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Sandblasted on Vlieland

Updated: Feb 2, 2020

We survive the night in the harbour of Vlieland with no mishaps whatsoever, and wake up the next morning with the wind still blowing 6 and gusting 7 Beaufort from the southwest. We decide to try our luck on the North Sea coast in the hope that we will not be absolutely sandblasted on the beach. Our bet pays off and in spite of the strong wind the sand on the beach is drifting in the wind at ankle level creating a weird effect like mist blowing in the wind. It is lovely to have the beach to ourselves in the middle of August.

Presumably most people think that it must be horrible here with this wind. We complete our walk with a delicious lunch at ’t Badhuys starting with a mojito for Roland and a mint tea for Leontine.

It is time for us to start making plans for our next destination. Of course we must be aware that wherever we sail, we must leave ample time and opportunity to return. The short term predictions are for fair weather for the next five days, then strong winds with heavy rain for the following weekend. The decision is quite straight forward: we will leave Vlieland in the morning and sail to Terschelling to explore the island for a few days and then set sail again on Friday (in front of the bad weather front) to return to our home port of Makkum.

Although this is definitely not what we were originally planning for our summer holiday, we are both happy with the plan and relaxed about the fact that it is plan C and not plan A or B.

We leave Vlieland in the morning and enjoy a fast trip to Terschelling with the tidal current adding 3 knots of speed to the boat.

Shortly after our arrival we discover that friends of ours, Alfred and Sanne with their 3 children are also moored in the harbour, so we join them on board for some pre-dinner drinks. The main topic of conversation is the weather, past present and future as they also have made considerable changes in their routing

We spend the next day exploring the town of West-Terschelling, at one point in order to avoid a heavy downpour we pop into the popular beach restaurant De Walvis. Whilst we wait for the rain to stop we read the menu to see if we might like to have our dinner there. We decide it would be nicer to eat on the boat.

We always try when we are in a new harbour to visit some local places of interest, and here in Terschelling we start off with a healthy bicycle ride to Formerum to visit the Wrakkenmuseum (shipwreck museum). The museum itself to say the least is a quaint collection of stuff, much of which has been washed up on the beaches and also a lot of objects donated to the museum. One of the real charms is that it has all been set up in a very child friendly manner with a playground in the back garden all made of flotsam and other random articles.

We continue our sightseeing on our bikes to the North Sea coast and then back towards the harbour over the beautiful dunes covered in heather which at this time of year is in full blossom - we are so enjoying the sights on the way that we take several wrong turns and we probably cycle twice as far as is necessary.

Our final day on Terschelling starts on our friends boat, with a party for their son Rein, who is celebrating his seventh birthday with coffee and birthday cake. He grins from ear to ear with all the attention and the presents he receives. Lovely to see the joy some lego, birthday cake and bunting can bring to the most important day of the year in a youngsters mind.

Terschelling is famous for its cranberry crop, and although most of the processing of the crop is now performed on the mainland we head off after lunch to the Cranberry Barn. In fact we really want to visit the Tiger Bunker part of the German Atlantic Wall dating back to WWII - unfortunately for a tour of the bunker-complex you need to book in advance and we are much too late for that. As we pass the entrance to the bunker on our way to the Cranberry Barn we decide just to have a look inside just incase. We are told that for an entrance fee of just 1 Euro for the two of us we are free to look around the outside of the whole complex as long as we don’t enter any of the bunkers. So 1 Euro later with a map of the bunkers in hand we set off around this most incredible set of fortifications which primarily housed a massive German radar installation. All the bunkers had been filled up with sand at the end of last century for safety reasons, and now work is being carried out to uncover them again. Both of us are impressed by the very large scale of the whole setup and can imagine how daunting it must have felt for the islanders living there during the occupation. After our visit to the bunker-complex it starts to rain so we decide to skip the Cranberry Barn altogether.

The following morning the alarm clock wakes us at 06:45 in time for a 08:00 departure back to Makkum. We leave the harbour and motor southwest through the Schuitengat which saves us an hour compared to the traditional route through Slenk and then West Meep. Three hours later we drop our sails outside Harlingen and motor into the wind along the narrow channel Boontjes back to the locks and onto the IJsselmeer.

We take our time in Makkum to tidy everything up and enjoy one last sunny evening on the boat before returning the following morning to everyday life living in a house!

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