The Journey Begins
April 3rd, 2003

Our big news is that we have found a suitable vessel and negotiated its purchase. Now we start the process of transferring money from the US, sea trial, survey and vessel registration here in Holland. Here is a photo:

She is a Jacson, built of steel in Rotterdam in 1988, 12 meters (39.4 ft) overall, 11 meters (36ft) on deck, 1.1 meters (3.6 ft) draft. Major work and upgrades were done in 1997and 1999, including the installation of a six cylinder, 135 HP Perkins diesel engine and a bow thruster. She is in beautiful condition inside and out. She just went back in the water a week ago following a complete bottom painting. There are both inside and outside steering positions and the windscreen and canvas fold down to get under low bridges. Her name is Fiesta, which we shall keep

We had a good flight from Seattle via Detroit, arriving in Amsterdam last Friday morning a little earlier than scheduled at 7:10 am. Since our original flight from Seattle was cancelled the 747 from Detroit was very crowded, only three empty seats in cattle class. Sleep was almost impossible due to two women on their first flight who got very drunk and were in a loud party mood for most of the trip, until they finally passed out. I was hoping they would throw up on each other, but at least I knew they would feel lousy their first day in Holland.

Delft is a beautiful small city and is an ideal place for us to get settled here. Everything is close and accessible and there is a network of connecting freeways that go all over Holland. Our apartment turned out to be a house, one in a typical row of houses here. It is also typical that it is only 15 feet wide. It has a large living room, big kitchen, toilet and an enclosed garden downstairs. The is a very steep and narrow spiral (helical actually) stair to the upper floor with two bedrooms, bathroom with shower and separate toilet. It was completely remodeled five years ago and is in new condition. There is a six burner gas range in the kitchen with an electric oven. The oven looks like it had never been used. When we turned it on it tripped the circuit breaker for the whole house, so now we know why.

We are very impressed with the Dutch people we have met. All have been polite and friendly and almost everyone speaks perfect English. Now if only everything were written in English it would we could get along fine. We knew Holland was the place for bicycles, but the extent amazes us. Also bicyclists seem to have absolute priority. They seem oblivious to pedestrians, trucks and cars. I am amazed that I haven’t killed anyone yet or been killed while walking. The cost of living here seems about the same as in Seattle, except for gas for the car, which is about $4.60 a gallon at the current exchange rate for euros. This is somewhat offset by our little 1.8 liter, 5 speed VW Polo which zips along nicely and gets about 40 miles to the gallon.

We have spent every day here driving over the greater part of Holland looking at boats. It is a relief to have found one that is suitable and in our price range. We can now relax our pace and maybe do some sight seeing. I was hoping to be able to do e-mail through our cell phone, but that is not possible unless we sign up for yearly contract. Luckily there is an Internet Café close by, but we may have to search for one as we travel. Apparently they are not very common here as most people have access along with their cable TV. We also find that very few places will take our Visa or Mastercard, they say it is just too expensive. The Dutch are proud of being “cheap” so that is something I have in common with them. Luckily the cards work in the bank machines, so we have reverted to using cash everywhere.

More news later,

Colin and Patricia.