Home!

Egersund to IJmuiden
We say good-bye to Egersund with beers and greasy food at the waterfront's terrace. And find out that the owner is trying to rip us off; her immediate response "Yeah, yah, I can correct that" makes it all too obvious, this was no honest miscalculation...

Leaving Egersund
The best window we can find, is a 'low' making its way from the UK to Danmark. Not perfect, but if we manage to stay in it's NE and NW quadrants, the wind is in our back. We do realise that its successor is moving in towards Scotland, promising severe head wind.
Fog creeping in from the south

At present the weather is undefined. The air is damp - promising fog - and the wind light, coming from the predicted direction. We steer 180° - heading home. During the night and the next day we make a 100 mile dash forward before the North Easterly wind tells us "this is the end, see you, I'm off, so long and wait for the next depression!"

In its wake, it leaves more fog, light Easterly winds; good for a 3 knot speed. With the 1 meter swell from the North West it's the 'calm before the storm' on an eerie bluish green sea.
Calm before the storm
We pick up the next depression as it moves in from North Ireland towards Scotland. It proudly announces its presence with an immediate wind shift to the South and rain from its warmth front. It forces us to steer towards the UK, in the hope that after the passage of the cold front, the wind will shift to the North West.
video
Video shot in the aftermath of the 'storm'
For almost three days we're hammered by a 35 - 40 knot head wind. The cold front brings tons of rain and by the time we reach the Wintershall A6-A "Entenschnabel" platform, our 'oil skins' are wet in- and outside. The boat is a wet salty mess again and I revert to sleeping on the floor. Now I don't have to take off the foul weather gear and I'm close to the heater's warm air outlet. Man! Nothing wrong with a 'good blow' but after this, I truly understand people who say: "Sailing is taking a cold shower, tearing up bank notes, shouting I-love-it-I-love-it!"

From now on, we'll see more of the production platforms and a near miss on a - properly charted - cardinal buoy, reminds us that we'll have to keep a closer watch. Early morning, the platforms look more like the things from "War of the Worlds" than human made structures.
Random production platform in the Danish sector of the continental shelf. 
The big boom for off shore oil and gas came after the 1964 Continental Shelf Act. Each country bordering the North Sea got its territory and the race for exploration licenses was on. Today there are almost 1000 production platforms, clustered around the various oil or gas fields.

Another human folly - definity gross - is the windmill. Used as early as the 12th century, the Dutch truly exploited them in the 17th century to reclaim land. Generally those mills are considered monuments and currently maintained with a great deal of care. Today we place windmills in huge quantities at sea, clustered in "windparks". Taking up more space and almost uglier than production platforms, it is doubtful we'll ever consider them "Monument" or "Tourist Attraction".
Windmills just North of IJmuiden
We're home in one piece!
IJmuiden is no place to enter when you expect friendliness. Both times we approached the locks nobody bothered to answer our VHF call. In itself no problem, we don't need an answer if you open the lock and operate the lights. But an hour before we entered we heard you complain about "yachts using VHF" to a tug's skipper. Well.... So... If you've time for that.... Why not adhere to basic procedures and answer like everybody else does?
Paard van Marken - almost home
With some very decent 30 knot wind in the back, we race from Amsterdam to Monnickendam. Here you feel what course and waves do for the boat. We make a good 7.5 knots all the way to Marken! Tired and with a Dutch music station blaring through the stereo, we motor the last mile from Marken to our slip in Hemmeland Marina.
Beer @ home
"Easy" survived its first voyage, its first semi-storm and our abuse....