Our Impromptu

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September 1 to September 4, 2005: Brief Interlude into Germany (Fehmarn)

September 1, 2005 (Thursday)

I cannot believe that it is September already. The sailing had started to be fun particularly since we actually could sail. We did sail the day before yesterday for quite a few hours and also did today as we sailed from Gedser to Lemkenhafen on the island of Fehmarn (remember, it is a German island....). For over 25 nm the wind was with us from about 120 degrees at a speed of around 18-24 knots, wonderful. Sailing to Lemkenhafen is not that easy. You pass under the Fehmarn Sound bridge and steer towards the number 1 buoy for "Orth", another small harbor on Fehmarn. From there, you steer towards another buoy and then follow a channel, well marked, to get into this rather tiny harbor itself. As per instructions in our guidebooks, we called the harbormaster to be allocated a spot for the next few nights. We first were allocated one that was beautiful but at the end of the harbor. From there, we could see the entire sound. It was gorgeous. The problem was that we needed to vacate this spot the next day. Once the harbormaster realized that she allocated the quay to us. Again, we could tie up alongside. We moved locations as soon as we could even though it was still blowing about 18 knots and I was a little nervous about this given that the harbor entrance walls were stone (not wood like in many other harbors). Of course, my worry was not justified as Juergen manoeuvred Impromptu perfectly out of its spot and docked equally perfectly along the quay.

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Lemkenhafen Harbor

The couple Axel and Renate who we had met in Gedser two nights before picked us up at 1900 to have dinner in Orth. We walked around for a while and then had dinner. We had a lively conversation about all sorts of things. Their boat was to be taken out of the water already (we found out the next day that a lot of people do so already as in Lemkenhafen a huge crane appeared and one sailboat after the other arrived in the harbor to be pulled out - an interesting manoeuvre compared to what we are used to in Milford and other harbors on the East Coast of the US).

September 2, 2005 (Friday)

We finally had our blackberry pancake breakfast but not in the cockpit. It was too cold. We then watched as people readied their boats for winter storage. Guenter and Waltraut arrived around the expected time (1230). We had a glass of champagne in their apartment, a two story affair with a very nice living area, a dining area, small kitchen, a bathroom and, upstairs, a sizable bedroom with a sunken sitting area, overlooking the harbor and thus our Impromptu.

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Guenter and Waltraut visiting us

I quickly ran over to get a bottle of champagne. We sat and talked for a while, then walked over to Impromptu to have lunch. Though the weather started being nice (it had been pouring since about 0600 until about 1000 or 1100), we decided to eat down below, took a walk through town, visited the windmill museum and walked back to the harbor. We met for dinner around 1900 and had terrific local fish in one of the local restaurants (Kaptain's Stube which mean's "Captain's living room"). We showed Guenter and Waltraut a slideshow of all the pictures of this trip. It was almost 2300 by the time we got back to Impromptu.

September 3, 2005 (Saturday)

What a glorious day! The wind was blowing but the sun was shining. We had breakfast in their hotel suite - I had purchased fresh rolls and some other goodies and prepared the bacon in our microwave oven before we walked over to Guenter and Waltraut. We decided to take a drive around the island and first went to Orth, the harbor village Juergen and I had been at with Renate and Axel just a few days ago. We felt it was so picturesque that they should see it as well. We then drove to Putgaden on the Northern end of the island to watch the ferries between Germany and Denmark come and go. We also checked for the train schedule to Luebeck, an old hanseatic town where "Marzipan" originates (remember the story of Tilly, the great field marshal who besieged the city of Luebeck for an extended period of time. The population, however, saved itself from starvation by responding to the resulting shortage of flour for bread by grinding almonds which were plentiful, very fine, mixed with rose water and other ingredients so that this bread - it happened to be March - "Marzipan" or bread of March - could be produced. I absolutely go crazy for the real Luebecker Marzipan, not the cheap imitations which one nowadays finds everywhere, and we had thought it a good idea to spend a few hours in that town. In the end, we decided against it.

We drove to Burg, a small but attractive 800 year-old town with lots of historic sites, a beautiful old town hall where a lot of people got married that day though it was a Saturday, lots of restaurants with outdoor dining, shops open to browse around in, a small but pretty produce market where people sat to listen to a concert while others strolled around and bought flowers and vegetables. The various types of squash were beautifully displayed - the atmosphere was just great. We bought some delicious chocolates (all kinds of truffles - with champagne, Riesling, cognac, liqueur, etc.), Juergen's favorite, English wine gum and some post cards. We also browsed in an antique shop but the word "antique" was an exaggeration of a compliment. We called it junk.

We drove around some other places, stopped so I could take some pictures (see the church whose steeple is next to the church? This is not uncommon here in Northern Germany. I have seen it other times but am still fascinated by it. Unfortunately, I do not know the reason for this).

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Burg and Surroundings (Fehmarn)

September 4, 2005 (Sunday)

Another glorious day - sunny, even relatively warm early in the morning (around 0800). I raised our flag, cleaned the deck of the morning dew, bought fresh rolls (yes, even on a Sunday) and went over to the hotel so we could have breakfast together. We decided to take the boat out for a sail (though there really was no wind, and while Guenter regretted it, we think that Waltraut was not unhappy about it). It was totally calm but very peaceful, and so we sat around, with sails up, motored a little and turned back after about two hours. They wanted to leave around 1400, and we wanted to have lunch before. We docked, this time on the "town dock" from which the various sailboats had been pulled out by a construction crane (odd site for us who are used to marine lifts) as our previous spot had been reserved by a huge motor boat which looked like a party fishing boat but seemed more like a huge house boat or so. We enjoyed sitting in the cockpit and topped our lunch with a nice portion of ice cream from the hotel - the best we have had on this trip so far and not our first portion. It might have been our last as we plan on leaving Lemkenhafen tomorrow morning after breakfast.

We said good-bye and played some Backgammon. When I came back from paying the harbormaster for this night's docking, the deck was wet and I wondered why aloud. One of the tourists sitting on one of the benches along the quay informed me "your husband did this. He fell into the water". I wondered why and how and whether he was hurt, particularly since he was not to be seen on deck. I was relieved to learn that he had tried to secure the stern line differently than it had been tied up when we docked. As he attempted to do so in my absence and had one foot on the quay and the other on the boat, you can imagine what happened - nothing dramatic as I then learned. He tried to hold on to the lifeline for a while but could not pull himself up from there. His feet had been dangling in the water anyway so he decided to let go and come back onto the boat via our swim ladder... o well. My reaction, I cannot even leave Juergen alone for five minutes.... The ladies had fun when I said that.

This situation convinced me to do laundry after all. Initially, I had wanted to postpone it to Wednesday when we are expecting rain. Instead, I ran back and forth between the boat and the laundry room (I am still not done but hope to get there very shortly). It is 2030 already.

Juergen had talked to some other person who sat on the same bench the four ladies had sat on before. While we were playing Backgammon quite some time later he realized that the gentleman had forgotten his camera. Juergen took it to the harbormaster in the anticipation that this resident of Fehmarn would think of going there. By the way, he claimed that his father who owned a construction business had started building this harbor because he was convinced that people would come to visit if there was a nice harbor. I guess, his father had foresight. He actually came back an hour or two after he had departed looking somewhat desperate. Juergen told him where to pick up his camera, which he did after thanking us. He came back again a short while later, with a package containing a smoked eel from the local Eel [Smoke] house as a thank you for having picked up his camera. We were embarrassed but at the same time grateful. We love smoked eel and actually had wanted to have dinner at the Eel Smokehouse, except we had eaten too much in the past few days that we just did not want any dinner at all. This way, we will have a delicious lunch or dinner tomorrow.

The sunset was gorgeous today - see for yourself. Juergen is reading about various harbors to determine our potential next destination and the route involved. A few friends had made some recommendations. He is checking out the height of bridges, the depth of the harbors, their attractiveness, the distance from here, etc. As you see, I am trying to keep the website updated though I have not had any luck with Internet access. Maybe, the harbormaster will let me use her Internet connection tomorrow morning before we will leave...

The Sunset I spoke about...................