Bootje varen - round of caches in the Netherlands

Bootje varen - round of caches in the Netherlands

One hundred and eight T5 caches - and all from the comfort of a boat. That's what we thought when we saw the geoart of a fish with an eye and a sailing boat on the map in the Netherlands.

We quickly got the Geo-Links (name slightly changed...) from Berlin for the tour and Brummelbären and Geo-Links found a date for this long weekend much faster than expected. As usual, we like to post pictures on Facebook - sometimes on the Cacher-Reisen page, but also on the Brummelbären page or under our own Instagram accounts. Your reactions have been tremendous. It's actually a miracle that we didn't meet any well-known German geocachers on the water during the two days. Many plan this route for the next few days and weeks. We were happy to answer your inquiries about the boat, accommodation and material. It was fun for us to see how we could use our accumulated experience. This article is also intended to serve that purpose: for all those who are considering the tour and would like some tips. And for all those who have never heard of it but are now curious.

Anders als sonst wollen wir Euch gar nicht an unserem Tagebuch teilhaben lassen, sondern strukturiert von unseren Erfahrungen berichten. Wir hoffen, es hilft Euch ein klein wenig bei Eurer Planung.

The rounds "Bootje varen" at Grou/Netherlands are all listed as T5, the D rating is mostly D 1.5. There are occasional exceptions to this. In total there are 56 caches on round 1, plus four geocaches for the eye of the fish, also T5, listed under the cache name Nog meer visjes #1 etc. Don't forget on round 1 - it happened to us that we found out on the evening of the first day that we had solved the four caches with different titles, but hadn't picked them up. That gave us a few more kilometers by boat on the second day…. Since the second day we had the much nicer weather, it wasn't bad at all.
The second round, starting with GC8PBD2, then includes another 46 caches.
We needed - comfortably - for the first round 5.5 hours (with instruction on the ship) and for the second round 3.5 hours. For us, another hour was added for the lap of honor to the four caches of the eye, which it would have been better to have picked up the day before.

Another cache, a challenge, is also on the round. Also T5 and from the location between the fish and the four caches of the eye. In other words, you'll drive past anyway. So see if you meet the log requirements for GC4EERE. If not, Cacher-Reisen from 2021 may be able to help you further... It's about caches in different countries around the world.

The caches of the round "Bootje varen" are listed as mystery. This means that something has to be done at home before you start on the water. And that is the same for all caches in the series: they are puzzle caches. The puzzles have something to do with water and wildlife in the water, you always see the finished motif before you open the puzzle. The caches each have puzzles with a very different number of pieces. It starts with the number 1 with a jigsaw puzzle with just a few pieces. However, that changes as the series progresses. Once a puzzle is completed, the correct coordinates appear on screen. So, some hard work that can be fun and you've solved the mystery. But be sure to solve it in advance from home! On the water on the cell phone, the number is an impossibility. And also start planning early enough before the tour, otherwise it can degenerate into stress. But you can also share the work...

The starting point for both rounds is the same jetty, directly at the water sports Anja. Always easy to find on the map, as there is a bonus for the turns, unusually listed as Tradi, GC8V404. This can be picked up at any time, as a start or end of a day on the water. Although at first I thought it wasn't a T5 because you can lift it from land - it's a T5 and you can't... But see for yourself. You have a boat for the round….

The cans are usually petlings that are stuck in a holder. Sometimes there is no logbook, sometimes no petling but a small bag... The round itself is well maintained, with the large number of caches it always happens that one or the other is not there or is not in good condition.

I myself sunk a petling while “fetching” from a tree…. Confessed to the owner, who of course knows the problem. Since we had previously donated a few containers, we were only able to attach a small replacement to the tree here. As I said - the owner is informed and we asked the following cachers in cache #1 to take a replacement with them.



As stated in the listing of the GC8PVGT, we contacted both the owner and the water sports company Anja. Let's link the boat rental right at the start of the two rounds:
Of course you can also bring your own boat or find a rental elsewhere. We found it very convenient to have the opportunity with WSB Anja. The contact was very friendly and competent, both in advance via the Internet and the two days on site. Of course you know immediately what you want to do on the water…..
And yes: all rented boats can be driven without any boat license. Get in, listen to the briefing and off you go. That's really no problem at all.

Since we were quite spontaneous and at short notice, there was only "Whaly 370" for us to rent. So lucky! So we didn't have to decide anything... There would also be the possibility to rent larger sloops. Browse the website and you will see what we mean by that...

Disadvantages of the "little" Whaly:
- more than 6 people should not ride, ideal for 4
- no steering wheel to steer, but you steer with the outboard motor

Advantages of the "little" Whaly:
- cheaper than big boats
- Easier access to the caches in the "undergrowth"
- with the hard plastic boat you can also drive a little rougher to a polder....

For us, the Whaly was a stroke of luck. It looks like a big inflatable boat with an outboard motor, only made of hard plastic. Let's add a picture. The Whaly is intended for up to 6 people, the four of us had really good space on it. Expect one person to be behind the wheel/engine. Since there is no steering wheel, he/she is busy steering.
Another person is busy holding the Bootje in place during the logging process. You should have material with you for this. And that person later has upper arms....
A third person is an advantage, who gets the cache container (usually Petling), logs it and puts it back again. Hence our recommendation: at least 3 people, with 4 is optimal.

As an "inflatable boat" (refers only to the shape, not to the material!), the Whaly lies fairly flat on the water. The caches are sometimes hidden at the edge of the canals so that we could just reach out. We occasionally logged for a group with a larger sloop, since these were on site, but did not come down to the cache. Size doesn't always help... However, we occasionally had to get up in the whaly - but that's really not a problem, don't rock!

Do it in two days or in one day? Both are possible....
During our visit, the boat rental was open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. He is currently back to his standard opening hours from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. We decided on "only" one round per day, the larger round #1 on the first day, the second on the second day. This not only makes sense that you can still walk a few meters that day (5 hours on the boat was enough for us....), but also in terms of fuel.. The nice boat rental company told us about teams, both of them doing laps in a day. Shortly before returning, the fuel was empty (although you notice a reserve canister) and they had to paddle. If you rent the boat for two days, you have the same vehicle on the second day, but the tank is already full again the next morning. A great security for us. We can only recommend spreading the tour over two days and taking a break at one of the many jetties. Picnics are said to be very nice there! Just enjoy the two days on the water in a beautiful landscape.

The Bonus-Tradi can serve as a point of arrival. There is a small parking lot there (free of charge), which also had free spaces in the morning. On weekends when the weather is good, you won't get a place here later.
Anja's water sports business can be found a few meters from the parking lot near the Tradis and near the tea house. He has several flags outside when it opens. Actually not to be missed. There are also toilets right next door (not a bad idea at all before departure, otherwise the boat has to stop and you can always find possibilities behind bushes...). As soon as you have arrived at WSB Anja, all you have to do is give your name. All papers are prepared, a signature for liability and off you go into the boat for instruction on the engine. At least that's how we were allowed to experience it.


On various booking sites you will find a variety of accommodations in this holiday region. Something for every price range.

We can only tell you about our accommodation and we are happy to do that because we were super excited. We were at "Bij Maus". You can find them here on the internet:​ and on some well-known booking sites. It's not exactly on the Bootje loop, we had a small approach in the morning. But we didn't mind, the car was there and in the evening we had the choice of the surrounding towns/cities.

Bij Maus is a small, family-run house with 2 double rooms. Each room is lovingly furnished. The family lives next door in the same house, in between is the breakfast room, which can also be used as a lounge in the evening. And the breakfast is awesome! At the moment you don't get a buffet in big hotels, we've gotten used to breakfast served at the table. But here at the mouse it is simply prepared lovingly and tastefully delicious. Local, quality produce, fresh, beautifully presented. And the host family is always available for questions and requests - but unobtrusively, unobtrusively and only if you wish. So, we can only recommend for 4 people in 2 double rooms. Also the car is good, there is outdoor seating with a beautiful view of the countryside and very nice operators. If you get there, say hello to them from us!

What is definitely useful is a way to get there by boat to move to a position. We had the good Gardena weed rake with us. A very useful tool!
If you can, take a few petlings and log strips with you on the round. There is always a holder without an insert so that you can clearly see where a replacement belongs. We believe that everyone can help a little to keep such rounds alive, which we all really enjoy.

You don't actually need a waterproof bag like the one we had with us . The boat has two small options to stow something. So the normal backpack will do. We also had a water protection for the mobile phone with us - useful when water comes from above. Otherwise you won't get wet from below in the boat. (Of course we don't usually know what you make of it).

BUT: An umbrella is not to be sneezed at! Even if we geocachers usually wear outdoor clothes and an umbrella is rather annoying, it is important here for dry logging. The following cachers will thank you if the logbook is reasonably dry... And the weather changes here, as is usual in Friesland or the North Sea. More than once a day we played jacket on – jacket off.

Jacket: think of warm clothes. Even if the sun is shining in the morning, it can cool down quickly on the water. Better to have more with you - you have space on the boat for that.

A long weekend in the Netherlands is not cheap.
We had the following costs:
- Individual arrival, of course
- Accommodation: EUR 130 for 2 nights for 2 people in a double room including breakfast
- Boat: 105.- EUR for 2 days, plus 18.- EUR fuel consumption
- Meals in the Netherlands: slightly more expensive than in Germany, of course also individually controllable

Arrival and departure
This is of course different, depending on where you are traveling from. As a geocacher, you can look around the Grou/Leiwarden/Drachten/Smeek area and find the caches that are closest to you as by-catch.
Regarding timing: We arrived on Thursday, had rented the boat for Friday and Saturday and are already back in Germany on Saturday evening for an appointment with Houdini, GC876XG, on Sunday morning. The "assembly" of your trip is of course entirely dependent on preferences and times.

And now we wish you lots of fun at "Bootje varen" in the Netherlands.

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