We arrived at the Hoek of Holland early Tuesday morning but we still had a long way to go down the Nieuwe Waterweg. This is Blade Runner on water. It is pure industrial mayhem with many commercial ships chugging up and down the water way. Thumbs up to the Dutch for utilising their waterways properly. Whilst admiring the commercial scene unbeknown to us the Port Authority had been calling us up on the VHF – we didn’t know which station they were on and they change channels as one heads inland. The big signs either side of the canal telling you which VHF channel to tune in to were a bit of a giveaway, but none of us had noticed them! After chatting to the Port Authority we were then stopped by the river police, who were amiable enough. They were no doubt joking about a boat load of old duffers aimlessly cruising down a major industrial highway. They recommended that we didn’t proceed any further but this wasn’t law so we did anyway.
We hit Spuithaven late in the morning, rather tired, but I needed to head to Albert Heinz to stock up on vege food since all the other crew were big meat-eaters (Spam by the bucket load). The short walk from the mooring to the supermarket took me through a set from the TV soap Coronation Street. People sat outside their houses on deck chairs, kids played in the street, neighbours gossiped on each others’ doorsteps, but there was no accounting for their taste in window-dressing décor – lace curtains rule here. And the dogs sh!t in the streets. Hmmmm. Still, the place seemed friendly enough. After asking around we were recommended the dodgy canal-side restaurant Barney Beer (the Flintstones would have a copyright field day with their logo). The walls and shelves were adorned with hundreds of stuffed bears but to its credit Barney Beer served up some great fish.