Southern Baltic Sea '12

5000 Nautical Miles Under the Keel in Anholt 28.6. – 30.6.

  • Posted on: 8 July 2012
  • By: Eve

On Thursday we left Saeby behind and sailed south towards the island of Anholt in the middle of Kattegat. At the beginning the wind was dead on the nose and we motored. After the turn towards Anholt on southern side of Laesö island we raised mainsail and genoa to help the work of Perkins. The sails gave us one to two knots of extra speed and at the same time the fuel consumption went down. When talking about the fuel I must say that we have used during this cold summer more fuel in the heater than for the engine. Anyhow, improving a fuel economy is always a good thing and motorsailing is a decent alternative to beating. The leg’s length was 51 nautical miles and we motorsailed half of it. We arrived in Anholt just before the sunset.
Suwena is approaching Anholt island
During this leg we reached again another milestone for ourselves. We passed a 5000 nautical miles totally in our sailing voyages. Four seasons of previous boating plus half of the current one equals 5000 nm – not bad at all.

In the marina guidebook the Anholt harbour was described to have a mooring with stern anchors. This was incorrect and there were buoys in all docks. We tied Suwena's bow to the buoy and stern to the dock after which she was ready for a couple of day's visit in Anholt.
Mooring buoys in Anholtin harbour
Anholt island is a popular destination and we heard that for example during the Midsummer the harbour is very crowded with many boats rafted up. Also now there were a lot of boats however this time everybody had their own buoy. The sandy beach is starting just next to the docks and children were playing happily there. There were also a huge barbecue area built to the shore. It featured three different grills and a dozen long tables. During the evenings boaters brought to barbecue many delicacies from crabs to stakes and of course the sausages. One of the sailors played accordion and every now and then a sing-along were sang. The atmosphere was relaxed and many languages were spoken which were mixed together into a comfortable gabble. The barbecue place in Anholt was special because the grills were warmed up by the harbour personnel and therefore also the crews from boats lacking the charcoal could join the party.
Fishing vessels in Anholtin harbour
On Friday the rain was pouring all day and everybody stayed on their boats. The most annoyed must have been the Swedish squadron of boats. They continued already on early Saturday morning and had no time to enjoy the island. For us the day passed quickly by doing various chores aboard.

The Sun was back on Saturday for the whole day. It was time to go for a walk around the island. The Danish have a fun story about Anholt island. Back in 1545 when they negotiated with Swedes about the peace and the rest of the province of Halland was transferred to Sweden, Anholt was still left to Denmark. The story tells that a clever Danish negotiator put the beer mug on the top of Anholt on the map and Swedish did not notice this during the peace negotiation.
Village road in Anholt island
Forest road in the island of Anholt
We walked a few kilometres to the centre of the village where we saw the smallest church we have ever seen. But I anyhow think all permanent residents would fit into it.
The church of Anholt
On the northeastern corner of the island we can see influence of human activities on the nature. Danish king Frederick II decided to build lighthouses to secure the navigation of ships in Kattegat and one of them was located on Anholt island. The trees on the island were harvested for burning the light. The soil however is very sandy and trees did not grow back. The eastern side of the island was deserted and it is nowadays the biggest desert in Northern Europe with only lichens growing there. The deserting was not even stopped by starting to use coal as a fuel for the lighthouse in 1620. The result of cutting the trees for sixty years can still be seen.
Ørkenen desert of Anholt island
Eve on the Ørkenen desert of Anholt island
Ørkenen desert is now a natural reserve area and it is not allowed to use any vehicles, not even a bicycle. We made a short trek to the desert and when we reached back to the hard ground we really had to empty our shoes from the sand. It was very hot day and we did not fancy to take a 15 kilometre trek to the lighthouse and back on the desert. A short round to get the general feeling was enough for us. In the eastern corner is anyhow a protection area for seals and visitors are not allowed there. It would have been fun to use binoculars to look at the seals from the lighthouse but we left this fun to other brave wanderers in a sand.

The western coast of the island has forest and the smell of the trees was similar to Finland. Our tour around the island took whole day and we finished it by wading on the sandy beach in crystal clear water during the sunset.

Helsingør and the Kronborg castle 1.7. – 3.7.

  • Posted on: 12 July 2012
  • By: Eve

On Sunday morning we continued from Anholt island towards Helsingør. While preparing Suwena for a sea a SAR vessel left the harbour with blue lights flashing. Immediately afterwards we heard on VHF a pan pan call for all ships. There was a missing Spanish motorboat that was last seen on the southern side of Anholt. We had cold shivers all over the body because we were just leaving to the sea and the other boat was missing at the same time.

Soon a Danish coastguard helicopter joined the search as well. Lyngby radio called on VHF channel 16 one-by-one every boat which they noticed to be in the search area and asked to keep a sharp lookout. After a few hours the search area was combed and pan pan was cancelled without any results. We never heard did they find the Spanish boat. We hope that the boat with the crew is safe and everything is well. It is always serious when such a thing happens. Andrus used his binoculars extensively but we did not see any Spanish motorboat on our way to Helsingør.
From Anholt we sailed to southeast towards the Sound (Danish Øresund, Swedish Öresund). It was funny to sail on the narrow strait between two countries. In the east is Sweden and in the west Denmark. The Sound is at its narrowest near Helsingør in Denmark and Helsingborg in Sweden. Its width over there is only four kilometres.
Four kilometres wide Sound
We arrived in Helsingør on late afternoon. The harbour is huge with a space for almost 1000 boats. Despite of this we barely got a berth for Suwena as the harbour was fully packed with boats. After driving through the harbour we found the berth near the harbour exit on the north side. Our berth was located just opposite of the harbour office but the walk there is one kilometre long stroll.

All Danish guest harbours we had visited were equipped with harbour fee ATM machines. It is very convenient because the harbour fee can be paid any time of the day and there is no need to monitor harbour office opening times. Like in Anholt also here in Helsingør the shorepower is paid by a rechargeable card acquired from the same ATM. We like this system. In these places the fuses have been 16 amps. Usually they are 6 or 10 amps and the electricity is at many times shared among the boats. We have aboard an electric hob with oven and for cooking we need between 8 and 12 amps of current. On top of this we need to add the usual battery charging and other electricity consumption. This all sounds complicated but we take it easy. If the shorepower fuse is too small we use our own generator during the cooking and Andrus sets the current limiter on battery charger. It all works out pretty seamlessly.

Helsingør is an important city on Baltic Sea seafaring. Eric of Pomerania decided to build Kronborg castle into the city in 1420. At the same time he ordered a customs duty to be levied on all passing ships. The customs duty was active until 1857 and the kings must have been making a fortune on merchant ships. If the ship did not comply with the king’s orders then the Kronborg artillery shot warning shots on them. The Sound near Helsingør is so narrow that it was not possible to hide anywhere. Nowadays vessels from big container and cruise ships to small yachts pass through Danish straits and it is only a good thing that the customs is the thing of past.
Walking street in Helsingør
Eve at the market of Helsingør
Kronborg castle
The Kronborg castle is Helsingør's the most important sight and this is no wonder. The castle is a magnificent example of a renaissance building and the stories from the guide brought life into both dungeons and royal quarters. Soldiers lived in a dungeon built below the castle. The space was in a cellar with a water droplets falling from ceilings. Without sunshine the life of soldiers must have been pretty rough. During the peace time everybody had their own bunk but at war times the amount of soldiers were doubled and they had to sleep on wet and cold ground. To help their well-being everybody got a five litres of beer every day. In addition to beer they had salted herring for a food. The herring was by the way salted in their living space into a vast open holding tanks. That must have been one heck of a smell.
Eve in the dungeon of Kronborg castle
Fortunately the royal living quarters upstairs were totally different to explore. Beautiful tapestries and huge ballroom have been the stage for many parties throughout the times. Danish kings have been avid partiers and best parties lasted for three months. The guide told many interesting tales about royals, their living and the middle age manners not to forgetting of course the castle itself. This guided tour was the best we have participated this year.
Guide introducing the Kronborg castle
It is surprising that cannons in the Kronburg castle are still in use. The tradition that the cannon is fired during the queen’s toast still lives. It must make the toast speech very convincing if it is enchanted by a cannon shot towards Sweden. Nowadays the shots are blanks and people in Helsingborg need not to be in panic.

The Island of Ven in the Middle of the Sound 4.7.

  • Posted on: 14 July 2012
  • By: Eve

Finally the temperature was 25 degrees already in the morning. While sipping morning coffee in a cockpit we discussed that should we go to the island of Ven or directly to Copenhagen. The sun was shining nicely and we went for Ven.
The village of Kyrkbackens in Ven island
From Helsingør it is only 6 nautical miles to Ven. The Sound was full of boats going in all directions. The vacation period had really been started. Trip was short but despite of this we changed the Swedish flag instead of Danish into the right spreader because Ven is on Swedish soil.
The view from Ven to Sound and Denmark
The view from Ven to Sound and Sweden
There are three harbours in Ven and we chose Kyrkbackens guest harbour on the western side of the island. We thought that by arriving before noon there would be a plenty of space. That was not the case. The harbour was full and boats rafted up in two to three rows. We got lucky because one Danish yacht was leaving and we were able to moor Suwena alongside a quay. Before we made her fast there was already a second boat on our side and a few moments later two more joined the raft.
Suwena in boat raft in Ven island
Boats arrived in continuous string and at some point there were no more space for newcomers. Except now and then a day cruiser left and somebody got a lucky spot.

The island of Ven is a day cruising destination for both Swedish and Danish sailors. There are a few restaurants on the shore and the beach attracts sunbathers. Originally we were interested in Ven because of the astrological tower of Tycho Brahe, however the day was so beautiful that it did not even cross our mind to go to museum. Instead we took it easy and enjoyed the Sun.

Copenhagen 5.7. – 9.7.

  • Posted on: 21 July 2012
  • By: Eve

It is just 13 nautical miles from Ven to Copenhagen. En route the country and the scenery changed. Small idyllic island changed into big metropolis and the red-white courtesy flag was raised to the right spreader again.
The Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark passing Suwena
We wanted to have a berth at Langelinie yacht club marina because it is at a walking distance from city centre just next to a Little Mermaid statue. To secure the berth we left Ven at early morning. If the harbour is full we planned diverting to Christianshavn as a backup option. These two harbours have the best location in Copenhagen for visiting yachtsmen. The other harbours are situated outside of the city area and require public transport to reach the city centre. However the vacation season had been started and we were prepared if we do not fit into our selected ports.
Little Mermaid in night mist of Copenhagen
Tourists and Little Mermaid in Copenhagen
As expected Langelinie harbour was full but we did manage to squeeze Suwena into one free spot. However during the next day we had to move her one berth to the right and use the next mooring buoy. The yacht club's member boat had notified about his arrival and we were at his berth. Harbourmaster managed moving the boats; we got a berth to our right and our neighbour his own. In the end everybody was satisfied.

Langelinie marina can fit about 100 boats and all berths are reserved for the club members. The visiting boats can use empty spots marked with green color in the absence of club yachts. The boats were coming and leaving continuously but still for many it was a disappointment and they had to leave and find a berth in another marina. If there is a space we can warmly recommend this Langelinie harbour. It has a good spirit, all services and most importantly it is within walking distance from the city centre.

On a way from harbour to centre we passed the guest berths in the harbour of Nyhavn. We were glad that we did not go there because berths are just in the middle of very busy tourist and restaurant area. Of course somebody might like to stay in busy place. Anyway sightseeing tourist boats leave from Nyhavn by full throttle and create quite a swell for visiting yachts.
Nyhavn restaurant street in Copenhagen
Sightseeing boats leaving Nyhavn in Copenhagen
Guest berths in Nyhavn of Copenhagen
Copenhagen has a lot to see and internet is full of good travel guides. But there is one place where everybody in Copenhagen should visit, it is the Tivoli Gardens amusement park. Tivoli is much more than just a amusement park. The area features tens of restaurants and many locals go there to eat and spend time. Of course its also fun to have a ride or two. In the evening the gardens are lighted up and many couples wandered happily holding hands after romantic dinner. After being in Tivoli we do not wonder any more why they sell annual entry passes and many locals seemed to have one.
Entrance of Tivoli
We toured the Tivoli and after a while we felt hungry. Choosing the restaurant was difficult. All of them had a good selection. We kept wandering and reading the menues. Finally we managed to select an excellent restaurant Grøften and decided to try the day's fish that was bouillabaisse. Huge pot of stew made from three different kinds of seafood was absolutely delicious. It was good to notice that even in such a touristic place the level of food is high.

Generally speaking the food in Denmark have been a little disappointment for us. It seems Danish food consists of a bread and a plate of different kind of fillings. Other dishes are breaded and so deep fried that we do not feel to taste them. Another very positive experience was in the middle of Copenhagen's main walking street. Being tired after a full day of shopping we sat down at the Le President Bistro restaurant. The gentleman from next table suggested sushi and told that it was the best sushi he has had in whole Copenhagen. We ordered one of our favour dishes and in addition there was an offer for 50% discount on a nigiri set. Sushi was excellent and the price was ridiculously low.
Le President Bistro restaurant in walking street of Copenhagen
Copenhagen's walking street had changed shape since our last visit. It is now more like Ramblas in Barcelona, full of street artists and banana pancakes were sold like in Asian tourist traps. Where have all the Danish sausage carts disappeared?
Walking street in Copenhagen
Walking street in Copenhagen
During our visit Copenhagen hosted one and a half week long jazz festival. All around the city stages were set up and bands played jazz music. People sat enjoying the music and chatting with friends. The restaurants offered take away beer in case you forgot your own at home.

Also in our harbour was a jazz event on Sunday afternoon. The yacht club rigged a sunshade from old sails and brought in long benches for people to sit and enjoy jazz. A few hours passed quickly on a sunny day especially as there was some wine and beer not forgetting the Danish traditional sausages and bread available.
Jazz event in Langelinie yacht club harbour in Copenhagen
Jazz in Lagelinie harbour of Copenhagen
Barbecue in jazz festival of Langelinie in Copenhagen

Falsterbo and Gislövsläge 9.7 – 10.7.

  • Posted on: 25 July 2012
  • By: Eve

We left Copenhagen on Monday morning with the plan to cross the Sound and sail towards the south coast of Sweden and the harbour of Gislövsläge there.

Last time when we travelled by train from Copenhagen to Malmö, we travelled first four kilometres below the sea and then eight kilometres over the bridge of Öresund to Sweden. With Suwena we could either sail over the tunnel or under the 57 metre tall bridge. The bridge was a little further east and passing under it would add several miles to our route. Instead we took a direct course over the Drogden tunnel. The water depth over the tunnel is 7.7 metres. This means that for Suwena there is almost six metres of water under her keel. The Öresund bridge looked magnificent when we passed it with Suwena from southern side.
Slack in lee side shrouds while sailing on the Sound
Eve updating the sailing blog on the Sound
Öresund bridge
By crossing the Sound we changed for again Danish waters to Swedish coast and sailed towards the Falsterbo canal. The canal shortens our journey by ten nautical miles because there is no need to go around the cape of Falsterbo on south-west corner of Sweden. The canal's length is only one nautical mile and it has one bridge that opens at every full hour. Near the canal entrance we lowered sails and let the Perkins do the sailing. We were in a little hurry to catch the bridge opening and our iron sails did its best to reach the bridge at full hour.

On both sides of the bridge a few boats run in circles and we immediately knew that we had arrived on time. I had put out a couple of fenders and prepared a line for mooring at waiting pontoon but the bridge opened and we drove straight through. There were no waves in the canal and I took a time to replace the Danish courtesy flag with Swedish. The canal trip was so short that just as I was putting the fenders away we were on southern Baltic Sea and in big waves. We were immediately hit by a big wave and the mooring line on our cockpit table made a leap to the water. I was rather annoyed because this was one of my favourite lines and now it is at the bottom of the sea. Stupidity is quickly punished in swinging boat if you leave something carelessly lying.
Falsterbo bridge is behind, we are back on the Baltic Sea
There is a guest harbour at the northern end of the Falsterbo canal. On southern end there are only a few small waiting pontoons. We however continued sailing towards Gislövsläge.

The village of Gislövs is located on the east side of the Trelleborg city. Just as we passed the harbour of Trelleborg a passanger ferry from Poland was arriving. Andrus checked from AIS that we'll pass the ship from stern by a good margin. To our surprise the ship did not enter the harbour but instead started turning toward us and away from the harbour entrance. We wondered for a moment what shall we do? The ship continued turning towards us. After a moment she stopped and started to enter into the harbour. We were very relieved and continued sailing. Next day while listening for the weather forecast on VHF a similar incident happened to a German sailboat. Then the German skipper did not let the ship go so easily. She called a ship captain on VHF and asked what are their intentions?

The sea currents bring sand into the Gislövs harbour. In the middle the depth is only 1.7 metres while at the sides of the harbour basin it is over two metres. We arrived in 13 m/s wind. The mooring is between the piles and to enter the berth we would need to go into sidewind. We recognized that this was probably not a very safe manoeuvre in this kind of wind. We moored Suwena next to the mast crane on the quay. Our reasoning was that nobody will come to use the crane in this wind.

The wind kept rising to over 14 m/s and we had to stay in Gisövsläge for two days while waiting the wind to calm down.

Bornholm Island, the Pride of Denmark 11.7. – 17.7.

  • Posted on: 28 July 2012
  • By: Eve

On Wednesday we were in a hurry to leave. We were already a few days behind our travel plans and island of Bornholm together with Poland and Germany are still ahead of us.

After the strong wind there was no wind at all and the rain poured down for the whole day during our travel to the island of Bornholm. We arrived just before the sunset and of course the harbour was full. We managed to make her fast outside the poles. However the boat was so far from the pontoon that we had to use the bow of the neighbour motorboat for going ashore. We thought that one night is no problem and the next morning we'll move her to the better spot.
Rønne on the island of Bornholm
Already in the evening we walked around and searched for wide enough berths for Suwena. Our idea was that some of the boats will leave in the morning. Well, of course the wind picked up on Thursday morning and all the boats stayed. Only our neighbour left and we moved Suwena to the last pole on the pontoon. This enabled us a direct access to the dock.

The visit to Rønne become longer than we thought because every day the weather forecast indicated new low pressures and strong winds. Every day some new brave yachtsmen arrived into the harbour but nobody left. Finally we were in the middle of the raft of four boats and everybody used Suwena's foredeck to go ashore. Everybody on our raft were very careful about their boats and our boat and the lines were adjusted according to wind as needed.
Suwena in the middle of boat raft in Rønne harbour
The guest harbour of Rønne is very well protected with breakwater. That’s why it is so peculiar that in every few hours the swell found its way into the harbour basin and all boats swinged for a some time. We suspect that the high speed ferries arriving in neighbour ferry harbour are the cause of these waves. People were adjusting lines all the time and in addition for some reason the water in the harbour stunk terribly. The wind was still blowing and everybody was just killing the time and waiting to continue the sailing.

There are several guest harbours around Bornholm island from which the harbour in Rønne is the biggest. Close to the harbour is a shopping centre with a big Kvickly supermarket and getting provisions to the boat takes only a short walk. There are more possibilities for shopping and restaurants in the old town of Rønne. The weather however was not cooperating and most of people spent a lot of time on the yachts.

At the weekend we rented a car and went to look at the island. There was also a jazz festival in Bornholm. The festival was arranged in the town of Allinge and on Saturday evening we went there by a car. We descended a steep hill into the centre of Allinge and we saw a totally different scenery compared to Rønne. Of course the Allinge and its boat harbour was very small and yachts were rafted up but the wind was on the other side of the island. People were walking relaxed and there was a good summer feeling. At the same time in Rønne it was chilly and people were worried about their boats in gale force winds.

In Allinge we enjoyed a good dinner and visited jazz tent to listen the music. Afterwards we went for a walk on small streets winding up and down. Suddenly we heard the Danish pop song and voices of happy people chatting. We walked towards the sound and found ourselves in the middle of summer concert with a local band performing and the crowd singing along all songs. Everybody seemed to know the lyrics so he must be quite a popular artist. The band with Rasmus Nøhr as lead singer was really good and we joined the party even if we did not understand any of the words.
Rasmus Nøhr on stage in Allinge
The Sunday was spend by going around the island by a car and we had a great day. We chose to go clockwise following the shore. The total length of the island tour was 140 kilometres. Our first stop was the ruins of Hammershus fortress. The place was packed with tourists as the sun was shining again and everybody was on a move despite that the wind was still in near gale forces. The ruins of Hammershus fortress are located on the north side of the island close to Allinge.
Ruins of Hammershus in Bornholm
Andrus admires the view of Bornholm
We also checked out the Allinge in daylight and it still looked very nice like during the previous evening.
Guest harbour of Allinge in Bornholm
From Allinge we continued to the town of Gudhjem where the streets also descend into the shore like in Allinge. There are fish smokehouses in most of the places on the north and east coast and in Gudhjem we went to see if we should have a lunch in one. However we wanted to look around and finally sat down on a lunch buffet restaurant that had already a load of customers. It is always a good sign if the restaurant has many patrons before especially if there are locals. We stuffed ourselves full with delicious herring, fish and turkey. The dessert crowned the menu. There was a yummy apple pie topped with soft ice cream. In addition the price was very reasonable for a Danish restaurant.
Gudhjem in Bornholm
Gudhjem in Bornholm
The next stop was a small town of Svaneke. In there we found small shops making chocolate and licorice. Also the Bornholm's brewery is located in Svaneke. Svaneke is credited for being an artistic and we could notice this from several boutiques selling the work of local craftsmen.
Svaneke in Bornholm
Shopping in Svaneke's brewery in Bornholm
The road trip continued towards Nexø and suddenly we saw a fully functional windmill in Aarsdale. The café next to the mill sold some crafts from Bornholm but we were more interested about the insides of the windmill that was built in 1877. It was the first time for both of us to be inside of the working windmill and to explore how it works. It was great to climb up to the second and third floor by hearing the sounds of all the shafts and belts were creating while spinning. In all floors the wooden gearboxes were rotating at high speed as the mill's blades were turning in wind. The windmill will start working at wind speed of three metres per second but during this windy day everything was running at full speed with even the floors shaking in the tune of the mill's machinery.
Eve at windmill of Aarsdale in Bornholm
Gearbox of Aarsdale's windmill
Nexø is located on the other side of Bornholm from Rønne. It seems to have more industry compared to the rest of the island. Also the commercial harbour is located in Nexø. It was already a late afternoon and we just quickly drove through the town. We still wanted to see the vast beaches on the southern side of Bornholm. Dueodde sand beaches were dazzling. No wonder that at some time the fine sand from Dueodde have been used to make hourglasses.
The beach of Dueodden on the southern coast of Bornholm
During our next visit in Bornholm we'll definitely not go to the harbour of Rønne but instead we'll choose one of the idyllic harbours on northern and eastern side like Allinge, Gudhjem or Svaneke. All of them are cozy small places. On Baltic Sea the prevailing winds are from south-west and we got our share of it. Because these places are on the lee side of the island they are better protected from the wind compared to Rønne. In addition the water in Rønne harbour is very dirty and the bad smell was everywhere from morning to evening.

On Tuesday it looked like a regatta start as everybody was going to the sea after several windy and rainy days. We also cast off the lines and sailed towards Poland.

Kołobrzeg, the Sunshine Coast of Poland 17.7. – 18.7.

  • Posted on: 2 August 2012
  • By: Eve

It was great to cast off the lines in Bornholm and turn Suwena's bow again towards a new country, Poland. Our journey in Denmark lasted five days longer than planned due to high winds and we were eager to continue at first possibility.

The wind was 9 m/s from the west and this meant that we were broad reaching on starboard tack the whole way until Kołobrzeg. The waves were almost three metres tall and the sails were pulling nicely. The passage was uneventful. Total length of the leg was 64 nautical miles.

A few miles before the harbour we could see clouds gathering on a western horizon and soon they were closing in around us. We had still two miles to go and just as we entered harbour the clouds were on top of us. We got fully soaked in rain while dropping the sails. Of course my sailing boots were nicely stored in a locker down below and now I was preparing mooring lines and fenders in flats full of water. After she was tied up to the quay of Kołobrzeg the rain was over and the sun was shining again.
Suwena in Poland at Kołobrzeg marina
As we entered the marina of Kołobrzeg a friendly harbourmaster greeted us and pointed to a free berth. This was the first time on this summer when the harbourmaster helped to find a berth for Suwena. He had made a good estimation about the size of Suwena because there was about half a metre space on both sides of Suwena during the final 90 degree turn towards the berth alongside. The berth was ideal for our yacht in the middle of the harbour. The harbourmaster was extremely helpful, he even helped Andrus to unroll the shorepower cord.
Kołobrzeg marina
The harbour fee also dropped to new readings, because in Kołobrzeg we paid only 40 zlotis or about 10 euros per night. Electricity costs 5 zlotis per token of 5kWh. In Sweden the harbour fees were 18 to 50 euros and Danish asked for 28 to 37 euros per night. The Göta canal was in its own league with an average price of 66.5 euros per night. Of course the Göta canal fee also includes the lockcage and up to five nights in each of the guest harbours along the canal with all services. The price level in Poland was also otherwise much cheaper. It was a little like being in Spain before the euro money.

Marina of Kołobrzeg had received new docks and the overall atmosphere was nice. In the harbour is also a marine chandlery and making repairs is no problem.

During the arrival we heard a live music from the fortress ruins on the other side of the harbour. Attracted by the music we strolled towards it with stomachs rumbling for a food. In the restaurant we got something to replenish our energy levels and a first taste of Polish beer. The songs were well performed and some dance moves helped to digest the food as well.

On Wednesday we wandered around Kołobrzeg. We climbed to the lighthouse, walked Zeebrugge and of course enjoyed the city mood. Kołobrzeg is a beach holiday resort town favoured by Polish themselves. A long walking street by the beach was crowded with people. We were totally stumped about how relaxed and pleasant town we found in Poland.
Lighthouse of Kołobrzeg
Sand beach of Kołobrzeg
Despite of strong wind people were still sunbathing behind the shelters of fabric wind barriers that were made fast between sticks in sand. A long beach road was full of restaurants and in every restaurant we examined had on the menu at least four kinds of different fish. At last we are in area of seafood on the Baltic Sea. One of our favour fishes is a halibut and it was served in several restaurants. Take no guess what we had this evening for a dinner.
Restaurants on Kołobrzeg beach road
Ice cream and waffles in Kołobrzeg
The Polish hospitality is striking. People are so friendly and obliging. One good example was in one of the bistros next to town hall. We asked if we could use their toilet and the girl answered with a smile "Of course but it will cost two zloti". Then she run to check the toilet, got more toilet paper and told us "Please...". Our caffeine levels were dropping and we decided to have an espresso in the same restaurant as well. As we sat to the table she run to us, returned the toilet payment and brought our coffee.
Town hall of Kołobrzeg in Poland
Market of Kołobrzeg
Overall we liked Kołobrzeg. Instead of Denmark we should have stayed in Poland much longer. If we are doing the trip again we would plan at least one more week for Poland. And we passed so many places on Polish coast, visiting only Kołobrzeg and Świnoujście.

The Poland surprised us totally and we can recommend it for both boaters and landlubbers as well. It is an unbelievable discovery at the southern shores of our own waters at the Baltic Sea.

Świnoujście, Poland 19.7. – 22.7.

  • Posted on: 7 August 2012
  • By: Eve

The trip from Kołobrzeg to Świnoujście is 50 nautical miles. Weather forecast predicted force 3 to 4 from south-west which means an offshore wind. Also the swell from the blow on previous day was getting smaller. The wind force was as predicted but its direction was from west. This meant no sailing, instead we were going to be pushing against wind and waves.

After the wind speed increased to 11 m/s and waves became steeper with the height of up to two meters and then the automatic flushing of Suwena's foredeck began. The bow dived from one wave to another and some of the water sprayed until the cockpit. The foredeck was full of water most of the time. We were again glad to have an inside helmstation to keep us dry and comfortable. We were also happy that all our cupboards are with doors and our stuff stayed inside cabinets instead of flying around the boat.
Suwena's deck filled with water on Polish coast
At the same time with Suwena also a German yacht left Kołobrzeg towards Świnoujście. We were most of the time at about one mile distance from each other. The German yacht was a little smaller than Suwena and it looked like they dived into each and every wave. For the final part of journey waves became even more steep and they had to tack even they were motoring. S/Y Alva also had an AIS transmitter and we followed their progress next to Suwena. At one time we got worried because their boat disappeared from the AIS and Andrus could not see them immediately with binoculars. After a moment the familiar triangle popped back to the display of a chartplotter.

After a day of bouncing it was good to tie her up in the guest harbour of Świnoujście. In the harbour we noticed that we did not escape the day's waves without damages to Suwena. The first was our own mistake of leaving the forecabin hatch ventilator slightly open and it leaked some water to the forecabin mattresses. I guess we also have to experience the wet mattresses but fortunately the amount of water was small.
Weather forecast on display in Świnoujście marina
The biggest problem was a loose rubber fender of Suwena's hull on a starboard side. The rubber fender was hanging at a length of about one metre and looked quite stretched. This damage needed fixing before we could continue forward.
Rubber fender of Suwena after steep waves
There was also some water ingress at the mast foot where wires pass-through dorade box into the ceiling. For drying up Andrus opened the internal hatch on the ceiling that is used to access the wire connectors. We also noted to ourselves that we should add some additional sealing to this dorade box. In Świnoujście Andrus also noted that "Now we've become a real sailors because we start fixing the boat after arriving in the harbour".
Suwena's deck
The pontoons in Świnoujście marina were just renewed and there was space for hundreds of boats. The great thing was also that new mooring fingers were made in different lengths. For once we found a finger for Suwena where its length did not end at the mid boat. Also the Polish berth design was excellent because the fingers had integrated rubber fender around its full perimeter. The rubber was white and did not leave any marks on the yachts. Thanks to whoever designed these pontoons.
Suwena in Świnoujście guest harbour
In Świnoujście we did not use so much time to explore the city. Instead we used a few beautiful days for boat maintenance and washing laundry. After the hard day's work we just enjoyed being on a boat.
Crew for charter boats waiting in Świnoujście marina in Poland
On Saturday evening a local yacht club arranged a barbecue party for a regatta participants. Two different bands played live music and the stakes were hot in a grill. We enjoyed the first shashlik of this summer and recalled memories from our sailing to Baltic states during the previous year. Shashlik seems to be the big barbecue hit in all Eastern European countries we've visited.
Barbecue party of regatta in Świnoujście marina in Poland
We also spent a few nice evenings together with the fellow sailors from a very wet sea voyage on Thursday. We had a plenty to talk and exchanged many boating experiences both ways. Greetings to Manfred and Gigi.

Suwena was serviced again into sea readiness. The rubber fender was put in place and sea water was dried. Now she was ready for a new country as we left on Sunday towards Germany and the island of Rügen.

Seedorf, Rügen 22.7. – 24.7.

  • Posted on: 16 August 2012
  • By: Eve

The wind was again not cooperating and the blow was dead on the nose. That meant we had to use the iron genny to travel from Poland to the island of Rügen in Germany. Originally our aim was to stop in Lauterbach. The harbour of Lauterbach is a popular boating destination because a town of Putbus is located just a few kilometres further inland. The biggest attraction in Putbus are the magnificent royal living quarters and gardens of Prince Wilhelm from the beginning of 19th century. Putbus is one of the most popular destinations in Rügen and we had it in our itinerary as well.
Building at sea on the southern side of Rügen island
Coastal view of Rügen island
However in Bornholm we received a guidebook presenting sailing opportunities on Southern Baltic Sea. The book featured several harbours on the Rügen island. From this guide Andrus spotted a harbour in the village of Seedorf. During the summer we have been spending time in many big tourist places and now we had a feeling it was time to get closer to local life and smaller places. So the plan was altered and the next destination was Seedorf instead of Lauterbach.
Seedorf from the sea
The shoreline of Rügen is surprisingly shapeless with harbours and anchorages in many coves of the island. As we approached Seedorf there were several yachts anchored outside and for a moment we thought about spending the first night on the hook enjoying the tranquillity of the nature as well.

There are four harbours in Seedorf. We moored in the first one on the right hand side. There is a short walking distance to the village centre from both harbours on the eastern side and they looked nicer compared to the docks on the western shore. Also restaurants are close to the harbours on the eastern side and the sunset can be enjoyed during the dinner time on several terraces.
Suwena in Seedorf in Germany
Restaurant Drei Linden on the waterfront of Seedorf
After making her fast it was time to pay the harbour fee and both harbourmaster and his wife welcomed us warmly. To our surprise they told that we were the first Finnish boat ever in their harbour. Too bad that we were not able to satisfy their request to lend a Finnish flag into the flagpole of the harbour. Just a few days before we had raised our spare Finnish flag to the mizzen mast because the old one had been damaged by the wind. I immediately added a note into the shopping list of next winter to purchase several Finnish flags. At the same time I plan to reinforce all our flags with additional edging. We got this tip from our friend Iris. She told that the flag on S/Y Sea Iris stayed in good condition throughout the year long voyage to Canary islands and back to Finland, all thanks to a little additional work.

In addition to us, in the harbour were one Swedish and one Danish yacht and all the rest were German boats. It was funny that on Tuesday another Finnish yacht, S/Y Sirius arrived into the harbour and it was also a Nauticat.

Rügen is a little bit similar to the lake areas of Finland. It has green fields and a lot of forest. No wonder that Rügen is a popular bicycling and hiking destination. The routes crossed up and down in the middle of beautiful nature of Rügen. We also received a separate map with routes marked in different colours depending on their length and height difference. Bikers were passing us all day from morning to evening.
Landscape of Rügen
Eve in Seedorf in Germany
We also tried to go biking. Suwena's berth was in the end of the dock and our bow was a little away from the pontoon. To bring out our own tandem would be difficult. Harbour master tried to reserve a rental bike for us but unfortunately all tandems were rented out.

On Monday we went to explore the town of Sellin. It took only 20 minutes on a small local bus to reach the city. There are several bus routes around Rügen and it looked like both locals and tourists used them. Sellin is a paradise of villas. The luxurious villas are located around the centre of Sellin. Most of them are nowadays fully restored and used as hotels and restaurants. Of course we also wanted to see one of the most popular attractions of Rügen, the sea bridge that locals call seebrücke. In the middle of the sea bridge was a restaurant pavilion and in the end of the pier was a diving gondola for exploring the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Tauchgondol is a round gondola that descents four metres to the bottom of the sea. The idea is to look at the Baltic sea life through big windows. The cage made huge noise and there were no fish near the gondola. In addition almost half of the time the windows were covered and a film presenting sea life of the Baltic Sea was shown. Well, I think we can look at films on a couch at home. And we did not see a single fish, the gondola was a total rip-off.
Sea bridge called Seebrücke on Rügen island
Sand beach of Sellin
Luxorious villas on the main street of Sellin
Luxorious villas on the main street of Sellin
On a trip to Seedorf we learned again a another lesson about travelling on a boat. Before leaving to sea we wanted to fill our fresh water tanks in Poland. However the hose was too short to reach our chosen berth. We pondered, shall we move Suwena to another berth because the water tank was completely empty or should we sail to Germany as there is for sure the water available over there as well. Fortunately we moved the boat and filled her 620 litre tank to the brim. In Seedorf the water was available but the cost was 50 cents per 60 litres. While cruising with a boat it is best to make all possible maintenance immediately when possible. In the next harbour the situation might be very different.

Overall the visit to Seedorf was a success. Seedorf is a cosy quiet village. Especially as there was a first heat wave during this summer. Time was flying a way too fast sunbathing and enjoying life.

Stralsund, Rügen 25.7. – 27.7.

  • Posted on: 23 August 2012
  • By: Eve

This year's summer has been rather cold and the first real heat wave arrived on the last week of July. We enjoyed the sun and cozy Seedorf but the clock was ticking and it was time to move on.

Getting on the way was again pleasant because we had a perfect sailing weather. Temperature was 27 degrees and wind was from the stern. We quickly brought the gennaker bag to the foredeck and prepared the gennaker snuffer. Soon the gennaker was flying and Suwena sailed proudly towards Stralsund.
Eve is preparing gennaker sheets
The only road connection to island of Rügen is in the city of Stralsund where two bridges cross the strait of Strelasund. The newer Rügen bridge or Rügenbrücke is a 40 metres tall highway bridge. The older Ziegelgraben is a bascule bridge that needs to be opened. In July the opening times were at 8.20, 12.20, 17.20 and 21.30. The day was beautiful and we were in no hurry, from the beginning our aim was to reach the five o'clock bridge opening.

The gennaker was up proudly the whole way through the sea area on the southern side of Rügen. As we aproached the Strelasund strait on the western side of the island we were pondering if there would be enough wind angle in the strait for the gennaker sailing. After turn the apparent wind angle was 90 degrees and our gennaker was all fine after trimming. The strait is narrow. Its width at narrowest is only half a nautical mile and it follows the shore of Rügen towards Stralsund and north. We were in no hurry because we were a few hours ahead of scheduled bridge opening. To slow us down we dropped the gennaker and continued under bare poles. Our speed was half a knot and the current pushed us forward another knot. In total that made us move forward with the speed over ground of one and a half knot.

German sailors have warned us that in Germany the police really follow, do boaters use the day shapes. We were laughing when we joked about what kind of a day shape should we raise now because we were moving forward in the strait without engine and without sails. Usually sailing like this happens in heavy weather when even the storm jib is too much sail area for stormy conditions. We however were floating in the middle of a beautiful summer day. A half knot speed through the water was enough to keep the boat steerable. Two and half miles before the bridge we saw an attractive bight that already had several boats anchoring out and the nearby beach was full of sunbathers. We joined them and lowered the anchor as well. For the first time ever we were also raising the anchor ball into the spreader of Suwena.
Anchor ball was raised up for the first time in Germany
Sea temperature was 21 degrees and I took the opportunity to go swimming around Suwena. We quickly reached the decision that the bridge will open tomorrow as well and we will spend the rest of the day relaxing in a place called Strelasund Mittlerer. Before the sunset all other boats weighed their anchors and also the last swimmers from the beach went home. The whole bight was only for two of us – how great is that?

On Thursday we aimed for a midday bridge opening. At the bridge was quite a pack of boats waiting for the opening time. It was like being on a motorway. Several boats were going in parallel and bows were almost touching sterns while motoring in the queue through the open bridge. On both sides of the bridge were about 30 yachts waiting for passage. We and some other drove half a mile into the harbour of Stralsund city. Rest of the pack started raising the sails to continue further north. The overall it was like at the start of the sailing competition. The bridge over Strelasund is the only passageway on the western side of the island when travelling between west and southern side of Rügen. No wonder that the boats are swarming around the bridge four times every day.
Boats are waiting for opening of Ziegelgraben bridge
Suwena on a way to Stralsund
There are at least four harbours in Stralsund on both sides of the strait. We and other visitors stayed at Stralsund city harbour. The marina is big and the berths are marked by boat lengths in metres. We noticed that the harbourmaster really enforced the markings. From our pontoon one boat had to change place because it was made fast into too long berth. This is actually quite a good because rafting up is always more easier if both boats are at about same size.

We spent Thursday evening strolling on streets and alleys of Stralsund city. There were small boutiques and a few department stores for shopping. For more historic minded visitors hanseatic city of Stralsund also has a beautiful Gothic church. Delicious smells were floating out from numerous restaurants and terraces were full of people enjoying the summer. Special feature in the city are smokery boats in the harbour. The fresh fish catched during the night is smoked and sold freshly at the piers.
Fresh smoked fish are sold directly from smokery boat in Stralsund
Overall Rügen felt like a good sailing destination. The waters of the island are best for a week or two sailing around the island by making short day hops from one bight to another. The Strelasund and the sea south from Rügen are also protected from the waves of Southern Baltic Sea. This have been noticed by numerous charter companies who rent the boats for a week at a time.

On Friday we continued from Stralsund towards Heiligenhafen. Strelasund continues norths for another 10 miles before we were able to turn west on the Baltic Sea. There are several bird sanctuaries on Rügen shore and one of them was immediately after strait on the Baltic shore. It is not allowed to enter these areas by boat and we witnessed first handed that the police really enforces this. Behind us was a small motorboat full of youngsters that turned towards the coast in protected area. At once the coastguard vessel near by lowered dinghy and went full speed to intervene. Luckily Andrus had planned our route outside the protection area and we could continue without being stopped by policeman.

After midday the wind started to pick up and we changed purring of Perkins into the silence of gennaker for the rest of the journey to Heiligenhafen.