Latvia's Liepaja and Pavilosta 10.7. – 13.7.
After a time spent in Nida we stopped in Klaipeda for bunkering Suwena. On Sunday it was time again for a new country, Latvia and our first stop will be in Liepaja.
As we drove on the river of Juru we dutifully notified Lithuanian coastguard that we are about to leave the country. Again they asked about our next port of call, ship’s flag and the number of crew onboard. And then it was time to go to sea and towards Latvia.
Andrus drove Suwena further from the coast so we would not have to make a turn when arriving in Latvia as on the map was a forbidden area for navigation spreading three nautical miles from the coast. Distance to Liepaja was 56 miles and there was only 4 m/s of wind. We decided to motorsail this leg.
The guest harbour of Liepaja is few miles upriver by the river of Tirdzniecibas Kanals. The canal is definetely not beautiful. One shore is dedicated to the commercial harbour and on the other side are moored military ships and rusty fishing vessels. The marina is just in front of the hotel Promenade. The harbour has two piers for mooring alongside. We found a place at the end of the floating dock close to a restaurant where young people were sitting on quay and having burgers with drinks stronger than water. In addition we were in the end of the dock and the harbourmaster could not see Suwena from his office. Fortunately one yacht left just from the front of the hotel and we quickly moved Suwena to much better and quieter place.
Suwena was again a lens louse. It is unbelievable how people are coming to the dock and taking pictures of themselves together with Suwena. This time a pack of young ladies and few families stopped for a photoshooting.
Liepaja is a traditional industrial city and we didn't look for its sights. The most important was to find a internet operator dealer. This time we bought the most expensive internet stick on Baltic Sea. The 10 days contract cost 42 euros and the daily limit is only 200MB. With each change of the courtesy flag we will need to change the internet stick as well. Soon we can dress her up with USB sticks. The only differences in sticks are a logo and some settings. EU should really force the operators to co-operate also on mobile internet!
We waited eagerly to fill Suwena's fuel tanks with diesel. In Klaipeda we could ordered the fuel that would be delivered to the pier. We decided to skip overpriced refuelling in Klaipeda. We also heard that there is fuel dock in Liepaja but there was none and we could not even order any. The harbourmaster of Liepaja also warned us about the refuelling station by the canal. The fuel is unfiltered diesel oil from Russia which is not suitable for pleasure boats. Therefore we decided to stop before Ventspils in Pavilosta habrour where is a decent boat refuelling dock.
From Liepaja we sailed towards Pavilosta. In the beginning we had 6 m/s of wind and it increased to 9-10 m/s as we got closer to Pavilosta. We were glad the wind did not increase any more because the entrance to harbour between the breakwaters is really narrow. The guidebook warned us that if the wind is blowing over 10 m/s the passage between the breakwaters becomes dangerous. During the last few miles the waves started to grow as well and Suwena swung a lot. As we passed the breakwater it was suddenly very peaceful. Both the wind and the waves stayed at sea.
Pavilosta marina is rebuilt in year 2008. It felt like we have arrived at home as we moored Suwena to the dock made by Finnish company Marinetek. In the marina building was a small guest house and camping site in addition to the boating services. The harbourmaster welcomed us and told that they have water, electricity, internet and other things available. We noticed that there was even a small supply of boating accessories for sale in the marina office.
The restaurant is located on the other side of the river and can be reached by water taxi or by using own dinghy. We enjoyed dinner onboard and planned for the next leg. Should we go to Ventspils or directly to Roja? The weather forecast promised a gale force winds first to the Friday and then the gale warning has become step by step earlier. The latest one was to the Thursday. The wind should increase in central Baltic Sea to 15-20 m/s and this we want to experience in harbour with Suwena properly moored. Well, we will decide in the morning.
On Wednesday morning we moved to the fuel dock. We were happy to refuel her on a station that serves both the boats and cars. This means the fuel is fresh due to high turnover.
We bought last winter an extra fuel filter for refuelling. The filter Mr Funnel removes dirt and water from the fuel. Of course the refuelling takes longer as the fuel is going through the filter but already we saw the benefits. Even the station was Statoil and the diesel quality was good still there was some water and dirt in filter.
Only Riga and Pavilosta have the only real boating fuel dock in complete Latvia and Lithuania. Of course in Estonia the fuel can be found at least from Roomassaare, Pärnu and Haapsalu. And there are always people ready to bring the fuel by car to the docks but we are a little dubious about the quality and origin of such a fuel. Also many times the price is much higher.
After refuelling the crew as well it was a time to go to sea. We decided to head directly to Roja based on the weather forecast from the morning. The distance to Roja is 105 nautical miles. We are prepared to spend a few days in Roja and wait until the bad weather passes. It could be that we need to wait until two low pressures will passing by.
Pavilosta was a positive surprise to us. Liepaja and also the Ventspils are both industrial cities so we can recommend Pavilosta as an intermediate stop in Latvia. It is a small cozy village on the river bank. Next time would be nice to lower the dinghy and to go to explore the river upstream.