To celebrate my wife's birthday, I surprised her with a nice and romantic boat tour of the Reeuwijkse Plassen. I rented a "fluisterboot" (in Dutch meaning a "whisper boat") and traveled for three hours over the various connected lakes, from one end of the recreation park to the other.
I was the proud and courageous captain, navigating across the expanses of water and negotiating the slight waves and wind very confidently. With my wife safe at my side I felt like a brave soul scanning the horizon for interesting landmarks to explore.
At one point I took a wrong turn and found myself blocked by a narrow passageway that led to nowhere. So I turned the boat around and retraced my route back to the open waters. I felt a bump and the boat bounced up slightly and then stopped moving. Oops, I had run aground on an invisible "veenhomp" just under the surface of the water.
We tried to rock the boat back and forth, and there was this low hanging tree branch that we pulled on, without success. We were completely stuck and I was ready to bail out and swim to the nearby shore or call for help.
Fortunately an older couple lying on their lawn heeded our calls for help and gave us a hand. They threw a rope our way and we tied it to the boat. They kept pulling real hard and we continued rocking the boat, thrusting the motor first in reverse and then forward. This episode lasted forever without the slightest budge, and we felt pretty embarrassed.
At last we were jarred loose and thanked the kind couple for their help. We made it back to shore and as a reward for surviving our near disaster we ate a fancy dinner at 't Wapen van Reeuwijk.
For those wondering what a "veenhomp" is, one can best describe it as a broken off slab of peat hunk.