We grabbed a few basics, toothbrush and camera and made our way up to the bar. I was definitely in need of a good drink and the sight of a crisp Dutch lager on tap was a welcome sight indeed. With some gentle music playing in the background, we made a toast ?To a safe and pleasant journey - so far so good.?
After an hour it was time to call it a day. Both of us were tired and we've got a long drive tomorrow before the next ferry to Oslo.
?There's a quite area around the corner,? said Jim.
I looked a bit puzzled, but stayed near the bar as I finished off my beer.
?OK, then. Time to crash out?? I asked.
Jim made his way to the quieter area and was all set to bed down for the night.
?I'm off to our cabin, but you can stay here if you like!? I chuckled!
I'd forgot to mention that we had been booked cabins for the 7 hour crossing, in fact I think it comes as standard with the ticket. As we opened the door, we were greeted by two comfortable beds and one of the best showers I have ever had. It was a very luxurious way of starting what will undoubtedly be an arduous and uncomfortable journey.
I slept like a baby and didn't hear a thing until the tannoy sounded the following morning announcing that we would be docking in one hours time. Feeling refreshed and raring to go we made our way down towards the car deck. While waiting for the water-tight doors to be unlocked that led us back to our vehicles we got chatting to another Land Rover fan. He had an ex-Camel Discovery and was on his way to Europe to do some filming.
?What sort of filming?? I asked inquisitively.
He handed me his card - Mark O'Shea - Herpetologist and Television Presenter.
I wasn't sure what a Herpetologist was, but there on the card was a picture of him and a huge snake. I didn't want to say anything, but sure I'd watched some programmes that he had presented. There's more about Mark at the link here.
I handed him one of my cards and told him to keep an eye out for us on the website. ?See how we get on with the Moss Marathon.?
?The only cars I spotted on this ferry,? he said were your two Land Rovers. ?I'm driving a hire car at the moment and I couldn't tell you what it was or even what colour it is, but Land Rovers I notice.?
Ten minutes later he was still wandering around the deck peering through windscreens to see if he recognised his car!
Fuel in Holland is cheaper than Germany, so we decided to fill up early for the 600 mile run to northern Denmark and our next ferry. Jim's Land Rover has been modified with all sorts of goodies, including an additional long-range fuel tank, plumbed directly into the main tank. My tank soon filled and as I chatted to him as he filled his vehicle I noticed diesel spilling out onto the ground below.
?I think you've over-filled it,? I said. ?It's coming out of the overflow pipe.? Unfortunately I was wrong. There was a major leak and fuel was pissing out of the bottom of the vehicle. At over £1.00 per litre we had to catch it as quickly as possible. A fuel attendant ran out with bucket in his hand and this was thrown underneath. Jim crawled underneath to find that the pipe linking the main tank with auxiliary tank was leaking. He tried at first to repair it by tightening up the Jubilee clips securing the pipe but it didn't work, so had to resort to some 'Bush Mechanic' techniques. Armed with a length of tyre inner tube and a screwdriver he set about repairing the problem.
I took a couple of photos for the record, but guessed that Jim was somewhat embarrassed about the whole thing. After all, he is the team mechanic and there was his vehicle leaking diesel out everywhere. The fuel attendant spoke good English.
?15 countries in 5 days,? said the fuel attendant, pointing to the banner on the rear window. ?I'm not sure about that. You haven't even made it to the start point!?
As Jim emerged from underneath his Land Rover, soaked to the skin in oily, smelly diesel, we had to see the funny side of it. Even Jim put on a smile as he staggered off to the toilets to get cleaned up. I guess he's only happy if he's covered in grease and oil and working under a Land Rover!
The rest of the drive across Holland was fairly uneventful. I use the word fairly......
?Jim,? I called on the radio. ?I've got a nasty electrical burning smell here!?
I frantically switched off everything electrical and pulled out the cigarette lighter plug that was feeding a 4-way converter and hence all my electrical gizmos - VHF radio, Sat Nav, iPphone and Iridium, satellite phone. It was red hot!
Just before we had left, I'd popped into Maplin and bought a 12 volt to 16 volt converter to allow me to charge my laptop as well, but I guess I'd overdone it with the electrics and melted the plug! Luckily there was no real damage and a quick filing of the plug parts back into shape and we were on our way again.
The journey through Germany though dragged on. There I was driving through sheet rain, negotiating endless road-works, while sucking marmite out of a tube - my only remaining rations to hand. Were the previous four weeks of toil actually worth it for this?! I did begin to wonder.
I knew though that once we arrived in Denmark that things would be OK. I'd visited the country on countless occasions, both whilst serving in the Army and as a civvy en route to Norway and the weather had never failed me. Sure enough, as we crossed the border, the clouds lifted, the stars came out and life was good again - I just love this place!
By 21:30 though I was dead beat and decided to call it a day. It was time to test out the new bed in the back, courtesy of Multimat who provided us with all the foam and additional sleeping mats. Cut to size to snuggly fill as much of the rear of the vehicle as possible, complete with pillows courtesy of Maurice and Rosemary, I dozed off into a deep and comfortable sleep.