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July 12 - August 3, 2006: Goetakanal to Burgtiefe

July 12, 2006, Monday

We are back on the boat in Motala! The day after the wedding was mostly spent with Claudia and family. In the evening, we had dinner with Christa. Monday was a hectic day. We still needed to straighten out a few things, and I began working on the wedding pictures. There was a professional photographer - thank God because it got quite busy. There were also two other friends who are professional photographers and were also shooting like mad. The young couple has its work cut out for itself, just reviewing all of the pictures and then selecting the best of them for the album. I really don't envy them.

We had another few enjoyable hours at Luise's visiting with Omi, Doug (Auer, a friend of the family), Silvi and Brad, of course, Sid, Luise, Peter and Laura and, not to forget, Claudia. Luise and Silvi made lobster rolls for dinner - what a treat, and the lobster was so beautiful - see picture below

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Luise with Lobsters

July 13, 2006, Tuesday

On Tuesday, it was more of the same, the laundry had been done the night before, at least in terms of washing, now came the drying and the ironing. Everything needed to be ready for our departure. Juergen wanted to purchase a chart plotter for the boat, I wanted to look for certain Jeans for my brother, Ulli. We decided that Juergen should get his chart plotter while I was finishing up with the chores and trying to print just a few more of the wedding pictures so I could send some to Guenter and Waltraut and a few other family and friends, just so they would have an idea how beautiful the couple looked. It all went smoothly, except, we needed to go back to West Marine as Juergen was missing an additional device for his chart plotter. I was unlucky in terms of the jeans for my brother, the company "discontued" his favorite style (sorry Ulli, I will have to look elsewhere in August, when I am back in New York). We returned our rental car and got comfortable at the airport, reading. I even managed to get some of the pictures mailed thanks to Continental Airlines' President's Club, and I found an international charger for Juergen's Palm Pilot. Hopefully, he will soon be in perfect shape again and able to access all his contact info.

The flight was uneventful, well, actually, it was not. Laura, Peter's partner, flight attendant with Continental Airlines, decided to pick our flight so we could see her from time to time - initially, she was to work "up front", but she switched with someone and, as a result, was "our" flight attendant. Of course, we got perfect treatment, and in the end, she had one of her colleagues take pictures of her and each of us with her phone camera. She will e-mail the pictures, so I will upload once I received them. We said our good-byes this morning, rented our car, had breakfast nearby and decided to drive to Uppsala, an old Viking town with the largest and oldest university of Sweden, a castle (of course) and a beautiful dome (of course). The latter was more ornate than we have seen in most of the other churches, still it had the distinct architecture, size, and internal set up (various smaller chapels for special services like weddings, baptisms, etc.). We decided to drive back to Motala on a more northerly route so we would see more of the country - more forests, more meadows, lakes, sounds, fields of different types of grain, all standing high. The sun was shining though the wind was strong and cool. It was a perfect travel day. We took a one hour break and slept as we noticed that my driving was not very concentrated. We both felt a lot better thereafter, and we enjoyed the drive more as well.

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Uppsala Cathedral

Hannes called to confirm our "car service arrangement" (we will pick them up from Nykoeping tomorrow).

July 13, 2006, Wednesday

We had a good night's sleep until 11 a.m., had breakfast - we had not purchased any food so I quickly went to the Motor Museum Cafe and got some bread and butter, gave them a compliment about the museum which, as I had mentioned previously, is well worth seeing, went food shopping (of course, I forgot a lot of things), went to the System bolaget (the government owned liquor store and refilled our supply of wine) - I meanwhile did laundry and tried to get onto the internet. By about 1500, we left for Nykoeping to pick up Hannes and Maren. Juergen had meanwhile noticed that he forgot his battery charger for his computer. So, on the way and after stopping at the manual lock at Borensberg, we stopped in Norrkoeping to buy a replacement charger, were sent from one place to the next. We ran out of time an drove up to Nykoeping, checked in yet another store - of course without any luck and got to the airport in time for the flight arrival from Luebeck. Hannes and Maren came with their luggage (and our "transport bags for our bicycles") shortly after 1800, and off we were back to Norrkoeping for our battery charger. We barely made it before 1900 when the shopping mall was scheduled to close, but Juergen actually found something that seems to be working... it only needs to work until we get back home in August... We had dinner on the boat and chatted until almost midnight...

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Manual lock operation in Borensberg
Another boat passing the aqueduct built in 1993, the newest in all of Sweden

Both photos taken from the road as we drove to pick up Hannes and Maren.

July 14, 2006, Thursday

Hannes and Maren got up early to go food shopping. We tried to get internet access so I could finally upload the latest news, including the pictures of Claudia's wedding and Luise with the humongous (spelling???) lobsters. Around 1000 Hannes and Maren refilled their fuel tank while we got ready to cast off our lines, saying good-bye to Motala, to Carl, the gorgeous Swedish young man "harbor master" for the canal here in Motala. He is a student of design and is planning to spend a year in the US. Juergen gave him our names and phone number and encouraged him to call us. We hope he will. He was very helpful and very well-mannered. After crossing Lake Vaettern we got into Karlsborg, took the last lock "up", went through Lake Botten into Lake Viken and some incredibly tight canal passages - see photos. Lake Viken is the highest lake in the Goeta kanal. We stopped overnight in Taetorp, nothing but a Cafe, a toilet, a garbage container and, of course, a bridge and another lock to be tackled the net morning. It was rather idyllic, the weather was perfect. We had supper on the boat - Maren had made her incredibly delicious shrimp cocktail (almost a salad, with mushrooms and a delicious 1000 island dressing type, served with nice bread and, of course, plenty of wine). The next morning, we arranged with two other boats the sequence of entering the lock and off we were around 0900.

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A very narrow passage in Lake Viken, taken backwards and forward
The highest point in the Goeta Kanal at Forsvik at 92m

July 15, 2006, Friday

Today we took 11 bridges and 12 locks, some were doubles, two were triples, making a total of 12. We had "lost" Hannes and Maren because of the way people entered the locks, and so we were behind them for more than one hour. We both had hoped that they would not continue beyond Lyrestad and as we got closer, I saw a mast that looked very much like that of Hannes and Maren's boat - and then I saw Maren waving... we were very happy to see them. There was sufficient room behind their boat by the pier wall. We tied up with their help, got electricity (our phone was dead by now, and we wanted to recharge our toothbrush - unfortunately, we could not recharge our 12 V battery which no longer gets charged by our engine - we don't know why and hope that when our generator is being fixed, this problem will be dealt with as well). Maren made an incredibly delicious salad with nice bread, some cheese afterwards, lots of wine. I think by the end of the (early) evening, I was quite drunk and went to bed.

July 16, 2006, Saturday

Some of you know that it is my birthday today. I had been awake a few times during the night - with a headache. I thought I was dehydrated and went to drink some water and fell asleep quite quickly. By 0700, I was so awake that I began to read one of my photo magazines. By 0815 I was so tired again that I fell asleep and did not wake up until about 1030 - terrible to waste the day like this. The sun was shining, it was warm. We had breakfast in the cockpit, Hannes and Maren came to say happy birthday, brought me a very nice gift, something from Hannes grandmother's estate, remember, she had passed away and they had her funeral while we were celebrating Claudia's wedding. We then debated whether we should continue or stay in Lyrestad. In the end, it was a very quick decision to move on. We cast off our lines and went through the first bridge without a hitch. Then we already encountered a lot of backed up traffic. A Norwegian boat was trying to cut the line - a big no no in canal etiquette. Juergen tried to tackle the situation by talking to the captain, telling him that we already had arranged the sequence of entry into the next locks and for the Norwegian boat to come in after us. We already knew then that they would never fit but it sure was not their turn yet anyway. In the end, he stayed behind, and the others went in as discussed. We ended up in Sjoetorp, at the end of the Goeta kanal before it enters Lake Vaenern. We made 4 bridges and 8 locks today. It was a little stressful, and our toe rail got damaged a little, not much. We will be able to sand it smooth again. Hannes and Maren had some issue with a line that had gotten caught. Also that got fixed in the end without any real damage. We tried to continue towards Mariestad on Lake Vaenern. When I realized that Hannes was taking the Easterly route, we quickly let them know that the bridge about 7 nm away would be 18 m only, too low for us. The way around the islands was a lot farther, and we decided to return to Sjoetorp so that we can go to Mariestad in the morning tomorrow.

We enjoyed the rest of the day with a casual dinner - my birthday dinner will be had tomorrow with more choices of fancier places - walking around, looking at other boats, antique cars, buying post cards which I had not purchased in quite some time. Then we had a little bit of wine on our boat, sitting in the cockpit until around 2200. It got chilly while the day had been very hot. The wind piped up. Now, at around 2300, it is calmer again. We plan on leaving around 0900 tomorrow.

Juergen is doing the navigation as Hannes and Maren will take the way they had started out taking this afternoon. We will have to go around the islands before we can actually take a well-marked channel in between lots of rocky islands until we will meet them again in Mariestad. Juergen will also call Fischer-Panda tomorrow to arrange for the repair on Friday when we expect to be in Vaenersborg (at the other side of Lake Vaenern).

July 17, 2006, Sunday

We left Sjoetorp in the morning, with a bunch of problems. Hannes was docked in such a tight spot that he could not leave without a motorboat moving. So Juergen and I went to knock on the boat. The owner was very friendly and helpful. He permitted us to move his boat one spot over (thank God that had been vacated earlier that morning), and with the help of boat neighbors, Hannes and Maren were on their way. We then tried to cast off our lines and to unhook our aft mooring ball. With all the wind pressure on the boat and the fact that another boat was also hooked into that same mooring ball, there was no way for me to do so. I even had to let go the line with the hook as we otherwise would have drifted into some of the boats still at their docks. I wanted to let go and just leave, but Juergen did not. We - with a lot of trouble and finally the help of three other boaters - we tied up parallel to a dock, Juergen donned his bathing trunks and went off to retrieve our mooring ball hook and line. That accomplished and again with the help of the three boaters who had just picked up their brand new Comfortina 42 or so (built on Lake Vaenern and on its maiden voyage back to Germany), we were finally on our way.

As I said, it was rather breezy - we saw lots of gusts up to 37-38 knots - we motored (the wind was on our noise) through some tricky terrain, into channels with buoys virtually impossible to make out before we already got there, very winding... in short, beautiful but hard to enjoy as we concentrated so much on finding our way - we finally made it into Mariestad.

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Mariestad from afar

Hannes and Maren were nicely docked parallel at the town pier, and we tied up to them. We were glad it was over as it sure was stressful - can you see the rocks in front of Mariestad? This is what we saw, often much smaller and barely visible, right next to the channels we were navigating. We had a small dinner on the boat as we were all exhausted and decided to have my more "formal" birthday dinner the next day. We had gone food shopping before and, thus were able to have a decent meal onboard that night.

July 18, 2006, Monday

The dinner was quite nice though the restaurant was virtually empty except for a few tables outside - not very attractive, therefore we sat inside. We had a good time and shared another bottle of wine sitting in the cockpit afterwards. During the day, we had visited the cathedral you can see on the picture above and below:

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Inside the Cathedral

Hannes and Juergen had also installed our new acquisition, a Garmin chart plotter that has a terrific screen, easily legible even in bright sunlight. Unfortunately, we needed internet access to access charts. We will have to wait until we have that, and so, the next day, we again followed Hannes through the very tight and winding channels, surrounded by rocks, visible and, worse, not...

July 19, 2006, Tuesday

We left Mariestadt at around 0745 as we had planned to go to Hoerviken, a very small harbor near Laeckoe Castle. The harbor master had confirmed to us that the water was 2.50 deep and that, if we got there early in the day, there was a good chance that she would have room for our boat (and that of Hannes and Maren). We followed Hannes again though the buoys were better visible today... We saw Laeckoe castle from afar (see picture) and were amazed at the passage through all these rocky islands... the way some motor boats were anchored inmidst grassy patches. We entered Hoerviken harbor, very slowly as the depth dropped further and further, and all four of us agreed that this was not a place where we would like to run the risk of hitting rock. So we turned around out of this harbor bay and continued further West out of the rocky area into more open waters of Lake Vaenern. We then speeded up ahead of Hannes and Maren to ensure a docking spot for the night and, hopefully, even for all three nights as we expected the repairman for our Fischer Panda generator on Friday morning.

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Laeckoe Castle
Anchoring Swedish Style
Transport of Construction Equipment
Swedish Lighthouse

Navigation was easy, we phoned the bridge operator (the bridge is 17.5 m high and only is opened upon request). The operator was very friendly, confirmed that he saw us on his camera already and promised to open the bridge as soon as we got there. It was amazing how promptly this all happened. Cars were still passing, then the barriers came down, traffic stopped, and the bridge opened immediately. We watched for our signal to pass which followed suit, and through we were, with the bridge closing right behind us - see pictures. The railroad bridge was still open and to remain open for another 10 minutes or so. Thus, we made it in one swoop without any wait.

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Here, the bridge opened for us.....
And here, it was closing right after we passed through...

Docking was interesting as there was really no "permitted" spot for us. In the end, we decided to tie up and for me to walk over to the harbor master's office to ask where we could go. We were allocated a spot that said "reserved" and confirmed that we could stay there for all three nights. Thus, when Hannes and Maren arrived a while later, they could tie up to us, and we sat down for a welcome drink and then supper on our boat, in the cockpit in beautiful sunshine.

July 20, 2006, Wednesday

We slept late. My arm and my leg were torturing me all night (I had missed a step going down below while holding my backpack with my camera equipment. Of course, I did not want it to fall, and so I was holding on for dear life while really falling down. In the end, I softened the blow at the expense of my arm). My leg has been hurting for weeks, even at night when resting. Whether it also is a hip problem or something else, I don't know, and I really don't want to know. I just wished it would get better. I am using ointments and other remedies without much of a result...

Around noon, Hannes, Maren and Juergen took their bikes. I did not want to because of my ailments. We agreed to meet in Trollhaettan, a town about 10 miles away, both for lunch and then to check out the next lock or two as these are larger than what we have been used to from the Goeta Kanal, and as I said earlier, the water is running out from beneath, thus there is a lot less pressure on the boats. While this particular lock was about 10 or 12 m in vertical drop, people were holding their boats quite relaxed. I am confident, we can handle these without any problems, particularly if the locks are not full. If they are full, it might be yet another story... We also had lunch and had walked about 1.8 miles to the locks in pretty high heat and humidity. Of course, we stopped later on for some beverages and rest in the shade, after having watched one set of boaters be "dropped" to the next lower level. Then we walked back to town. Hannes and Juergen took their bikes to get back to our boats. Maren and I took a taxi, went food shopping and came back to our boats when Juergen arrived, totally exhausted. It sure was too much for him even though he hates to admit it. He rested a little, replenished fluids, took a shower, then sat in the cockpit and watched whatever was going on in this harbor.

Maren made a very nice salad, followed by wonderful cheeses and bread. It is 2230 right now, and we are ready to go to bed. Tomorrow, the repair man from Fischer Panda is scheduled to arrive in the morning. And I am scheduled to catch up with my laundry....

July 21, 2006, Thursday

Maren and I did laundry pretty much for 5 hours - waiting for the endlessly running washing machines - we each did three - and then for the again endlessly running dryers... real fun. The Fischer Panda mechanic came shortly past noontime and worked on our generator for about three hours. He replaced the panel and a few fuses which also "fixed" that our engine charged our 12 V battery again. We were elated. We went to the cash machine with Arne to pay him and said good-bye. We had dinner on the boat later that evening. Before we took a little walk with Hannes and Maren. Vaenersborg is a quaint little town. Little is the operative term, at least in terms of city center. Still, it was nice enough for us to sit down for capuccino, espresso, etc., our usual. Unfortunately, it began to rain. We stopped at the Swedish government owned liquor store, the System Bolaget, bought a few bottles of white wine and returned to our boats.

When we returned, we wanted to turn on our generator, the lights went on but nothing happened. We tried again and again, without any change. Thank God, Arne had given us his business card before departing. We immediately called him. He suggested this and that and the next thing. Nothing. In the end, he said he would call us on Saturday morning around 1000 to 1030 as he might then come with his children to check out the problem.

July 22, 2006, Friday

Arne did not call until 1045 when I called him. He seemed to have been awakened by the call and told me that he would be there in about two hours. We were so relieved. He did show up with his kids-took them to the pool and then worked on the generator again for another two hours. He thinks that our generator's heat exchanger is on the Fritz and that we should order a new one. He thinks that it was just too hot to turn on the day before because when he arrived, it immediately turned on. He checked all sorts of things that he had suggested the night before but could not find any other reason. O well...

We had initially wanted to take the bus to Trollhaettan, but Hannes and Maren did not feel like it. Maren's mother is very sick and in the hospital. In addition, it was already around 1600. Instead, I made a huge salad, Hannes and Maren brought some cheese and wine along, and we sat together for a while. Maren and Juergen played Backgammon, something they had not done in a while. Supper was on their boat. We turned in early as we wanted to depart between 0800 and 0830.

July 23, 2006, Saturday

Hannes, Maren and we were up early and departed at 0800 sharp. We wanted to make it to Lilla Edet, a small town below five of the six "down locks". It was amazing, the bridges opened quite promptly for us and we were the only two boats in the first lock. Of course, we considered ourselves lucky and hoped that it would remain this easy. Well, not quite. We "picked up" a few more boats as we moved through Trollhaettan but we made it in unbelievable time to Lilla Edet. We made a few observations on the way, unfortunately some that we had made on previous days. It seems that Norwegian boatsmen whether sailors or motor boaters are incredibly pushy and in a great rush, not sticking to the etiquette of not passing boats in the canal, not passing them in locks, etc. It was amazing, we time and again were overtaken by Norwegian boats, nobody else... o well...

The locks were much larger than the ones on the Goeta kanal and we were in them with nine boats - more would have fitted if there had been more. Instead of the special lines rigged like in the "up locks" in the Goeta kanal, the "down locks" in the Trollhaettan kanal are easier to handle as the water rushes out from underneath, i.e., there is very little if any pressure on the boats to move, still, our boat is heavy, and we had our share of work to hold the boat steady, Juergen with the boat hook (unfortunately, there often was nothing to hold on to), I with a line which I had to "lasso" over some sort of steel "knob" which was screwed into a cutout in the rocks. This "knob" only showed up every two and a half or three meters. This meant, I had to hold the line until the knob with the line was pretty high up before the next "knob" appeared out of the water, then I had to take the line off the top knob and lasso it onto the lower knob, for sure not an easy manoeuvre, but I got the hang of it after a while.

Lilla Edet was a tiny place with virtually no space for our boat. The lock opened as Hannes arrived - we had rushed ahead to give our engine a little workout and to secure a docking space for the two of us at the extension of the "dock for boats waiting for the lock to open", i.e., not exactly attractive or practical, and there were no bathrooms, electricity or other services available. Hannes must have seen that and motioned for us to continue into the sixth lock which had opened for a few boats that had meanwhile caught up with us while we were docking. We did make it and were back out before we knew it.

The remaining approx. 26 nm to Gothenberg were uneventful, mostly we were surrounded with beautiful scenery until we approached Gothenberg. We passed lots of rocky areas, lots of forests and meadows with sheep and cattle, a few houses here and there and some industrial parks, nothing special to mention. We also passed a huge castle which was never defeated. Unfortunately, there was no space for our boats to stay overnight for us to visit the castle so we continued on our way. In Gothenberg harbor, a huge area, it got very industrial and very ugly and we all wished that the trip was finally over. We had already been on our way for almost 10 hours.

One railroad bridge was closed as we got there, and here we found the same Norwegian that had "bothered" us around 0930 this same morning because of his trying - and in the end succeeding - to pass us. While he must have waited for more than 30 minutes if not longer, we were very happy to realize that we only had to wait for 5 minutes before the bridge opened. Is there justice in the world after all???

There was another road bridge too low for us but not for the Norwegian, nor for Hannes. The bridge operator was very kind and opened it for us immediately, just like the one in Vaenersborg a few days ago.

We followed suit, recognized that there was no way for us to enter the harbor we had hoped for, Lille Bommen, (totally overcrowded), and continued on our way to find a totally empty harbor, a marina for permanent "residents" only, with no services but lots of dock space. We decided to stay there for the night. We talked to a Swedish boater who kept his catamaran there. He agreed that, though there was no "
service", we could easily stay there. Other boats followed, including a Danish boat and, over night, a Polish boat which left after us and which we saw later the next day in Lille Bommen.

July 24, 2006, Sunday

We played Backgammon as Hannes asked whether we were ready to depart. We had discussed the night before that we would try to find a spot in the other harbor the next morning around 1100. Well, it was different again. But Juergen and I had discussed over breakfast that it would be best to go to right away to where we would want to stay, should Maren need to go back to Germany because of her mom. We really did not feel like switching harbors again in a day or two. Hannes agreed and so we went further South through Gothenberg, past the ferry dock we had been arrived at (and departed from on another occasion, i.e., when we visited Hallberg-Rassy in Elloes), the birthplace of our Impromptu. We passed the hotel we had stayed at while in Gothenberg about 8 years ago, went underneath the bridge we had crossed to go to Elloes and finally turned to port into "our intended harbor", just about 4 nm South of Gothenberg. We immediately found boxes we both fit into (we got some help from the crew of an 80 ft sailboat which is for sale now) and were happily "docked" very quickly. We paid the harbor master for two nights, ensuring that it would be ok to stay for the third night, if we ever decided to do so, and met up with Hannes and Maren to take the tram into town.

We went through Lille Bommen harbor, well recognizing that there would not have been any possibility at all for us to make it into. Instead, we enjoyed lunch in some tiny cafe outdoors (not good but ok for the occasion) and continued walking around the opera house, the pier (where we would have been tied up as there was no room at all inside the harbor), kept on walking and, in the end, decided to take the tram back to our harbor around 1530. The tram arrived within just a few minutes and we were back in the harbor by 1605. Maren and I went to check on ear doctors as Juergen kept on suffering from a hearing loss which seemed related to some oil he put into his ear for cleaning. We got some information, an address and a phone number, and we will go early tomorrow morning to meet up with Hannes and Maren once we are done.

We loved Gothenberg in the sunlight (the last time we were there it was dark, gray and cold and rainy, so we really did not enjoy being there and saw little if any positive features). This time, it was different, we enjoyed the atmosphere, the scenery, the architecture and the overall impression. What a difference weather and light can make. We were disappointed at the dirt in this particular city, which only confirms what we have seen in a few other places: lots of graffiti, lots of garbage lying around, very little pride in ownership - I will spare you the picture I took today, but it is very upsetting to see so much filth in the streets, on the sidewalks, in the water, particularly when considering that the Swedes are generally very environment conscious. I can't figure this

Here are some examples of what we saw:

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Gothenberg Opera House
Propeller of a submarine - and a beautiful building in the background

Hannes and Juergen helped another boat to dock in this incredibly tight harbor as we wandered around and marveled at the craziness of such a setup without any controls - and now, we are wondering how these people will ever get out of their tight spot again...

Some statistics of our Canal Trip:

  • Work on the Goeta Kanal and the Trollhaettan Kanal began some time in 1810 and 1608, respectively, and was completed in 1832.
  • Total length of both canals: 215 nm, including 38 locks up and 26 locks down for a total height difference of 92 m. We encountered a total of 56 road and 6 railroad bridges of which 59 needed opening for us to pass, some of them roll, others swing or lift bridges, most of them automatic, some manual/upon request only.
  • We started in Mem on June 21st and arrived in Gothenberg on July 23rd. Excluding the 10 days we needed for our flight to NY for Claudia's wedding (including staying Stockhom), we had 22 travel days. Total canal costs for both canals including docking, laundry and shower facilities amounted to SKR 6,330, i.e., approximately US $ 700.

We saw lots of interesting places, sites, art (mostly in the form of sculptures or fountains) and wonderful architecture, mostly in the many churches we visited. We had great and not so great meals, had a wonderful time with Hannes and Maren, enjoyed the local scene in many of the places, took lots of photos and video, suffered but also had fun going through all the locks, the very tight places in Lake Viken, encountered lots of very friendly people, encountered no animosity towards us due to our nationality, though a lot of people still oppose the war in Iraq, observed some positive and some negative traits in certain nationalities, all generalities but facts observed on our trip and generally had a blast. In addition, we were blessed with incredibly great weather (at least in this latter part of the trip) and are so happy to be in Sweden that we already are talking about a car trip through this incredibly beautiful country some day in a few years from now...

We will be going to an ear doctor for Juergen's ear tomorrow, will do a little more siteseeing with Hannes and Maren and will continue, most likely, the next day to go South towards Copenhagen and possibly further, all weather depending.

July 25, 2006, Monday

We got up early as we wanted to get to the clinic early in order to continue our sightseeing adventure. As we got ready, our generator did not start despite a number of attempts. I turned on our engine to charge our batteries for a while, when I tried to turn on the generator again. This time it worked. We concluded that its problem right now is mostly that our 12 V battery is shot from the time when it could not be charged by the engine due to a broken fuse.

Our very nice boat neighbor in this harbor (captain on this 80 footer) offered to check out the generator. Thank God we did not have to accept his generosity as the generator had started as mentioned. But we are now on the hunt not for Red October but a new 210 Amp 12 V battery...

We finally made it to the clinic, all by tram and a rather short walk, were sent from one reception area to another, told that there was no appointment possible today. When we pushed for one, they gave us 1445. We called Hannes and Maren and met up with them for lunch and a visit to the Gothenberg museum - a very nice place that mostly spoke of the Vikings and, of course, more modern history. We then took off to the clinic while Hannes and Maren remained in the museum. Juergen was treated by a nurse and doctor and given a prescription to ensure that no infection will develop. He thinks that he hears better since the treatment and the bothersome "sticky feeling" in his ear has disappeared. Now I am hoping that he is finally getting to being his old self again.

Back on the boat, we turned on the generator - it even started right away, albeit slowly - Juergen has been doing the navigation for tomorrow. We are planning on sailing to Varberg, approximately 40 nm South of here. I have been updating the web text and pictures and now we will be going to the harbor master's building so we can get internet access to upload the website and for Juergen to finally register his charts for the Garmin chart plotter.

July 26, 2006, Tuesday

It is Luise's birthday today. We had left Gothenberg early in the morning, followed Hannes and Maren for a while until we were out of the rocky area - though navigation in these waters was a lot less tricky than it had been in Lake Viken and other places. We then speeded up a little, first to give our engine a little workout - at 1200 RPMs, Hannes' speed, that was not exactly the case - and, secondly, because we had been told that Varberg was difficult to find a spot in for our size boat. Well, we made it around 1415 and were assigned a spot along the pier, nicely protected by car tires, painted white. We found a great spot, except it was right next to the garbage container, and as the day progressed and more and more people took their garbage there, the odor became less than acceptable. So we closed all our portholes and hatches for the night.

Hannes and Maren had arrived about an hour after us. We got ready for town, walked around, had our usual "coffee break", did some food shopping and went back to our boats. The town of Varberg is amazingly beautiful. I am saying amazingly because you would never expect that as you enter the harbor. It looks very industrial though it has a huge fortress right near downtown. The town itself is filled with nice pedestrian shopping areas, lots of sculptures, parks, a nice church, lots of great boutique type shopping. I really would have loved to stay for another day to get to see all these places and to photograph them. Instead, Hannes and Maren felt that we should continue the next morning for Halmstad as that harbor also has very limited space for boats of our size. In addition, we were approaching the weekend.... the usual story.

Here just a few photos that I shot while walking around that afternoon...

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Sunset near Gothenberg (taken from Impromptu)
Rocky island on way to Varberg
Sculpture at Varberg harbor
Stone Sculptures in Varberg
Early morning view of Varberg Harbor with fortress in background

July 27, 2006, Wednesday

Today, it is Torsten's birthday (Torsten is Hannes' and Maren's son who had spent a couple of weeks with us as a teenager, and loved the US so much that he is now living in the US in an executive function at Dow Chemical). Our friends left even earlier than we did, mostly because we are so much faster than they, motoring - so far, there has been virtually no wind or if so, right on the none. The sun has been shining every day, and it was very hot and humid even early in the morning. We left after three games of Backgammon, around 0815 and, after an hour of motoring, passed Hannes and Maren in the distance. They were a little closer to shore, we preferred to be further outside.

We arrived in Halmstad around 1315 - 1330 and found one spot that would fit our boat. It is amazing how small boats just tie up along the pier though they would easily fit into the boxes, and nobody calls them to order. O well... There was some current from the river Nissan, but it was not enough to get us anxious. Juergen backed into the spot, I jumped up onto the pier and tied our stern line enough so that Juergen could move the bow with the bow thruster, and the bowline was tied up as well. After the two springs, we were in business, had a quick sandwich lunch and waited for Hannes and Maren to arrive. About an hour after we had settled in they arrived, all exhausted from the heat. We, too, were hiding under our dodger. Our bimini frame is still broken (tore out of the hull on the starboard side and its connection is totally bent since Visby. None of us knows how this happened. We hope to get this, the dodger - all seems are giving out, and our hot water heater fixed in Rungsted, Denmark, where we expect to leave the boat for our flight to New York and on to Denver for Andrea's wedding on August 7th. This is also where we hope to buy a new 12 V battery as the other one was discharged too much for it to recover), therefore, we also have little protection from the sun. Hannes and Maren went into town. We were still too hot to accompany them. We tried to find them later, but the town is too large and the spots to have Capuccino too numerous that we missed them.

We had dinner on our boat, just a huge salad with all sorts of crunchy veggies, and a choice of oil sardines, tuna, hard boiled eggs and tomatoes, all on the side as some of us prefer one over the other. By 2230 we all were tired and went to bed.

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Entrance marker to Halmstad
Entrance to Halmstad - very industrial...
Sculpture in Hamstad
Church with Sculpture

July 28, 2006, Thursday

I had wanted to walk around with my camera today to take pictures of all the many sculptures we had seen as we were looking for Hannes and Maren the day before (for once I left the boat without my camera as I was too hot to carry it around, and since I knew that we would stay for at least one, possibly two days (to avoid the weekend rush), I could afford to do so. Of course, I already said then that I was sure we would see something terrific that I would miss by not having my camera with me. It did not seem so that evening.

This morning, it was gray, a lot cooler than yesterday as it was totally overcast and as we were sitting playing Backgammon after our pancake breakfast (in the cockpit), it began to rain. So, here we are, sitting down below, Juergen doing navigation and catch-up work, while I am trying to stay up to date with our website, even if I cannot upload it here. I assume this will only be possible in Rungstad, if at all...

July 29, 2006, Friday

We left Halmstad early in the morning as we wanted to arrive in Moelle rather early. This is a tiny (and I mean tiny) harbor which has little opportunity for docking for a boat our size. We went as fast as we could and arrived around 12-1230-ish, went into the harbor, saw that there was NO space for us and immediately turned around in this tiny harbor and left again to continue for Helsingborg (remember, last year, we went to Helsingoer and took a ferry over to the Swedish size, i.e., to Helsingborg). We informed Hannes and Maren of the overcrowded conditions in Moelle and the need for us to continue. They agreed to go to Helsingborg as well, and so we continued on our way and, at some point, decided to set sail and not motor, assuming that there would be ample space for us and Hannes and Maren in Helsingborg. We had a glorious time, recognized a bunch of places on the Danish coast which we had visited or passed last year and finally made it into Helsingborg. We were amazed at the crowds, at the lack of discipline not to take up space specifically dedicated for large boats with boats around 20 - 30 feet. We finally asked someone whether we could tie up to their boat - they reluctantly agreed - and told Hannes and Maren who had followed us to tie up to another boat right in front of us. The swell was very strong as the wind had increased and there was ample large ship traffic causing some of the swell. We had no choice if we wanted to stay.

Hannes and Maren agreed that this was it for the night. We went for Capuccino etc. and discussed that I really did not feel like cooking because of the heat. Juergen later on made a dinner reservation in a restaurant not far from our boat and nicely located to afford overseeing part of the harbor and our boats. The food was exquisite, the atmosphere inspiring. We had a wonderful time. Still, we were tired and after dinner, went to bed. It was rather noisy because Helsingborg was celebrating the flower festival which equated to lots of people, lots of beer and other alcohol, lots of "cheap" entertainment, a band or two with loud but not exactly great music, etc. You should have seen the harbor the next morning - empty beer bottles and cans all over the place in the water and outside, lots of garbage all over - just amazing...

July 30, 2006, Saturday

We needed bread. As our neighbor, whose boat we had tied up to and who gave us the secret on how to treat the teak deck (Gori 44 - 90%, Gori 22 - 8%, paraffin - 2 to 5% - ever since then, we have been trying to find the Gori product and have been unsuccessful to date...) needed to leave around 0700, I took a walk to find a place for fresh bread even on Sunday morning. I finally found a beautiful store, already open, with wonderful food and also freshly baked bread, rolls, etc.. I purchased bread and rolls for ourselves and also for Hannes and Maren. Hannes had been purchasing rolls for us on many mornings. I welcomed the opportunity to reciprocate.

We had breakfast in the cockpit. Finally, Hannes and Maren moved their boat next to ours. We decided to take another walk around the harbor area while I was taking pictures of sculptures etc. - see pictures. We then had another Capuccino "coffee break" and decided to depart for Rungsted.

We left around 1130 or so, crossed the Traffic Separation System ("TSS") towards Helsingoer, saw Kronborg Castle again - and loved it just as much as we did last year when we kept our boat in Helsingborg for a two-night stay and then moved along the coast towards Rungsted. We arrived early that day - around 1330 or so - and tried to find a box for our boat. We finally did, but with a lot of anxiety. Our boat neighbor helped, and we were tied up within just a few minutes. Hannes and Maren followed suit and found a box right next to us - amazing given how crowded the harbor was.

We took a walk, had our usual "coffee break" and decided to talk to the harbor master for our longer-term stay (to August 18 or so) and the various repairs we needed, the next morning. We had dinner on our boat, in the cockpit, in great sunshine (baked vegetables with rice).

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Sculptures in Helsingborg
Watering Truck for the Flowers of the Flower Festival

July 31, 2006, Sunday

We slept late, had a leisurely breakfast down below because it had been pouring all night and the cockpit was still wet. Around 0945, we went to the harbor master, expecting that he would have space for us for the entire time we had hoped for. It was nowhere easy though, in the end, they indicated that they would find a space for our boat. We then tried to find the sailmaker - we need to have our dodger resewn as the seams seem to give up their "lives", our water heater needs fixing, our 12 V battery needs to be checked, our generator, our alternator and who knows whatever else.... Nothing was possible. People were on vacation, the mechanic's boss was going to show up for a few hours in a few days - again, no guarantee of getting the work done.

We called the Yacht Center Baltic Bay in Laboe, near Kiel, Germany and found a harbor master with a lot of dedication and responsiveness. He understood what we needed and promised to call us back in about 15 minutes to confirm a dock space etc. He actually called back promptly, confirmed our dock space (D 16), confirmed an appointment with a sailmaker (August 4) and also promised that the other repairs were no problem, subject to obtaining the spare parts we needed. It was great. With this knowledge, we said good-bye to Hannes and Maren - a little prematurely, a little in a hectic mood, they decided to move on as well, but only to a harbor 20 nm away while we were aiming to go to Klinthom, about 60 plus nm away.

The weather was wonderful, we mostly motor-sailed with an average of 8 knots and arrived in Klintholm at 1930. We tied up to another boat - there was no other space available any more and at least six boats were coming in after us. We immediately went out to dinner - sole ("flatfisk" and "koked potatis"), boiled potatoes, beer. It was delicious!!! Then we went to bed, exhausted.

August 1, 2006, Monday

We had to get up a 0400 because the boat we had tied up to wanted to depart at that ungodly hour. They planned on photographing the Klintholm cliffs at sunrise. The night had been terrible for me as I feared to miss the time to get up. By 0350 I was totally awake, awoke Juergen, and we decided to get out and chatted with the people who were leaving at this hour. On the one hand, I was ready to do the same, on the other I knew that Juergen was still very tired and that he would do this only because I wanted it, not because he would enjoy it. So we decided to go back to bed. The little boat tied up to us remained tied up to us while we let the other boat depart. We then tied up to another boat right on the dock and went back to sleep.

That boat wanted to leave around 0830 - 0900. We were ready. The boat next to us was not quite ready, but they were forced to because we wanted to depart as well.

The trip took a long time to get to Burgtiefe, for us, due to current, it turned into an approximately 70 nm trip as we mostly motor-sailed (over ground approximately 60 nm). The wind was right on our nose or enough on the nose that we could not sail though we would have loved to. We passed Gedser, the harbor we had stopped in overnight on our last year's trip around the Danish islands. This time, we needed to make another approximately 30 nm to get to Fehmarn, the port of Burgtiefe. This is the harbor Hannes and Maren usually stay at when on Fehmarn. It was closer than Lemkenhafen and easier to get into, and much larger. So we thought it would not be a problem for us to find a box for the night. Well, we had some difficulty. The main guest harbor of Burgtiefe is built in a circle with boxes inside and outside the circle. There was not a single space available or large enough for us. We continued deeper into the harbor and finally found a box with pilings far enough apart for us to enter. Two sailors came running to help with the bow lines as Juergen smoothly drove into the box, despite the fairly strong winds. We had encountered a squall just about five nm before the harbor entrance, with gusts of 34 knots and lots of rain. Though the wind had subsided somewhat it was still blowing around 25 knots. I was very proud of Juergen for the smoothness with which he drove the boat into the box.

We were tied up very quickly. Juergen prepared the navigation work for our next day's trip while I cooked dinner. We went to bed after I spoke with Christa who is in the hospital - unfortunately...

August 2, 2006, Tuesday

After breakfast we went to see the harbor master to pay our dues. He had already come by but did not get a response so he went back to his office. We had a quick chat, untied the boat and left, again in gray and windy conditions. Again, we mostly motor sailed with very brief interludes of sail attempts. This approximately 38 nm trip was short compared to the previous two days. We arrived at around 1700 and found "our dedicated spot" occupied. We called the harbor master. His brother was on duty. He claimed not to know anything about us (though his brother had confirmed to me that everybody in his office would be able to help us) and that, if we did not find another spot with a green sign, he could not help me and we should come back the next day. Of course, I was enraged, particularly since his brother and I had clearly agreed that we would arrive on August 2nd and, if due to weather, we would be delayed, I would call. I had not called until we got there...

We temporarily tied up to a catamaran which was kind enough to let us do so and went to the harbor master on duty. When he saw Juergen, he became a lot more helpful. One very funny comment he made when he finally found his brother's notes on our telephone conversation. His brother had us listed to arrive on August 3rd (though this had been agreed otherwise - see above). When he saw "tomorrow's date", he commented that his brother never makes mistakes and certainly not with numbers, because he used to be a navigator and numbers were part of his personality. I chuckled because our friend Hannes and we had had a conversation many weeks ago on how to treat people and what to say or not to say to clients - we had been reminiscing about our jobs, careers and the things that happened to us... in a sales training seminar, Hannes' trainer had stressed that one NEVER said to a client "you must have misunderstood me" as that would imply "you client are too stupid to understand what I am saying". I was very much reminded of that when this harbor master made the "no failure" comment about his brother. I guess, I am the stupid customer....

In the end, another gentleman in the office arranged for the two boats that had tied up in our spot unauthorizedly to move elsewhere and for us to take the spot dedicated to us for the time of our repair and flight back to the US. We were very grateful, sat down in the cockpit, played Backgammon and then - after a brief stroll around the property which, by the way is gorgeous - you will see photos with my next update, have not taken any pictures yet - we had supper in the cockpit.

August 3, 2006, Wednesday

We spoke to the original harbor master who obviously had heard about our problems last night from his brother - and found all sorts of excuses. He confirmed all the arrangements made regarding repairs, the sail maker's appointment for tomorrow. We paid our dues until August 17 and got two days off as, in this harbor, the seventh day of docking is free, a very nice gesture. Juergen is taking care of a few boat things and got our bicycles out as this town is very pretty, with a gorgeous beach and lots of opportunity to bicycle. We can finally return the many water bottles and get rich as they charge about 20 US cents per bottle and more at purchase, i.e., we will get lots of money back. I am also doing laundry... thank God with great brand new and high-tech washing machines, Miele of course. You must know my preference for Miele machines...