Our Impromptu

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September 5 to September 14, 2005: Back to Denmark

September 5, 2005 (Monday)

The sun is shining, there is little wind. We return the extension for our power chord to charge our cell phone and our computers (we cannot charge anything else at this time because our transformer is "toast" as you might remember). We say good-bye, take our docking lines off and ease out of our very tight spot. Thank God Juergen knows how to handle Impromptu. We barely had space to reverse before we almost could have bumped into the huge powerboat that had arrived the night before, and in front of us were pilings for the adjacent docking spaces - of course filled with sailboats. Juergen went back and forth until he could use the bow thruster to move the bow around and then forward - an excellent manoeuvre, which people admired him for (again).We raised our sails after getting through the very tight channel (Juergen thinks we even hit bottom at times - in the channel) but kept our engine going as the wind was very light. It was yet another beautiful day, and we did not mind going at around 6.8 knots, i.e., we kept the engine going very slowly. It was beautiful. After rounding Fehmarn's southern coast, we passed it west and kept going until we saw the southeastern corner of Langeland, our next island. Bagenkop (pronounced "Bay-enkop") was just another 3 nm away - we motored that part, found the entrance to the harbor and went straight for the dock with the widest pilings (no parallel docking possible here). We did really well and were tied up within just a couple of minutes with 6, yes SIX lines (two forward and four aft, two tied to our midship cleats and two tied to our aft cleats). This way, we sat perfectly secure. We had lunch in the cockpit and then I walked around a little to investigate. Juergen really hates walking because his hip is hurting him too much. He watched me from the cockpit so I could not get into trouble, I guess.

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Our Dock in Bagenkop
Vikings in their imaginary Canoe
Church in Bagenkop

We later on went to see the harbor master, paid our overnight fee and even got access to the Internet, except it was so slow that it did not load our website properly. If you checked last night or today, you may have noticed that a couple of pictures were missing. Sorry about that, but there was nothing I could do. I tried at least four or five times to upload, the best we could do was what you saw, and I don't know whether this will be any better today. We will see. For lunch, we had eaten the eel we had gotten as a gift from the man who had left his camera next to the bench in Lemkenhafen. We were not hungry at all for dinner, so we sat in the cockpit, enjoyed the scenery and watched the incoming boats, had some wine and a few chips, went to bed early as we both enjoy reading at night (I think you noticed that already).

September 6, 2005 (Tuesday)

Another unbelievable morning. The sun was shining, the wind promised great sailing. We had breakfast in the cockpit. Then Juergen treated me to a walk towards the church I had wanted to go to the night before, except, the Internet access kept me away from it until it was dark... So we asked a Danish woman how to get to the church. She responded in Danish. We understood that we could walk through her property to get there, which we did. The church was beautiful, and I took a bunch of photos. This is only one sample. On the way, we saw this sculpture of Vikings in the property of a mariner's school. We left our dock around 1045, motor-sailed until we got to the south eastern corner of the island and began sailing as we rounded the corner to move further north towards our next goal on the same island of Langeland, Spodsbjerg. It took about three hours of perfect sailing (starting at 4.9 knots, reaching 7.4 knots at times and moving along mostly at around 6.8 - 7 knots - wonderful). The sun kept shining. We could be in shorts (not T-shirts until we hit land). We had a wonderful time. We docked (parallel), had lunch (the smoked mackerel we had purchased a few days ago) and then walked over to the harbormaster's office, which was supposed to be open at 1600. He asked us to move our boat as he expected a tug around midnight which wants to unload or load - we were not quite sure - some coal, take a couple of hours of sleep and then leave again. He did not want us to be disturbed. We moved into a spot with pilings again - this time, it worked very well. There was literally no wind and we got some help from the people on the next boat. It was quite easy.

We walked to the bus stop as we had wanted to visit Rudkobing, a town on the other side of the island, too far to reach by boat given our plans for Svendborg for tomorrow but interestingly written up to see it. This bus was for free. The unfortunate thing was that by the time we arrived almost all the shops had already closed. We had a chance to visit an antique dealer who had some very interesting Royal Kopenhagen items, including a fairly sizable vase with a sailboat motif, made before 1929 if I remember correctly. I really love Royal Kopenhagen china and thought this vase was a good buy. We decided to discuss it. We can always have it shipped. There were lots of other items I would have loved to buy but Juergen felt they were too risky as gifts for others.

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Waiting fort he bus that never came
Rudkobing we visited by bus

We strolled back to the bus stop only to learn that there was no more "free" bus that evening. We had to walk quite a bit to get to the bus terminal for the official bus line which, in the end, took us back around 1915. We enjoyed some wine, sitting in the cockpit. At sundown, our flag was rolled up, I checked tomorrow's weather forecast (sunny - thank God - wind between 2 and 4 Beaufort, i.e., not much but hopefully ok though from SW). We will see. We will have to cover about 40plus nm tomorrow. This means, we will have to leave at 0900 at the latest as it is imperative not to arrive too late in any port (a) to find a good spot and, more importantly, (b) to sail during daylight (the buoys are often hard to make out in these waters).

We had gotten a phone call from Juergen's sister Silvi while walking through Rudkobing. Her younger daughter Andrea, one of my godchildren, had gotten engaged to Sander over the weekend. It must have been a rather romantic affair as he asked for her hand (we would have loved to play mouse...). We think it is a great thing and wish them well - need to call them either tonight or some time tomorrow (maybe in the morning before they go to work).

September 7, 2005 (Wednesday)

We left fairly early as we had about 38 nm to cover and wanted to arrive early for a good docking spot. You may have noticed that this is critical in these harbors as, despite their many docks for "guests" and the relatively late season (the summer is officially over in terms of school vacation in all European countries). We had the current with us (given that we were sailing in the Great Belt, there is some tidal current, not as strong as we are used to on the East Coast or the Europeans in the North Sea but still) and made between 7.8 to 9.3 knots, sailing. At the north eastern tip of Langeland, we decided to take the genoa in as the course change caused us to go directly into the wind and the channels through which we had to manoeuvre were not always very wide and the shallows about a foot in depth, not a comfortable situation for us. Now we had the current against us as we went through the sound but we had made so much headway that we did not care. We found all the cardinal and other buoys to assure our safe passage. The haze began to lift slightly and we neared the coastline of the island of Fyn, which we had been on before (remember our visit to Bogense and, by bus, to Odense?). The coastline was beautiful, the houses gorgeous. We thoroughly enjoyed our travel.

The town of Svendborg is one of the largest if not the largest on this island. It has some picturesque buildings, a beautiful church, but also lots of industry. We decided to dock in the commercial harbor as that was closest to town. We followed recommendations from others. Yet, I was rather disappointed as the harbor was noisy and not quaint. We have been spoiled over the past few weeks with generally very beautiful ports, little towns, lots of history. We stayed two nights nevertheless as we purchased a few little items as gifts. I also observed a theft by a young man on a bicycle who was just stuffing a shopping bag with clothes that had been displayed outside to lure buyers. As he bicycled off a winter jacket started showing under his T-shirt. I was appalled that this happened in broad daylight. We did not do anything about it as he was quickly out of sight and our Danish is non-existent. So, by the time we would have alerted the shop manager, the thief would have long been gone. Still, I felt bad about this incident, which made this town even less likable for me.

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Downtown Svendborg
Church in Svendborg
…after departing from Svendborg...
another one of my favorite Churches...

September 9, 2005 (Friday)

We departed gladly in light rain and wind and sailed very slowly (between 4.1 knots and 2.9 knots) for three hours or so in a very narrow fjord, under a highway bridge, enjoying the beautiful scenery, churches, homes, until we turned on the engine, passing two dredges that assured the proper channel depth for the ferries and other ships. We arrived in Aeroskobing, the most beautiful town in Denmark, at least by our measure, and went into the commercial harbor. The yacht harbor has no room for boats like ours. The guidebooks recommend for "larger yachts" to use this particular harbor. I thought we were exaggerating but when I later on saw the yacht harbor I agreed. We found a great spot for the boat with parallel docking. The "dock" was as wide as an attractive boardwalk, slightly higher was another path bordered by a natural stone seawall from where we could overlook parts of this island but also other smaller islands which we had passed as we made our way here.

We immediately took a walk through town and were enthralled. So much beauty. This town stems largely from the 18th century. Many of its houses show dates of 1721, 1749, etc. Most of them are extremely well maintained. Some still have the original "Butzenscheiben" (I don't know the English term if there is one. The windowpanes are not flat but concave, and the glass is not perfect, not surprisingly, given the time of manufacture). See for yourself...

We had dinner in one of the hotel restaurants, in "Det Lille Hotel", very cozy with decent food and a good bottle of Italian red, recommended by the maitre d'. We strolled through town, bought a couple of small gifts, lots of post cards some of you will receive over the next few days.

Yesterday September 10, 2005 (Saturday),

we investigated the town further, then played Backgammon sitting in the cockpit. The sun was shining warm enough to wear shorts. By about 1700 the wind started blowing and it got so cold that long pants and sweaters were not sufficient to remain outside. We enjoyed some wine, dinner on the boat, made a few phone calls. Juergen read. I updated my diary, which I had neglected for almost a week. So I had lots of catching up to do.

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See the crooked Construction
House with the famous "Butzenscheiben"
Old Building in Aeroskobing
The Danes must have been a lot shorter at time of construction than we are today…
House with a beautiful carved Door

September 11, 2005 (Sunday)

We had talked about moving on to the next harbor yesterday, but when we realized that the weather was grey and as cold as last night and the wind continued blowing as it had all night, we decided to do laundry on the boat, transfer photos onto the computer so I can insert them into my website text and catch up with reading and other things. Juergen topped off our water tank not only because the washing machine needs water but also because this will be the last time before the boat goes into winter storage. On this island which generates already around 80% of its energy needs from renewable sources (wind turbines, huge solar panel areas, other sources), they charge for water and electricity. Of course, we had to fill up here rather than in any of the harbors where water was free. Well, I guess, we are doing something good for the island and love doing so as we really enjoy this place. Our next destination, Marstal, will also be on this island but on its southern end. That will most likely be our last Danish port before reentering Germany. So far we have already visited 16 Danish ports and two German since we went through the Kiel Canal. If we include the island of Norderney and Cuxhaven, it is already 4 German ports and 16 Danish. Where we will go in Germany before going back to Kiel to visit - hopefully - with two of our friends (Carola and Albrecht in Heikendorf and Biene and Sigi in Strande) we have not decided. I guess a lot depends on the weather and our mood. Also, I would love to gain Internet access again - it was supposed to be possible in Svendborg. I never got in. There is no such possibility in this harbor.

September 12, 2005 (Monday)

It was time to leave Aeroskobing before we would never leave any more... It was a little grey but not too bad, and we would only have about 13 nm to go before we would tie up at yet another harbor written up as particularly beautiful, Marstal. This town is larger than Aeroskobing and has a long history of sailing and sea going. To get there, the actual distance as the birds fly is at most 6 nm but there are lots of shallows and cardinal and other markers to ensure that one stays in sufficient water depth. The dredges have continued working, not in these channels but in those leading from Svendborg to Aeroskobing. Every night, they came back into the harbor to dock. Now, on our way to Marstal, we saw them working a few miles further Northeast of us.

We arrived after a very slow downwind sail, but at least we could sail!!! and went to dock number 8, far into the harbor but thank God away from all the industrial docks including a dry dock. It was totally empty. We picked the pilings farthest apart and tied up like real pros, stern lines first, then the bowlines and then two springs from the pilings to midship. We walked around town and were actually a little disappointed after so much beauty in Aeroskobing.

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The Marstal Church is famous for its Age (1738)...
...and the many Sailboats hanging from the Ceiling
Convex Mirror in front of the Window Next to the Entrance Door Ensures early Warnung of Visitors
Fishing Nets drying
Docking European Style
Beach Houses for Vacationers
Impromptu almost alone at the Visitors' Dock

September 13, 2005 (Tuesday)

We decided to stay as we wanted to visit the shipping museum and get to know the town a little better. The museum was worth spending hours in. It consisted of four historic buildings with 36 rooms filled with models, photos, paintings, letters written by sailors in the 19th century and, of course, many relics. We spent about three hours walking around this extremely well arranged display. Happy hour was taken in the cockpit in the setting sun though the wind started blowing a little harder and colder. We watched five sailboats come onto our dock, all occupied by at least 4 men, in some cases 5 and 6. It keeps amazing us how few women are sailing, at least at this time of year. We amused ourselves watching how inefficiently people tie up their boats who obviously sail in these waters and should be used to the pilings. We were proud of ourselves, particularly since we are only two aboard. The night was noisy from the blowing wind and the waves splashing our stern. Our electric chord is too short for some of the docks to be laid out properly. Therefore, in the blowing wind, I decided to get up and bring it back onboard. It was 0215 and blowing 26 to 28 knots and it was very cold. I was glad to be back in bed after just a few minutes.September 14, 2005 (Wednesday) It is grey and foggy and the wind keeps howling. The weather forecast indicated storm gusts for today and tomorrow. As there is no need for us to move and the wind would have been straight on our nose, we decided to enjoy our spot in Marstal, playing Backgammon, eating pancakes with fresh strawberries, knitting and reading. My 690 page book will be finished today. Then Juergen can suffer through it. He keeps beating me in Backgammon. I am starting to lose my patience. It is time for the weather to improve so we can go sailing again...