They had begun wrapping Molen Roode Leeuw late last week for a long-awaited renovation. Government funding had come through, and it was going to become noisy for a few months. My cruising plans fit well with this, as the work was to commence on Monday, 1 May.
Zonder Zorg had been moored in the Historic Ship Harbour in Gouda for seven months, and she was itching to move on. During the past weeks, I had power-washed her exterior, done routine maintenance on the engine, generator and other mechanical systems. I had filled her water tanks and ferried two hundred litres of diesel oil in twenty-litre jugs from the service station a block away. We were ready to go.
Monday dawned glum and drizzly. Then it changed to light rain. Zonder Zorg's open cockpit offers no protection from the elements. The weather app on my iPhone showed a couple of hours of dry in the early afternoon, so I waited, not liking the thought of starting out the season in rain.
In a lull between showers, I pedalled to the supermarket for a top-up on supplies, then at 1330, I flashed up, slipped the mooring lines and headed down harbour.
The first leg of the year's cruise was about three hundred metres. I paused to wait for the lock at the end of the harbour to be prepared to take me down to the level of the tidal arm of the Hollandse IJssel. Out of the lock and to the right led downriver to Rotterdam. I turned upriver in low-water slack, and a little over a kilometre later, I locked up into the placid non-tidal reaches of the river.
It was threatening to rain again as motored out into the countryside and between pastures of grazing sheep and delightful homes along the riverbanks. As I waited for the lift-bridge in Haastrecht, rain appeared much more imminent. Once through the bridge, I took advantage of the attractive mooring, securing and ducking inside the cabin as the rain began.
The rain shower soon ended, and sounds astern pulled me out to check their source. A crane was hoisting a boat from a driveway into the canal. Another boater starting the cruising year. The forecast showed continuing rain and rain showers, so I decided to stay even though I had come only 5.1 kilometres. Had I not stayed, I'd never have learned what a pretty town Haastrecht is. I like this style of cruising.