August 5th – Hot and Sunny. To Travemünde Anchorage
We timed the bridge opening perfectly and sailed through without any delay. We then pulled out the jib and sailed gently down the river to our chosen anchorage for the night. It was Sunday, and the end of holidays for many. There was an endless procession of boats coming towards us, up the river.
Happily, the anchorage wasn't too crowded, and we found a nice spot.
We spent the afternoon swimming and reading.
August 6th. Hot and Sunny.
Actually it was quite cool this morning. Heavenly! - But it didn’t last. We sailed again, gently down to the mouth of the Trave river, passing 4 enormous ferries along the way. These transport lorry containers to various ports in Scandinavia. As we approached, one hooted and departed, then a little while later another came up behind us. The behemoth passed alarmingly close to us, but all was well. The wind was very fickle, not enough to sail any distance, so we found an anchorage off the beach, for lunch, and waited to see if there would be a decent sea breeze. Nothing much materialised, so we decided to spend the night there.
August 7th. Tuesday. Hot and Sunny. To Bergstaaken, Fehmarn.
It was an unquiet night; there must have been a lot of ships coming and going all night long, every now and again there would be a big swell to rock and roll us.
We set the cruising chute when we left, and for an hour or so we sailed along beautifully. However, when it was my turn to take the helm, the wind died away and the sail collapsed, so we took it down and motored for a couple of hours.
I used my new umbrella to give some shade in the relentless sun. It actually made steering very pleasurable.
Janey preferred to put the self steering on and sit on deck in the shade of the mast. After a while the wind got up again, but not far enough behind us to continue with the cruising chute. So we packed it away, got the mainsail up and pulled out the jib, and had a lovely sail into Bergstaaken. We are now just 10 miles from Heiligenhafen, where we will sail tomorrow, if the wind isn’t too strong.
August 8th. Hot and Sunny. To Heiligenhafen
First stop before breakfast, was the fuel dock. The wind was already pinning us to the pontoon, and was forecast to get stronger. With a clever manoeuvre involving a spring on slip, we managed to get away very neatly. Taking on fuel was painless, then we motored to the other side of the harbour, tied up and had breakfast. I went and did a little shopping, and then we set off for Heiligenhafen. As the wind was gusting up to Force 5 we decided to put in a reef. I messed this up, by actually trying to put in a double reef! So down with the mainsail and start again. It took quite a while to sort this out, and we were getting into very shallow water, so I pulled the sail down again. Then, in deeper water I pulled it up again. By now I was bushed, and the wind had died away to a gentle breeze. On the nose. So now we needed to take the reef out! This time it was Janey's turn. We tacked up the Fehmarn Sound; the first tacking we have had to do all summer. The wind gently died, it was awful hot and getting late for lunch, so we put the engine on and motored the last half hour into harbour.
We found a nice berth, and felt we were home again. A very late lunch, then I went up to the supermarket to get something for supper, while Janey made friends with our neighbours. She was trying to remove a piece of kit which I had almost broken my toe on earlier this morning. It was very stubborn, and Bernhardt offered various things to help, he was obviously itching to actually do the job for Janey! Once removed, there was a bit of staining, so he offered some rubbing paste to clean it up. Later in the afternoon, he presented us with a little packet of Friesian tea.
As a thank you for all this kindness we invited Bernhardt and Sabine on board for a glass of wine before supper. We had forgotten that the Germans eat supper around 6, so they came having eaten, and stayed quite a while; well past our normal supper time. Luckily we had had a late lunch! We spent a lovely evening chatting about sailing things, and life in East Germany before Unification. Bernhardt escaped in 1978.
August 9th. Hot and Sunny till 4pm, then windy and cool.
Before the wind got up we took down the sails and folded them up. Then started on the washing. There are 2 washing machines in the marina and just one dryer. A 40° wash takes an incredible 90 minutes and only spins to 1400 revolutions. The dryer takes 1 to 2 hours depending on the amount of stuff in it. If several people want to wash at the same time, it can get very stressful. Anyway, today thankfully, we were alone.
By tea-time the wind was howling, gales are forecast for the next couple of days, it is blissfully cool. Supper in the cockpit, under the tent, and Janey needed the light on for cooking!
After supper we had the most spectacular thunderstorm. Sheet lightening began to the east; mild flashes followed by gentle rumbles of thunder. Then all at once the rain started, great big drops, and soon we had a tropical downpour. The lightening intensified, at times long flashes of daylight and claps of thunder right above us. Then the storm passed over us, the rain stopped and the lightening could be seen less and less. It was quite an experience!
August 10th to 13th
Spent these mornings cleaning and getting the boat ready for winter storage. The afternoons reading. It rained for a while pretty much every day.
Cycled into Heiligenhafen this morning. It was a lovely ride in the woods, along the side of the lagoon. Parked our bikes and walked out on the pier, stopping on the way for a blueberry ice cream.
We then visited all the clothes shops, (about 20). I found a nice blouse, in a rather chic shop; in fact, it looked so expensive, we nearly didn't bother to go in! To our surprise, the things were quite affordable.
August 15th. Fairly sunny with a few showers.
After tea, Urs and Dirk came aboard and started to prepare the boat. Once all was done we cycled to Luise's Sport Hotel. It was very, very uphill, but we made it finally. It is a very nice, modern hotel, but sadly has no restaurant. So after a ½ -bottle of Sekt in a Strandkorb in the garden (to celebrate the successful end of our holiday) we walked a km into town for supper at the Seestern Hotel. We had a lovely meal, but ate far too much. Followed by a schnapps, on the house. We couldn't face the hill again, so took a taxi back to the hotel.
August 16th hot and sunny
We were up before 7 this morning, and at 7.15 waiting outside the dining room for breakfast. We had a super breakfast, and by ten to eight we were pedalling down hill to the yard. When we arrived, Urs was already working on the boat getting her ready to be craned out of the water.
We then settled the mooring bill with Axel, Frau Fleed ordered a taxi, and then we were off to the station in Oldenburg in Holstein – not to be confused with Oldenburg somewhere else!
It was quite an experience being driven at something over 160 kph (100mph) along the Autobahn. After top speeds of 6 mph for 3 months, it felt rather alarming! We had a bit of a wait in the sun for The train, the temperature climbed to 30° in the shade!
Once in Hamburg we found somewhere to leave our luggage and bought tickets for a hop on hop off bus which offered a 90 minute tour of Hamburg. The first 30 minutes were spent driving round the Alster, a large lake almost in the centre of Hamburg. This is where the seriously wealthy live. Then down the Reeperbahn, (the famous red light street).
Then on into the harbour – after Amsterdam and Rotterdam, the 3rd largest container port in Europe. Here we decided to take a harbour tour. Our bus driver sold us tickets at a reduced price, and we fought our way along the floating dock to find the right tour company.
We had half an hour to wait, and then an ancient captain led us on a long walk to an equally ancient boat. There was little shade, most of the windows were fixed shut, and in no time at all we felt we were in a sauna.
Sadly the commentary was only in German, and the loud speakers were so loud and distorted, I found it hard to understand half of what he said.
My last harbour tour was in the 80's, and since then there has been a big change. Most of the lovely old warehouses have been pulled down and replaced with unattractive buildings, a few have been converted.
And very few are really attractive, especially the new Philharmonic Hall. This was started in 2007, estimated cost €200 million, completed last year, actual cost €800 million. The acoustics are apparently, the best in the world. Unfortunately we cannot confirm this!
We spent 90 minutes on the water, and then, back on the bus. Through the newly built harbour city – similar in concept to Canary Warf, but, to our mind, lacking in imagination. Canary Warf is far superior.
By now we were pretty tired, and happy to catch the S-Bahn to our hotel near the airport. Tomorrow we fly to Gatwick.
The End of a wonderful holiday.