Last Saturday, Aqua was invited to a special event of the waterscouting: the official opening of the sailing season! The entire association (which includes Aqua) came together for a whole day of nautical fun and games. With everyone, we played a smuggling game where the kids had to get floofy balls from the harbour to the drop-off post. In the meantime, Gaos to stop them by throwing footballs into their sails. We acted as 'neutral' pirates, meaning that everyone was our enemy! When we boarded a boat, they had to return to their own starting post and try again.

The wind was pretty severe, with gusts reaching 5 or even 6 beaufort, which meant some intense sailing. We thought it very brave that the WS let the kids sail with this wind, but everything went okay! That is, no one got hurt. There were some serious damages after the game had finished. A few broken lines, a tiller broken off and worst of all: the mainsail of the Aegir ripper clean through from back to front! Fortunately, no one was hurt and we managed to get the sail down quickly. With the jib still up, we scrambled back to the harbour to pack up and assess the damage. Even though we could not find a fault in the sail, it was still way beyond repair at this point. Thanks to the Waterscouting, we could replace the sail right away with a backup sail they had stored somewhere, so we can still head out on the Rhine!

We spend the rest of the day hanging out on one of the tugboats of the WS, taking pictures and even driving it for a bit (go, Merel!). Despite our adventures and heart-breaking damages, the weather was great and the mood greater, so overall we had a pretty great day!

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)