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Monday, 17 September 2018

Sandhamn - Burgstaaken, Germany (17 September 2018)

Although misty initialĺy, Tuesday 4 September turned into another lovely sunny day. We rose early and slipped our mooring at 0740. We headed S to the foot of this part of the E coast and after about 90 minutes turned on to a W course sailing most of the 40nm to the island of Hano. We visited this small island last year and spent some time walking round it. By the time we approached the harbour the wind had gone giving a very still scene.
Approaching the harbour
The unspoilt and natural harbour itself also looked great.
Small fishing boats in the harbour
We had a walk around and visited the small quaint museum of island life. It was a quiet afternoon and evening, now that there are no holidaymakers visiting the island.
Our next journey was just 20nm W to the town of Ahus.
Not the prettiest approach to a town!
Ahus has a busy dock area, sand and grain being unloaded from a Dutch and  another coaster as we entered the river that runs through the town.
Main riverbank, the Absolut distillery complex in the distance
The town's main claim to fame is that it is the home of the Absolut Vodka distillery, now a brand owned by Pernod Rikard.
These trailers seem to take product between the various sites
Sculpture outside Absolut HQ in town centre
The town centre had some nice traditional buildings as well as modern additions. There were quite a few restaurants but also no fewer than four Pizzaeras within about 400 metres!
Historic house, rebuilt in 18th century

Attractive town centre street
Next morning we sailed 34nm S, on what was an overcast day, to the fishing village of Skillinge. There were signs that industry had been lost here but there still seemed to be plenty of housing.
Main road with harbour in background 
We had been noticing numerous general election posters (in foreground) in many places, also kiosks in town centres with party canvassers. The evening that we were in Skillinge the Centrist Party bus arrived. They certainly take canvassing seriously, perhaps because it's proportional representation, so there are many parties and no safe seats only ever won by the same party.
Attractive old house
Having walked along the coast we noticed what appeared to be ancient trees on the shore.
Ancient trees submerged under the sea?
As elsewhere we saw birds, particularly geese, beginning to head S as the seasons change.
The geese are heading for the pasture!
There was quite a lot of new homes but we also noticed this windmill.
Converted windmill
Friday morning was also overcast. We had planned a longer passage, to Gistovs Lage, on the SW corner of the S coast. We had a F4 E wind, later becoming SE and we were able to sail for 8.5 hours and covered 46nm. It was a challenge at times as the wind tended to be right behind us, never the easiest sailing. Arriving at Gistovs Lage just before 5 o'clock, we found an attractive harbour with history.
Local fishing fleet alongside

Historical boats afloat by the small museum
One reason for stopping here was to visit the commercial and ferry port of Trelleborg, just a couple of miles away.
During the evening the wind increased and by the next morning our decision to stay looked good.
Blustery morning view towards Trelleborg
Trelleborg is a major ferry port with regular sailings to Sassnitz, Rostock and Travelmunde in Germany. Apparently it was at its most prosperous in the Middle Ages when there was much trade with Germany. The town has some older buildings but there must have been many additions and changes in the twentieth century. Even so the town centre with wide cobbled streets is attractive and the Commune has also sited sculptures and maintained an attractive town centre garden.
Sculptures in the garden

Chickens roaming free (peacocks too)

Sculpture with water feature
During the morning we saw the reconstruction of the Viking from around 980AD, then in the afternoon we visited the small maritime museum. It focused on Trelleborg's trade through the ferry port and activities in the six fishing ports on the surrounding coast including Gistovs Lage.
The museum typical of older buildings

Of particular note was some early 35mm film, perhaps from the 1950's or 1960's showing the fishermen hauling huge quantities of fish in their nets; then also seeing them shovelling back sizeable quantities of presumably below size fish, almost certainly dead. So like around our own coasts overfishing has largely contributed to the collapse of stocks.
Early colour photograph of Gislovs Lage harbour
That evening required decisions to be made on our route back to Fehmarn. Our aim was to be there by Friday evening to prepare for Monday's lift out. The bad news was that the wind was now forecast to come from SW or S, which was where we were heading. Also Tuesday and possibly Wednesday might be gales so "no sail" days. The original and most direct route was to go to Klintholm (40+nm) on the large Mons island in Denmark, then to Gedser on Falster (32+nm) and from there to Fehmarn (32+nm) or nearby. But this might be hard work against the wind. An alternative would be to go roughly due W to Praesto in Denmark (42nm), then following a shallow, narrow channel that we have used before to Stubbekobing on Falster (32nm) and from there to Gedser (32nm). This was therefore longer but more protected but with the disadvantage that there could be a problem with the shallow channel if there was very low pressure and water levels dropped, which the forecasts said they would. In the event we decided that the longer route might catch us storm bound for one or two days and it would be better to make progress SW.
So on a pleasant but on a grey and windy Sunday at 0640 we cast off and headed towards Klintholm in Denmark.
We had to tack to and fro across the wind and as a result the passage was longer and slower, but the sun did appear. We felt that we couldn't complain too much as we had not had to fight the wind for at least a couple of weeks; in an area where the prevailing wind is SW!
Passing the distinctive Mons Klint near Klintholm
Even so it took us nearly 10 hours to get to Klintholm covering 47nm. Of course we have been here a few times before. Although on a far corner of Mons there is an excellent Italian restaurant. In April on the way north it was midweek so closed. On Sunday evening it was open and we reserved a table. At the end of our excellent meal on what was a busy evening the friendly Danish lady owner said that they had a good summer and talked quite a lot about the challenges of running the restaurant in what is really a village location.
The weather forecast was still focusing on strong winds on Tuesday and possibly into Wednesday morning. So with some regret, for we like Klintholm, we had another early start for Gedser. The pattern repeated itself and despite a forecast that suggested S to start, then SW and then W, the latter failed to materialise.
Lighthouse on the approach to Gedser
Fortunately the wind did slowly fall to F4 during the day but even so it was over 10 hours and 51nm before we reached Gedser at nearly 1700. We have also been here quite a few times. Gedser established itself at the end of the nineteenth century as a ferry port linked with Rostock in Germany. It is Denmark's most southerly location.
The former Custom House (1901), now flats
The ferry port is still busy but the town has struggled economically in the twentieth century including for example the closure of the railway line. To its credit the local authority had a five year regeneration programme with community input and support from around 2010 and that has certainly improved the town. During Tuesday the ferocity of the wind and rain increased, the former reaching 30+kn. In the early evening, with the wind around 30kn, we were treated to a kite surfing display! Young people from one of the boats in the harbour brought out their boards and initially were in front of the foreshore just a little to the S. They were being photographed by others from the boat so was this a publicity shoot? Next the kite surfers were through the harbour entrance and practising their leaps and turns around us!
Coming into the harbour
Lifting off!

The kitse surfers boat behind them

The blade made their surfing almost silent

Getting dark now
In the strong winds it was certainly spectacular as their bladed boards zipped them along.
The next day was also overcast with rain forecast together with very gusty winds. We had plenty of maintenance to do on the boat so on a gloomy day we got on with that. The weather started looking up towards the end of day and we had a beautiful sunset.
Looking like a better day tomorrow
Thursday was much better so we opted to head for Grossenbrode, just S of Fehmarn island. Just as we approached the Lifeboat crossed our bow quite quickly. But it kooked like an exercise.
German Lifeboat crosses in front of us
The wind was brisk initially so we enjoyed sailing, but it quickly diminished. This was good and bad news for it meant that when we got to Grossenbrode our first task was to get the very dry sails down and bagged up ready for the winter.
On Friday we cycled about 18km return to the seaside town of Heileganhafen, a popular seaside town which we have visited by boat more than once. There we had lunch and stocked up at the supermarket.

Enjoyed fish and chips on the edge of the harbour
We slipped our mooring around 1500 and motored just 8 miles to Burgtiefe on Fehmarn Island. This is a resort area and they have a programme of environmental improvements, currently improving the waterfront with new walkways and seating areas. This is typical in Germany, Sweden and Denmark where local authorities and government seem to be commissioning many public works thus keeping economies growing rather than having austerity programmes of cutting public spending.

New promenade area.
From our mooring there we could see Burgstaaken, where we were to be lifted out, just under a mile across the shallow sea.

Burgstaaken, with its prominant mills
For the next couple of days we prepared the boat and on Monday went less than a mile to Burgstaaken where on a warm morning we were lifted out.

Lift out at the end of a great season
Since late April we had sailed 1336 nm and had been on board for 11 weeks over three legs. Andrea and I agreed that our 10 highlights of new places were (S to N): Christianso (Dennark); then in Sweden Utklippan; Kristianopel; Kalmar; Figeholm; Visby; Hasko; Trosa; Vaxholm; and Sandhamn/Lokholmen. Actually in an interesting area and a great yesr for weather we could hsve picked many more places. Lets hope for good sailing weather again next year.

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