The yearly reoccurring cabin boat weekend to open the sailing season took place first weekend of April. Friday evening all sailors dripped into the cabin boats and were welcomed with a hot mug of tomato soup. Since we were the first renters of the season, we received two lovely bottles of silersbitter (sailors”bitter”), which everyone passed on the first night but warmed the second night.  

After a cold night, with a temperature of -3 in the harbor of Grou, we were awoken by Rodin’s struggle with connecting the box and some lovely techno afterwards (the harbor was empty anyways). We had breakfast after finding everything in two different boats. The lovely service of the Frysian supermarket Poiesz to lose the peanut butter (how to survive a weekend without peanut butter??) made us search even longer. We set sail to the lovely Snitermar (Sneekermeer) with some motorboating over the Prinses Margrietkanaal. With one reef and 4 Bft with windgusts of 5 Bft Northeast, a happy sun and still low temperatures. We even had the surprise of sailing in the snow and hail for a little bit, as well as flying toilet paper through the cabin. 

Lunch was held on the island of Eva, placed right next to Adam of course. We had a nice and warm cup of tea on this island that would otherwise be occupied by geese, as the amount of faeces explained. The boats were not equipped with a “boom”, but the first boat got stuck right after lunch. The second boat came to the rescue! Luckily we were freed from the Frysian mud on engine power and the endurance of Thijs. Around five we docked the boats in Terherne, ate some delicious wraps and explored kameleondorp under a bright sky full of stars. We saw Orion both in the sky and in the water, the big dipper was also spotted. After the skippers went to bed, the rest of the crew played some gory bloody black stories and emptied the bottle of silersbitter. Around bed time the ship was covered in a beautiful slippery layer of ice.  

Next morning, we set sail again on the Snitsermar, the morning started peaceful with a little bit of wind, which became a 3 bft later in the morning. We were sailing together with the Skûtsjes of Heerenveen, Drachten and Sneek, who were also training on the lake. After practicing different techniques like doing a “sliplijn”, making a “pannenkoek” and other, we lowered the sails, turned on the motor and went back to Grou.  

It was an amazing weekend! Thank you zeilcie, especially Aletta for arranging all this, and thank you Merel and Thijs for being our skippers! See you all in summer sailing week again. We of course also encountered problems with the NS trains not going, interested in our journey back? Then just continue reading. 

In Grou we discovered that all public transport was down… which led to the very serious discussion on how to get home, if at all. Our only option was to walk to the station and hope for a savior. And as luck would have it, once arrived at the station we heard the train alarm and a train was coming! We sprinted to the train, but unfortunately, it went even further up north. So hitchhiking was the only way to go. We made a cardboard sign and were picked up by a very friendly high school French teacher, who brought us all the way to Zwolle. If you happen to know her, please thank her from us! Arrived in Zwolle at 7:20 pm, it was time for dinner.  

After forty minutes and with our smoothies and sandwiches in hand, we hurried to the bus to Apeldoorn. We were warned not to eat or drink anything... (...but by then we had eaten most already ;) ). And took a bus from Apeldoorn to Arnhem. Tired, and playing games on the bus windows, we found ourselves in dark Arnhem and took our last busses to Ede, Wageningen, and Driel.

Here at Aqua, we’re all about good times and last Thursday was no exception! The world may be big, cold and scary but that's nothing a campfire and good company won't fix. Welcome to the dinosaur birthday party! ??

It was time to channel our inner dinosaur in a series of games and challenges. The prize? A wonderful triceratops plushie. Who wouldn't want him?

To kick things off and get warm, we started with an egg race around the building (a birthday party classic). The twist being that you can't use your arms because dinos don't have opposable thumbs. Don't let the comments of the neighbor or the mud stop you during the race, because before you know it you're making a final sprint to the finish line. Turns out that holding the spoon sideways is a good tactic!

Up next is a team challenge: colour the most beautiful dino (coloring inside the lines optional). In 3 teams of 2 people we put our artistic sensibilities to the test. Silke was kind enough to be our judge. Her verdict declared the rainbow dinosaur the winner. Not mine sadly, though Merel and I put great effort into the aqua merch ours is wearing. The rubber duck of the third team really adds a unique flair that should be appreciated!

The third game called for another change in location, this time to the boat house. Inside there were dozens of chocolate eggs hidden in every possible nook and cranny. The goal is, of course, to find as many as possible. Finding these tiny chocolate eggs is both harder and easier than expected. They're brightly colored so they do stand out pretty well among the many shades of grey and brown. But on the other hand they're also tiny and Guus' friendly mocking about that you're blind and that he can see at least 4 from where he's standing are far from helpful. I can't speak about what happened upstairs but it sounded like a good time!

And finally, the last challenge which proved to be the most challenging of all: eating an entire cup of knock-off danonetje as fast as possible. Again without hands. Thank you Guus. Wonderful. This one was messy (very messy). You're standing there in the light of the campfire, hunched over a cup of yoghurt, and trying your best to NOT get it everywhere while giggling like idiots. The strategy is apparently to crush the little plastic cup with your chin so you can get the whole thing empty. It took us all quite a bit to figure that one out. Merel managed to emerge victorious in spite of accidentally dropping her first cup to ground. Truly a legendary battle.

And so the events had come to an end! Points were tallied up and I turned out the winner! Yes dear friends, I took the plushie home and named him Harold (Thank you Jelle for the name).

We chatted until late into the night and the firewood (mostly) ran out. All and all: a great evening :)


(Disclaimer: No dinosaurs were harmed in the organisation of this association evening)

At the end of September, it was time for the last sailing weekend with nice weather: the introweekend! Six new members and six “old” members set sail to Akkrum, Friesland. The train ride was a long and hefty one: many transfers and busy trains. Eventually, we got to the beautiful station of Akkrum where we were a little too early, so the group leaders had to figure something out to keep us busy in the meantime. We had to walk to the city center of Akkrum without using our phones or any maps. We had to follow our intuition. It did not take that long before we figured that our intuitions suck, and we ended up in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully, we got to the center after all. 


When we arrived at the boats, a little outside of Akkrum, Kilian had some warm soup for us to recharge from the trip. Super nice! We were then split up in teams to set sail to the harbor we were going to spend the night. We were given a map and some preparation time to figure out the way we had to go. It did not take long before we were on our way, confident as ever. Once again, our confidence was damaged, since we went the wrong way, and again, and again… and again. Eventually we were going into somewhat the right direction and kept on navigating straight ahaid… At one moment, our skipper told us we would see the coast of England if we kept on like this, so we returned. Finally, we made it to the harbor were chips and Klonkies (beer) was waiting for us. We drank some beer and had some snacks and good talks before going to sleep in the boats. 


The next day, we opted to go for an early breakfast. Helas, this was too ambitious. We stayed out too late the night before, so we needed our sleep. After a nice breakfast and some coffee, we were on our way to the Sneekermeer (Snitser Mar). The wind was not too bad, so we could practice some sailing wich was nice. We had lunch on one of the cute little islands situated in the lake and continued sailing. It was still unclear if we were going to stay in a harbor for the second night or stay on one of the islands. For a luxepoes (luxury pussy in Dutch) like me, this would have been a challenge to say the least ;-) So I was really glad to hear that we could go to Terherne to stay in the harbor there. 


In Terherne we did a small walk around the village. Little did I know that a famous Dutch film has been made here: de Kameleon. The whole town was filled with Kameleon references, which was nice to see. After a nice meal we had another few Klonkies before going to bed (this time a little earlier ;)).


While I was sleeping in the boat, I was suddenly awakened by an immensely loud noise. It seemed as if the boats were rocking because of the sound waves it produced. I was scared at first, thinking the boat might break or something would go wrong. After a while I figured it was actually someone snoring a few boats away. As of today, it remains a mystery who produced such loud sounds… 


On the second and last day, we trained a little more. I got to practice my ‘gijping’ skills and learned more about the directions of the wind. We went around the lake for a long time and I got to witness some more training on ‘man overboord’. Merel did a great job getting the man back in! At the end of the weekend, she was awarded with this by becoming a skipper herself! Congratulations!! We left Akkrum in the train fulfilled, with new memories and more experience on the boat. Thanks to all that were involved in organizing this weekend, it was great!

- Robbert