15 to September 22, 2005: Return to Germany for Winter Camp
15, 2005 (Thursday)
was grey but a lot nicer than the day before. We had breakfast down
below (it was too cold for the cockpit) and left at 0900 sharp,
no problem with the various lines. Juergen had taken off the starboard
stern line and both spring lines. I took off the bowlines. He untied
the knot (bowline) on the port side as another boat's line was above
ours, and off we were. It was very difficult and tight to get out
of the dock given the size of our boat and the distance between
pilings from our and dock number 9 (behind us), but Juergen made
it perfectly. I was very proud of him.
motored out of the harbor and, as we had the wind right on our nose
for the 20.3 nm run, we decided not to bother taking the main out
either. It was a bumpy and uncomfortable ride, with strange waves
which, though not very high (around 4-5 ft) constantly pushed a
lot of water over our bow. Thank God we had closed all portholes
and hatches before our departure. We had to clean the dodger glass
once in a while if we wanted to be able to see anything even though
the Baltic Sea water was a lot less salty and, therefore, less difficult
to look through compared to Atlantic or North Sea water. We saw
very few boats and if so, they were sailing in better directions
than we were based on the wind. Some threatening clouds started
mounting, increasing the wind to around 26 knots true. We did not
care as we wanted to get to the mouth of the Schlei, not a river,
not a fjord, as we learned, but the remnant from the ice age and
molten "dead ice". The entrance to the Baltic was artificial
and needs to be kept open from time to time. It was a three-mile
drive through a narrow channel, well marked with lots of brightly
reflecting buoys. We passed two or three harbors / marinas until
we entered the town of Kappeln, a small Northern German town. The
town dock has lots of piling-spaces, all relatively narrow and barely
wide enough for us. Also the current, purely driven by wind, not
tide, not the stream of a river, was very strong. We barely made
it into the spot, lost a fender in the process which Juergen went
after by means of our dinghy - thank God we finally found a purpose
for the dinghy which, as you might remember, we had purchased in
Germany, had air freighted to New York, kept in our aft locker until
we got to Cuxhaven or even beyond (I already cannot remember) and
never used it. In the meantime, I got help from two young men tying
up our lines properly so that we were sufficiently far away from
both pilings, we tied a spring line to ensure staying far enough
away from the dock, and we were all set.
came back, fender in dinghy. We chatted with one of the two gentlemen
for a while and then had lunch in the cockpit, played some Backgammon,
before we walked into town. It has a nice pedestrian shopping area.
We investigated whatever was being offered, found a fishing and
weapons store where Juergen had the reel on our fishing rod repaired
overnight, etc. We found some books, maps, screws Juergen needed
and went back to the boat. It was getting rather cold, and I was
glad when we got dressed to go to dinner. The restaurant we had
in mind was full and could not accommodate us. We made reservation
for the next night and went to a place right near the boardwalk,
i.e., just a stone throw away from Impromptu. The food was typically
Northern German, delicious, and the portions way too huge. We returned
more than half of what was on our plates and felt bad about it,
but there was no way we could eat the entire portion.
had noticed that there was Internet access - wireless!!! We were
in seventh heaven and checked e-mails and at least updated our website
as far as we had prepared it.
16, 2005 (Friday)
was cold in the boat but the sun was shining. We had breakfast in
the cockpit and decided to walk around town after we took care of
some things on the boat and tried to call Claudia to wish her a
happy birthday. Unfortunately, we missed her. We walked around,
bought some cake and decided to have coffee and cake rather than
went to the restaurant just in time for our 1900 reservation and
were served an excellent Northern German shrimp soup (you would
never know how this tastes as it is so different from any shrimp
you have had before, if you have not had those special ones. We
both love them, but they demand an acquired taste, which not everybody
shares with us). The rest of the meal was ok, still way too much.
We went home around 2100, more than full and ready to read, make
some phone calls, etc.
17, 2005 (Saturday)
night was horrible because another boat arrived around midnight,
with very noisy people onboard who had no concern for others. They
talked loudly and did not stop. An hour or so later, they must have
returned from wherever, because the chatting started again. By that
time, it was past 0200 and I was hopping mad. If it had not been
so cold, I would have gone out to complain. But this way, I would
have had to get fully dressed, something I was not looking forward
to and, therefore, I did not. In the morning, I had no desire to
get up but then, I had to as we needed to pick up Juergen's dry
cleaning, and I wanted to take a couple of pictures from the bridge
onto town and the town docks.
had lunch on the boat, played Backgammon, enjoyed watching other
boats come by as the bridge opens every hour at a quarter to. It
is amazing to watch the types and number of boats all wanting to
get through. There are not a lot of international boats, but we
saw two Danish, a bunch of large and old Dutch ships and, today,
we even saw a boat from New Zealand. I was very impressed.
packed up the dinghy again as we will be leaving for Kiel tomorrow.
One more evening with Sigi and Biene, and then we will go through
the Kiel Canal towards Glueckstadt. This means, that our sailing
trip for this year will be over soon, and there will be a bunch
of things that will need taking care of. It all depends on when
the boat will be taken out of the water. If it happens promptly
upon our arrival, we will try to prepare it as best we can for next
year's season. If not, we will have to do the work (or most of it)
in the spring next year.
are some of the pictures I took in Kappeln:
on foto to expand!
Downtown Kappeln Pedestrian Walkway
Nets in the Middle of Kappeln Harbor
Harbor at Sunset
18, 2005 (Sunday)
left Kappeln after breakfast and barely made it out of the "box"
as the pilings were a little narrower than Impromptu. Thank God
for our rub rail!!! We raised the main in the channel as the wind
was blowing quite nicely. The genoa followed shortly thereafter.
A police boat followed us in the channel for a while. I waived.
One of the men on board waived back - they never spoke to us but
we are sure they checked us out as one of them was on the cell phone
for quite some time. We shortened both sails after a while as the
wind piped up to around 30 knots (apparent) - and got faster as
we heeled less. We made it into Schilksee harbor around 1430 or
so - with a little incident which upset us because of the attitude
of the two young women on their small sailboat (I don't know what
type it was): "sailboats always have right of way". Well,
not exactly, if one looks at all the rules. We were motoring inside
the marina along a very narrow channel and were almost ready to
tie up to the dock to our starboard side. The wind was still blowing
and pushed us towards the dock. They were going along this narrow
channel on the wrong side (namely the port side) and had departed
well seeing that we were entering. In the end, the space between
our stern and the dock was too narrow for their boat (thank God
there was room under the dock so, nothing happened to the women
nor their boat and, in the end also not to ours though initially
it seemed like we had a deep scratch. Juergen realized that it was
only some of the fiberglass of the other boat... and wiped it off.
The sailing instructor had motored on the other side of the channel
(the correct side) but had not left us any room to move out of the
way. There was some discussion about the attitude... they were glad
we did not file a claim (because of the assumed deep scratch).
came by briefly to ask us to come by their house around 1600 for
coffee and cake. We did. The walk took about 10-15 minutes. It was
quite cold... The afternoon and evening were very nice. Antonia
joined us for dinner in a small Italian restaurant, together with
her parents. Hannah spent the night at her boyfriend's house...
19, 2005 (Monday)
we had agreed to have dinner with Sigi and family tonight again,
this time in a fancier restaurant in Kiel, we spent the day laying
around, playing Backgammon, reading, writing the last few postcards,
etc. Sigi picked us up at 1830. The drive was brief. We went to
the restaurant where he will celebrate his 50th birthday on October
26 with about 60 guests. It was very pretty, and the food was excellent.
The mood and conversation were great as well. Hannah was to depart
for Poland on a student exchange the next morning. Antonia was to
take a train to Kopenhagen to visit with some friends, and we were
leaving the next day. So, Biene called it a good-bye dinner.
20, 2005 (Tuesday)
went to the eastern lock of the Kiel Canal (Holtenau) early as we
wanted to go all the way to the other end, to Brunsbuettelkoog and
shared one of the old locks which are nowadays used for pleasure
craft ("Sportboote" in German) with just one other sailboat.
This boat was on its way to Rendsburg, remember this town from our
description on our way through the Canal from west to east? We saw
lots of container ships and tankers and also a few sailboats. Shortly
before Brunsbuettelkoog, we noticed an old sailboat, Anita, being
towed through the Canal by a small but powerful workboat from the
yard which will be home for Impromptu for this winter. They tied
up at a parallel dock. We followed and then spoke with them to arrange
for us to follow them the next day all the way to Glueckstadt.
on foto to expand!
Canal at Brunsbuttel - in Fog No commercial Traffic that Night
21, 2005 (Wednesday)
was so foggy that we could not see the other side of the harbor.
It was eerie. Since the lock in Glueckstadt only opens around 2
hours before high tide (we are back to tidal waters), we agreed
to leave around 1300 plus and had to wait for the lock to open around
1500. By 1510 we were through and began the 10+ nm up the river
Elbe. With the current, it took just about one hour. Getting into
the outer harbor of Glueckstadt was a little tricky because of the
3+-knot current, but of course, we made it. Then we went through
the very narrow lock, which was still open. After "Anita",
the other sailboat, was secured, we tied up parallel to her - perfect.
Getting into this harbor was amazing. It is a long narrow stretch
of water (about a quarter mile) flanked by most gorgeous old houses,
some of them former salt silos, which have meanwhile been converted
into apartments - beautiful. We took the mainsail off already and
met with our friends Maren and Hannes for dinner. They live in one
of those salt silos and overlook the boats...
on foto to expand!
Glueckstadt where our Impromptu is stored for the Winter
22, 2005 (Thursday)
a morning! The sun is shining, it is warm and beautiful. We drank
too much as Hannes served champagne, wine (red and white), Aquavit,
and more wine... We both were suffering. Juergen recovered faster
than I but after a few aspirins and a long shower (if trickle because
our water pressure works in strange ways) I felt well enough to
clean up, prepare lunch, etc. We had taken the genoa down in the
morning before I decided to lie down for another half hour...
are sitting with the boat yard manager to discuss the work that
will need to be done on Impromptu over the winter. Later, we will
meet with Hannes and Maren for dinner again. It is Hannes' birthday
today which we drank into until 0130 this morning.... No more wine
for me for tonight!