There are two ways to get to Amsterdam from Dordrecht, a distance of about 50 miles. The most direct route goes
via the Nieuwe Meer, but has a section through the heart of Amsterdam which entails travelling in convoy, and at night.
The Hollandsche Ijssel gets you to Gouda, and the Gouwe to Alphen. Here you turn left onto the Oude Rijn for
a short distance, until the canal branches. The Oude Rijn carries straight on towards Leiden, a route which, though longer, reaches
Amsterdam without having to travel at night (see below). The route to the Nieuwe Meer branches right here.
There are two lakes (Braassemereer and Westeinderplas) to traverse before coming to the Nieuwe Meer, where there
is a marina just short of the Railway Bridge at the north end.
The route between the Nieuwe Meer and the Nordzee Canal at Amsterdam is only 4 miles, but has 11 bridges, the
first and tenth of which only open around midnight each day. There is a convoy system in operation in which all north-going boats
traverse the section starting at around 11pm. Once all these boats are through, the south-going boats can start their trip. In
practice this is either the highlight or the worst part of the trip, depending on your porint of view, as travelling in convoy
in the dark in confined spaces is not some folks idea of fun.
An alternative to the overnight passage is to go via Leiden and take the Ringvaart to Haarlem and then the Spaarne
and Zijkanaal C out to the Nordzee Canal, and hence to Amsterdam.
There are bridges on both these routes that have restricted opening times on Sundays and holidays, so careful
planning is important. A good Dutch Waterways guide is essential.
The most popular marina in Amsterdam is the Sixhaven, just across the canal (via a free ferry) from the center
of the city. As can be expected, the marina gets very full in season (in fact most of the time...).