Haarlem to Leiden

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The run from Haarlem to Leiden is only seventeen miles, but passes through sixteen bridges, nearly one per mile. The day started with a trip along the narrow and intimate canal through the center of Haarlem, almost close enough to touch the buildings on either side, and on past the Cruquius Pumphouse. We’d visited the museum there, with the world’s largest steam engine, last year and never expected we’d be bringing Dirona through the same canals. We were very excited to be making the trip.

The scenery beyond ranged from rural to lake to residential, and we ended the trip as we had started, in a narrow and intimate canal, this one carrying the Oude Rijn into Leiden. After all those bridges, we were ready to stop, but finding a berth at Leiden turned out to be a bit of a struggle. With winds blowing in the mid-20s, we tried six different places until we finally found one where we had sufficent depth and space to fit the boat. It worked out very well, and we spent four enjoyable nights there.

Below are trip highlights from Februrary 20th, 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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The 203ft (62m) barge Eben-Haezer passing through the bridge Gravstenenbrug in the center of Haarlem, just south of our berth for the past two nights. We tucked over to the side to allow it to pass, then continued through the bridge.
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Waiting for the Melkbrug in Haarlem to open. The green and red lights indicate that an opening is in progress and will change to green only when we can pass. The lock operators cycle between the bridges in town as vessels pass through.
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The Langebrug opening for us to pass.
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One of several beautiful modern floathomes along the Haarlem canals.
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The double-bridge Buitenrustbrug partially open.
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Het Spaarne
The rowing and sailing club Het Spaarne along the main Haarlem canal. We’d passed a few rowboats already this morning and it looks like some more are set to launch.
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De Eenhoorn
The windmill De Eenhoorn (The Unicorn) was built in the late 1700s and restored to working order in the late 1900s.
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Passing through the Schouwbroekerbrug. This is the final of nine bridges controlled by the city of Haarlem. In the busy summer months, to avoid having the bridges constantly open, recreational boats must pass through together as a convoy. The winter is a lot nicer, with plenty of space in the guest harbours and few restrictions on the bridges for recreational boats.
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Cruquius Museum
Arriving at the Cruiquiusbrug with the Cruquius Museum on the left. The museum houses the world’s largest steam engine, and was one of three pump houses built in the 1840s to drain Haarlem Lake. The pride of the Cruquius Museum is the working pump machinery. Once powered by steam boilers, the pump now is electricity driven for demonstration purposes. We had a fabulous time touring it on last year’s trip to Haarlem and never expected we’d be bringing Dirona through the same canals. We were super-excited to be here.
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Traffic backed up on the Cruiquiusbrug as we pass through. We could see it backed up all the way around the corner in only a couple of minutes of road closure.
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Passing through the Bennebroekerdijk with the Bennebroekerbrug visible in the distance. From busy Haarlem we’ve entered a mainly rural area now.
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Barge running wooden stakes into the shore along the Hillegommerdijk to reinforce the shoreline.
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The Hillegommerbrug open for us to pass.
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Traffic backed up on the Elsbroekerbrug while the bridge is open.
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Commercial barges unloading just south of Hillegom.
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Fioretti College
A portion of the hundreds if bicycles parked outside Fioretti College in Lisse.
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Passing through the bridge Lisserbrug.
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The winds have picked up to gusting in the high 30 knots as we pass through Lisserdijk. The windmill visible in the distance is Lisserpoelmolen, built sometime before 1820 and extensively restored in 2004.
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Waiting on the siding before the Rijksbrug highway bridge. This and the adjacent Kaagbrug railway bridge only open a few times per day, and in the winter a reservation must be made 24 hours in advance. We arrived about a half-hour early for our 12:30 booking.
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Passing under the railway bridge Kaagbrug after the Rijksbrug highway bridge.
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Feadship Kaag
The Feadship Kaag shipyard, one of two owned by the Van Lent family. The second is the newly-built Amsterdam shipyard. The yard produces about two ships a year of up to 100m in length. The brick house in the front is a museum and the small building to the right is a Michelin-starred restaurant, a likely benefit of being a Feadship customer.
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Windmill De Kok on the lake system Kagerplassen (“Kaag Lakes”) just north of Lieden. The section through the lakes was the shallowest part of our trip along the Standing Mast Toure, with depths dropping to about 7.8ft, but possibly we were a little too far to the side of the channel. Overall the depths have been at least 10 feet for most of our time underway.
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Approaching Zijlbrug, the first of four bridges we’ll pass through in Leiden before reaching the guest harbour.
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Red and green lights as Spanjaardsbrug in Leiden prepares to open for us.
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Nearing Sumatrabrug as we head down Oude Rijn towards the Leiden guest harbour.
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River Princess
The River Princess, that we’d passed just beyond the southern end of the Kagerplassen, coming through the Sumatrabrug behind us.
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Oude Rijn
Navigating intimate Oude Rijn en route to the Leiden guest harbour.
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Schrijversbrug, our sixteenth and final bridge for the day, opening for us and the River Princess to pass. We’d only travelled seventeen miles today, but had passed through nearly one bridge per mile, and were ready to stop for the day.
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Finding a spot at Leiden was a bit of a struggle. The winds were blowing in the mid-20s and we first tried to moor near the western end of the guest harbour, but large pilings set off from the dock would have resulted in a several-yard gap between us and the dock, making getting on and off a challenge. So we tried to back into one of the slips parallel to Haven road, but we didn’t have quite enough room to turn in the fairway to enter the slip. We then tried against the cement wall south of and opposite the guest harbour, along Havenkade, but found ourselves touching bottom in about 6ft of water.

We eventually called the harbourmaster, who directed us to the area near Ankerpark. We tried to moor alongside Ankerpark, but overhanging trees, pictured, contacted our rigging. We tried a gap in the trees a little further in, but touched bottom again. Our sixth attempt, opposite Ankerpark along Zijlsingel, was finally successful. We have no power or water there, but that’s not a big deal and we’re very happy to have eventually found a spot. We’ll post a video of the trip from Amsterdam to Antwerp that will include our six dockage attempts in Leiden.

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Synology DiskStations
Back in 2016, we started using a Synology DiskStation DS416 equipped with 4 6TB disks for just under 10TB of RAID-6 capacity as a file server on Dirona. It’s worked out really well, but it was time to upgrade. The system still is running extremely well, but we had two disk failures within weeks of each other earlier this year, suspect the rest are getting close to end of life, and we’d like to have some additional capacity. We easily could upgrade the disks in the system, but for maintainability and security reasons, we don’t want these systems to be more than four or five years old.

One of the items we brought back from our recent trip to Seattle was a Synology DiskStation DS418. Coming back with the DiskStation, we have four 16TB Seagate IronWolf disk drives for a RAID-6 capacity of 29TB. We’ve been transferring data between the two for the past week and this finally finished today, so we pulled out the old one (right) from under the salon settee and replaced it with the new one.

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Moored at Leiden
Moored for a few days in Leiden opposite Ankerpark to explore historic Leiden.
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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4 comments on “Haarlem to Leiden
  1. Thom Allyn says:

    It’s definitely a tough call. Healthy people should be fine but there’s still an unknown. You may be fine but the port you’re going to may have issue’s with you, or anybody else entering. Is there a “jungle wire” of travelling boaters you could contact to see what was going on ahead of you?

    • Our current leaning is towards continuing as planned and hope that Italy is back to “open for business” when we get there. We’ll watch things closely and won’t go to Italy unless it’s back under control there. And, we’ll keep a close eye on all countries we plan to visit as we get close.

  2. Thom Allyn says:

    What is your situation with Corona virus? Will it be an issue with your travels in the next month or so? Seattle is getting quiet!

    • We’re getting concerned. This morning the entire US has 708 cases or 2.1 cases per million while France has 1,412 or 21.6 cases per million and Italy has 9,172 cases or 151.7 cases per million. The problem is spreading fast through Europe. Our summer plans are to stop for a couple of months in Northern Italy and we already have flights booked from there back to the US for work. Clearly the latter isn’t going to happen or looks very unlikely at this point. Belgium where we are right now has 239 cases but, on a small population, that is still 20.6 cases per million.

      We plan to continue south and watch the situation carefully but with both France and Spain in our short term plans, we are going to need to make decisions on those visits quite soon.

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