed downwards at the entrance to the boat. We often would like to have video off to the side of the boat, similar to what we have fore and aft, so are installing two additional cameras for that purpose. Here James is drilling the mounting holes for the starboard-side camera.
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New Port Camera
The new port-facing camera installed.
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Both Cameras
Looking forward to both new cameras mounted on the stack.
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Ethernet Crimper
Once the cameras were installed in the stack, the next step was to run Ethernet cable out to them from the pilot house. The wire runs are tight, so we run the cables without the connectors and then install them after.
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Ethernet Tester
Testing that the Ethernet cables have been installed properly. The tester is part of the UbiGear kit, an incredible value that includes crimper, tester, and connectors for only $15.97.
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Port Far View
The image from the new distance view port camera.
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Lunch at Wagamama in Amsterdam Centraal train station with a view to the IJ River traffic.
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Bicycle Tunnel
The bicycle tunnel that runs through Amsterdam Central train station is always packed with bikes, and pedestrians must cross with care. Normally you’d be taking your life into your hands standing here, but for the first time since we’ve been in Amsterdam, the tunnel is closed due to construction.
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David Saunders
UK resident David Saunders is interested in Nordhavns and stopped by for a visit and a tour of Dirona while he was on a business trip to Amsterdam. David’s company is an Amazon Web Services customer, so we had a great conversation ranging from cloud computing to boating.
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We took a large delivery from Albert Heijn this morning in preparation for our upcoming trip south to the Mediterranean.
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Pain Killers
For years we’ve carried prescription pain killers in our ship’s medical chest, but carrying narcotics between countries, even within the EU, is becoming more difficult. Since we’re not likely to be more than a few hours away from medical assistance in the foreseeable future while cruising in Europe, we decided to discard our stock. We like the self-suffiency and the additonal safety of having controlled prescription drugs on board, but it’s been adding friction to border crossings. So we’re making the difficult trade-off of giving up a bit of safety and security that won’t likely be needed in order to make day-to-day crossings easier.
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Garbage Run
Jennifer on a garbage run at City Marina IJDock. We’re sure loving living in Amsterdam.
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Near the end of January, we flew to Berlin and spent a wonderful three days exploring this modern, vibrant city with its haunting past. Highlights of the trip included viewing the remains of the Berlin Wall, touring reconstructed Potsdamer Platz and visiting Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site Museum Island.

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Return Trip to Seattle
The day after returning from Berlin, we made a ten-day trip to Seattle for James to attend some work meetings. While there, we picked up our mail, caught the last day of the Seattle Boat Show, met up with old friends and handled several medical appointments. And Spitfire enjoyed some time at “the resort” of Het Catshuys


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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One comment on “January in Amsterdam
  1. Danil Smirnov says:

    Thank you for the mobile version! Gorgeous!

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