Angelove Estate

Day 5 – Monday, September 9th

This was a big day for Angel, we needed to get in touch with the boat seller Andre, who was elusive. He was supposed to see us during the weekend but never showed. We were eager to register the boat, but the contract of sale did not have the engine number which was required to leave the Netherlands. The engine mechanic, who helped Angel do some repairs on his previous trips, Bart was also on call to help us ID the engine number, as we had no idea where to find it. Before arriving in the Netherlands, Angel had sent Andre a lengthy email and received a very curt reply, “See you when you get here.” Angel had hoped to see him on Friday, Saturday or Sunday as he had promised, but no. He had come to the marina during the weekend, but just not to finish up with us. This was an issue.

Angel waited till business hours and tried calling Andre, but he didn’t pick up. We need to try again to make our way to the marina store, but we didn’t want to miss Andre. Angel deciding he was going to try and find the engine number on his own. As it turns out it was quite easy. He messaged a photo of the engine number to Andre. What we needed from him was to draft a revised version of the sales agreement with this number. After a while, he finally calls back and instead of coming to the boat he was going to draft the document and email it to us. What the fuck? He could have said and done that on Friday, instead of stringing us along. We only remained at the Lunegat marina because we were waiting for him. We were both so pissed off, but obviously Angel more so. 

Before the shop, Angel wanted to take down the mast. He had driven around with Gabe to scout a few locations that would be suitable. This issue had been weighing heavenly on Angel’s mind. How to lower the mast without breaking the boat surrounding us. He went through various scenarios; using a play system tied to a tree in the marina… but if the mast fell sideways it would damage the other boats. On our way back from our first trip to the marine store, Angel saw some dock areas that might be suitable and on Sunday, he and Gabe drove around to identify the ideal mast lowering locations. He had set the date for Monday to lower the mast, once we had touched base with Andre to find out what time we were meeting him.

After we spoke to Andre and found out that he wouldn’t be meeting us, we packed up and headed off. We thought we would spend the night on Monday in a secluded part of the lake if our battery cooperated. 

The mast lowering spot was practically around the corner from the marina. I was nervous because I had no idea what we were going to do with the mast and Angel didn’t have a clear plan either. After we had parked and secured the boat, Angel set to work, loosening the stays, one snapped. I was untangling the rope from the furler, which Angel hoped would be long enough to use as a pulley. I did what I was told and tried to be useful. One area where I excelled was photographing all the stay and wire connections so Angel could put them back together once we set sail from Marseille in April 2020.

After everything was disassembled and the rope was secured, I was on top of the boat trying to urge the mast down, but it still wouldn’t budge. Angel started to remove the left and right side stays or at least loosen them and then we tried it again… The mast had begun moving forward, while Angel was trying to control it with the rope fully from the dock, but then it started moving and falling forward on an angle. Angel yelled to me to let it go and move out of the way as it crashed down and the mount, which secured it into place began to crack and lift up from the boat. FUCK. Well, the mast landed on the back railing and it did not destroy the boat, so that was a good thing, but the mast mount was another story. Angel assessed the damage, it was not actually that bad, but not great either. He and I managed to straighten out the mast to lie in the center of the boat. From that point, he set about disassembling and securing all of the parts, so we could continue going through the rivers and canals. It was going to be a few hours, so as it was lunchtime, I made us all sandwiches.

After lunch, I was to store the coiled metal neatly in the storage compartments under the benches in the cockpit. Once everything was secured we would move the mast and the boom to the side and secure it with zip ties. I didn’t think I could manage lifting the mast, but it was rather light or I am rather strong, more of the former than that latter.

We were just about to wrap things up when Angel discovered that he had forgotten the jib in the marshy weeds alongside the dock. He honestly almost left it behind and that would have sucked. Ok, now that we finally had all of the pieces secured and tied, we made a quick list of supplies and head off again to the marine supply store, hopefully, we wouldn’t miss it again. It was now late afternoon. They closed at 5 pm on weekdays.

We made it across the lake and to the shop. It was not what I expected. We found some of the things that we needed, but everything is expensive; boating is not a cheap hobby. We wanted to buy a VHF radio, which would be our way to access other boats and locks, but it was almost 300 Euros and Angel thought that we could do without it. We found some hats, which seemed warm. I find that the cold north winds have been giving me a brain freeze. Angel was rather satisfied with his purchases, but worried about our dwindling cash supply; the Netherlands, as a whole doesn’t accept Visa. The retailers refuse to pay the fees that the Visa credit card company requires, but unfortunately, most of all our credit cards are Visa. This has been something that we have encountered during our past few visits to the Netherlands. A few years earlier, I went shopping for some essentials, since we were with the kids driving across Europe for the summer vacation and we stopped by to visit the Ten Bosch family. I was on line at the grocery store and the cashier was ringing up about 100 euro worth of food and sprinkles and all I had was a Visa Debit card. Luckily our friend had cash, so we didn’t inconvenience the other shoppers, but I was livid. The audacity… It really rubbed me the wrong way, yet somehow Angel and I have turned it into a joke about not accepting Visa… We pretty much ask if they accept it everywhere we make a purchase and start laughing out loud if we actually find a place that does.

Gabe stayed on the boat while we were shopping. I was a bit nervous leaving him, but the marina had WIFI and he wanted to play Roblox. We came back to check on him and to drop off our boat store haul. The second stop was a grocery store, but we couldn’t find it at first. It turned out to be part of a holiday campground. Since this was a shop for people on vacation, it meant that everything was more expensive than usual, almost double the regular grocery store prices. We just got the essentials. Apparently, the path that we followed according to Google maps was the long route. One the way back, we found some forest path and these wooden docks back to the marina. It was a lovely walk. I wish I hadn’t left my phone and camera with Gabriel. They even had an abstract picnic table over the water, just for ducks.

We had trouble starting the engine again. The battery didn’t seem to be charging when we were under motor, so instead of sleeping someone where remote around the lake, which was without shore power, we reluctantly returned to the marina. I was growing bored with the area, feeling trapped in the Lauwersmeer. The boat is small and confining and there was nowhere to go and hide, decompress, collect one’s thoughts. We made it back to the marina and was ready for another shower, Now that I know that 1 Euro is 6 minutes, I will not be fooled again. We were ready to go and leaving on Tuesday, so this could be my last shower for a while, I brought 2 Euros just in case. I was ready to maximize my shower, I got my Dopp kit ready and my washcloth. I chose a different stall this time as not to lose any more money. I put my coin in and 6 minutes appeared on the timer… sweet. I turned it to max heat and drenched myself,  I hit the pause button. I soaped my hair and lathered my body. I unpaused it to rinse, but I briefly paused it again because I forgot something in the changing area of the shower cabin. Then I paused it again, it reset to ZERO. WTF, my hair was still filled with shampoo and I only had showered for one minute, ARGH. I added my second, back-up Euro, but nothing happened it didn’t register, still zero, by this time I am absolutely livid. I didn’t have any more money and I didn’t have my phone because I left it on the boat, so I have no Angel to rescue me from my situation. I beat the coin machine in desperation. As I stood there for a minute fuming, I finally had an idea. In the shower room, there was a stall with only a sink, if it had free hot water, I could at least rinse in privacy. I crept my sopping wet, naked ass to the sink stall. For the moment, I am alone. Luckily, there was hot water in the sink stall. Normally, I wouldn’t be splashing around and soaking the bathroom in this manner, but the fucking shitty ass shower machines left me no choice. I really didn’t care at this point if I flooded the entire bathroom. I paid 2 Euros for a 1-minute shower.

Marina 2 – Me 0

Walking back to the boat, I was frustrated and fed up with the waiting around in the marina… we were supposed to sleep somewhere on the lake, but our engine was having trouble charging the battery or the battery was crap and couldn’t hold a charge. Angel couldn’t figure out the problem. Every night he tried different battery configurations to identify the issue, but still, he found no clear solution, so he decided that we would return to the marina for one more night and leave early or after 9 am on Tuesday when the lock opened.

I really wanted to do laundry. Everything felt dirty. I was dirty. I couldn’t even take a proper shower. The sea toilet is really small and using use the skills of a contortionist when it actually works, plus I keep hitting my head. The meltdown was brewing and when I saw Angel, I just let it out… Fuck. I am trying to be more easy-going and adjust to boat life, but it kept thwarting me at every turn. I am ready to get the fuck out of Dodge and move already. I needed some time alone to my thoughts, I felt like I was suffocating. I stormed off the boat and walked to the end of the dock overlooking the entrance of the marina… breathe. This was supposed to be fun, a vacation. I took valerian; I calmed down. Angel helped me. 

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