GEDSER TO FEHMARN (Germany) – 32 miles

Day 85 Wednesday, 29th August 2018

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The ferry leaving Gedser and German boats following the channel

Hooray!  Sailed all the way between Gedser and Fehmarn.  The wind is coming from the east and south east, so we can sail on a beam reach.  We see ships going to the north of the island of Fehmarn towards the Kiel Canal and many windfarms off the Danish island of Lolland.  However, we’re in racing mode and most satisfyingly, we beat the Germans! 

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The skipper very happy to have beaten the Germans – Fehmarn lighthouse in the background

We goosewing at the end as we enter the Fehmarn Sund.  The distinctive three tower blocks tell us that we’re nearly there.  There are lots of kitesurfers to our left as we enter the channel.

The combined road and rail bridge connecting the island to the mainland is only 22 metres high, and the channel from the east is only 5m deep which is why the big ships have to go round the top.  They’re going to build a tunnel to the island of Langeland in Denmark, connecting the island of Fehmarn to Denmark, but to date there’s only a ferry. 

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Entering the channel into our final destination this year

We’re a bit disappointed by the marina in Burgstaaken.  The ‘pontoon’ moorings we anticipated are  only wooden beams about 9” wide.  Fortunately, someone comes to take our ropes and even ventures out onto the ‘pontoon’ to loop the stern line round a cleat.  It’s a long climb down onto the main pontoon.   The Harbour master doesn’t speak English – not like the Danes and Swedes we’ve got used to – and says we’re in a short berth.  We’re not going to change!  He says it’s his job to operate the crane for the lift-out.  And what’s more he doesn’t do cards!  We have to pay in actual Euros.  We’ve been paying for everything in Denmark and Sweden by card.  The facilities are small – two toilets and two showers in a portacabin – and there’s now a washing machine but no drier.  I was hoping to do a big wash here.  Just to have to hang out our washing on the guard rails – but not tomorrow, as the forecast is rain all day.  Burg, the capital of Fehmarn, is a holiday town with some old houses.

Well – we’re here in Fehmarn. The end of our trip, two days earlier than planned because of the dire weather forecasts. 

We’ve done 1500 miles and visited 46 new ports this summer – and managed to try out all sorts of different moorings!  We both think the major highlight has been for all our family to come out to Stockholm and stay at Tyreso.  We loved taking them out on the boat from our beautiful moorings at Café Notholmen. 

Other highlights were Uto, the anchorage in Harstina, Visby on Gotland, and seeing the sights in Karlskrona and Kalmar in Sweden.  We really appreciated having Hilary Thorpe on board in Denmark:  the magical island of Aero and the white cliffs at Rodvig.  And Hilary diving to look at the missing propeller in Dragor!  And of course, we loved having Jill and Denis on board from Amsterdam to Leeuwarden, where we met up with our very hospitable friends, Eric and Angie, from Whitby.  

We’ve made lots of friends on this trip too: Bob and Gillian on ‘Morning Star’, Andy and Pauline on ‘Odile’, Richard and Linda on ‘Seahorse of the Solent’, Kersten and Dorthe on ‘Marianne’ and lastly Max and Lynnie on ‘Juanona’,  and Nick Hill on ‘Prospero’ – who we hope to see next year on the 2019 Baltic rally.

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Three swallows on the genoa sheet – going home for the winter like us!

So it’s goodbye for this year.  We’ll be flying home on Tuesday, 4th September, having been lifted out on Monday morning.  Plenty of jobs to do over the next few days, so I’m going to sign off today.

Thank you all so much for reading this year’s Blog.  Next year we’re hoping to visit more of Germany, Poland, the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and Finland, with a side trip to St. Petersburg.  Watch this space!

 

 

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KLINTHOLM TO GEDSER – 37 miles

Day 84  Tuesday, 28th August 2018

The sea still has a good swell after yesterday’s high winds.  Most of the boats (9 out of 10 are German, heading home) have gone, including ‘Seahorse’ but not Nick’s ‘Prospero’ or the Americans on ‘Juanona’.  They are going for a walk to the Geocenter towards Mons Klint (the cliffs).

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Mons Klint – reminds us of Flamborough or even Dover

  We don’t leave until 11 am – hoping the swell has calmed down a little, and arrive at 6.30 pm.  We have to motor-sail all the way as the wind is in the west up to 20 knots, higher than forecast.  We decide to go off course to reduce the pounding from the waves and then have to tack to get back to our rumbline.  It’s a milder version of Sunday….. say no more ….

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Looking back at Klintholm = the lovely hills behind the cliffs

We don’t leave the marina in Gedser, only to buy a ticket for the night from the machine and a card to get access to the toilets.  Going to have to move again tomorrow as the wind is going to be up on Thursday and Friday, according to the forecast.

We eat on board – bacon, eggs, tomatoes and baked beans – a comfortingly familiar meal!

KLINTHOLM

Day 83  Monday, 27th August 2018

Woken in the night by the sound of the towels straining on the guard rails.  It’s 4 am and the wind has become a ferocious 25 knots which lasts all day.

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The sea just beyond the marina

I blogged for the last three days after we’ve had showers and a late breakfast.  Have a strop and march off the boat at lunchtime – all to do with yesterday’s Hartlepool moment.  I always flee rather than fight!  Meet Richard and Linda in the shop and catch up with them so I have news to tell Malcolm when I return to the boat, and he’d come looking for me.  Apologies all round.

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Even the seagulls aren’t going anywhere today

We are invited for a drink on an American boat, ‘Juanona’, at 5 pm, with Richard and Linda from ‘Seahorse’ and Nick Hill from ‘Prospero’ – all members of the Cruising Association. 

The Americans, Max Fletcher and Lynnie Bruce, have been overwintering in Ipswich Haven Marina for two seasons.  They’ve enjoyed travelling round Britain in the winters and have visited Whitby and loved the North York Moors.  They are liveaboards and have made the voyage over from Maine, their home, to the Azores, in 2014.  They write a blog, which is very good indeed – but they are professional writers for sailing magazines!

We all stayed a long time, more than 3 hours, as the conversation was so interesting and stimulating – ranging from British history, anchorages in Sweden and Denmark, Richard’s army service in Germany before the Berlin Wall came down, the Cold War,  and Nick’s organisation of the CA rallies for the Baltic section.  Next year the rally will be organised for the Baltic coast of Germany and Poland, so we might join in.

 

 

 

GISLOVS LAGE (SWEDEN) TO KLINTHOLM (DENMARK) – 42 miles

Day 82 Sunday, 25th August 2018

A relentless sea greeted us when we crossed from Sweden to Denmark.  The waves are much bigger than the Danish Weather Forecast said it would be, so I’m glad I made the sandwiches before we left port.  We motor-sailed with both sails reefed, beating to windward.  With the strong winds (gusting up to 22 knots) and big seas (waves of 1.5 metres), we get pushed off course by 10 degrees and have to tack to reach our destination. 

We are regularly drenched by waves coming over the bow – our new white oily jackets do the job, although we get soaked round the neck as it’s a sunny day and we haven’t fastened the upper Velcro neck bands. 

It’s important to take the “break” in the weather to get to Klintholm, then Gedser and finally Fehmarn, our winter home, on time.  Three manageable days of travelling but the forecast is very strong winds for most days this week. 

Can’t take any photographs as I can’t stand up without hanging on with both hands.  We see a couple of large cargo ships, ferries going to and fro between Trelleborg and Rostock and Travemunde in Germany and two gas platforms on the Danish side.   

I’ve always wanted to see the cliffs at Mons Klint, similar to the ones at Rodvig but higher. 

 

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Malcolm offers to take the sail down outside the harbour but I say that I’ll do it.  A Hartlepool moment – I once said I said I would never go back to Hartlepool after a rocky experience getting the sail down.  This time it’s much worse, clinging onto the mast to put on the lazyjacks.  I can’t get any sail ties on as it’s so rough.  I’m quite terrified and shout at Malcolm as he wants to go forward to put up the Danish courtesy flag.  I said the Danes wouldn’t care in this sea – not my exact words, but you get the gist. 

We go into the fishing harbour to get the ropes and fenders on.  Richard, on ‘Seahorse of the Solent’, hails us from his pontoon.  Linda writes a blog but we haven’t heard where they’ve been since Loftahammer, to get the keel checked after they’d hit a rock.  Catch up with them tomorrow.

Then we enter a box mooring where the next door boat takes our lines.  Examine the damage down below – soaked towels in the bottom of our wardrobe and the bilge is full of water.  Think the water tanks may have overflowed as we were so heeled over for a long time. 

Malcolm has a large whisky and I have a glass of wine – we’ve earned it today!

 

GIVSLOVS LAGE

Day  81 Saturday, 24th August 2018

Went to Malmo on the bus and train via Trelleborg.  All worked perfectly and well synchronised to get us into Malmo in just over an hour.  Interesting to see the rolling wheatfields, now harvested, from the train.

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Malmo – we came here after Copenhagen, you may remember – is Sweden’s most multi-cultural city, with 150 different nationalities.  Not much left to do in our Lonely Planet guidebook – but the Form/Design Center and the Moderna Museet Malmo are highly recommended.

First to the Form/Design Center just off Lilla Torg which showcases cutting edge design and architecture.  We admire the models of futuristic architecture and then go up a floor to see the design section, where things are for sale.  I find some coasters for my friends, cards and napkins – all designed in Sweden naturally.

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The central cobbled courtyard is a remnant of the late medieval town.

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For lunch now: Victors on Lilla Torg, a small medieval square, with lots of restaurants.  We sit on the outdoor terrace under a lit patio heater and have fish and chips, again.  This time it’s plaice. Detective Inspector Anita Sundstrum had her last meal with Ewan Strachan in Lilla Torg in ‘Meet Me in Malmo’, so we feel we’ve arrived.

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Call in at ‘Gudrun Sjvoden’, a clothes shop which I used to have the catalogue delivered, and admire the bright colours of her designs but it’s quite expensive.   Everything in Sweden is expensive, but when you pay by card, even for icecreams and on the bus, you don’t get a feel for how much it really is!

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Proceed to the Moderna Museet Malmo, where we’re disappointed to find that there’s no modern masters on show, only two exhibitions.  We’d read in the guidebook of Matisse, Dali and Picasso.

The first exhibition is Kobro and Strzeninski (from Poland).  I spot a Mondrian and like how Kobro’s used the colours.  Kobra is herself on a door curtain!

 

The second exhibition is ‘Written in Light’ (Early Photography) .  I loved this portrait by Julia Margaret Cameron (1815 – 1879) which reminded me of my mother’s prize-winning self portrait when she was at Leeds College of Art during the war. 

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Like this one of a Newhaven sailor and a very relaxed portrait of a mother and child, which must have been very unusual for the time.

There’s an intriguing story about an explorer embarking to the North Pole in a balloon, called The Eagle.  A few days later the balloon crashed on the ice, and the three men were forced to continue their journey on foot.  They ended up on Svalbard where their bodies were found 30 years later, along with the camera of the expedition’s photographer, Nils Strindberg.  There’s an English book for browsing at the museum which we hope to get when we return home: Bea Uusma’s ‘The Expedition: a Love Story’, published in 2015.  Love the Shackleton story so this sounds good.

It starts raining as we approach Lilla Torg and we have to rush back to the station.  Some poor Chinese tourists are on the train to Trelleborg, instead of the train to Copenhagen, which left from the same platform.  When we get off the bus at the marina it’s thundering and lightening – at least it’s cleaned the boat, says the skipper.

GISLOVS LAGE

Day 80  Friday, 24th August 2018

A proper break day after I’d been to the only shop in the village, an awful small supermarket, and Malcolm had been for fuel.  We spoke to Orlagh to wish her Happy 13th Birthday – she’s having a swimming party this morning.

I blogged for 3 days as we’ve been travelling every day since Sandhamn.

Reading ‘Scandinavians, which my sister gave Malcolm for Christmas, and found out that Shakespeare’s play was based on a true story by Saxo in ‘Gesta Danorum’.  It tells of a King who murdered his brother and then married his former sister-in-law, and how Hamlet feigned madness to plan his revenge.  At least 3 members of Shakespeare’s own company, the Chamberlain’s Men, previously belonged to a troupe employed at Frederick II’s court at Elsinore between 1585 and 1586.  The incidental detail in Shakespeare’s play ‘Hamlet’ may well have been acquired from them.   We both so enjoyed visiting Elsinore and watching the actors bring ‘Hamlet’ to life!

In the evening I made an attempt at curry with fresh peppers, carrots and onions and a tin of beef casserole, with rice.  Not one of my best efforts.  

SIMRISHAMN TO GISLOVS LAGE (49 miles)

Day 79 Thursday 23rd August 2018

Leave at 7.30 am – along with 4 other boats – today’s forecast is for light wind but it’ll be much windier for the next three days.  And we need to be at a suitable place for hopping over to Denmark (Klintholm on the island of Mons), which is why we’re heading to Gislovs Lage (near Trelleborg) on the south Swedish coast.

Spotted this charter yacht with sunbathing bodies on the bow!

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The region of Skane, lying in the extreme south of Sweden, was part of Denmark until 1658.  Natives of Skane looks more towards Copenhagen than Stockholm, and the Oresund Bridge (The Bridge) has brought Copenhagen even closer.  Skane is adored by artists, with its waving wheatfields and gently rolling landscape, which we can see from the boat.

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Campervans at a beach
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Saw a hang-glider on the cliffs near the grain silo

 

The skipper’s been hoping to put up the cruising chute and travel in style all day, but we’re having to motorsail for all 49 miles so he’s very disappointed.  The wind is on the beam, a southerly breeze but only light.

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A very fast ferry doing 37 knots on the way from Bornholm to Ystad

In Gislovs Lage we moor in a box mooring – ages since we’ve seen one of those. It’s a very shallow marina, only 1.6 metres where we are, and quite smelly.  A German sailor comes and takes our lines – it’s a long way down to the pontoon and I don’t want to break my ankle at this stage!

Walked round to the ticket machine and have a stroll along by the fishing boats with our ‘Magnums’.  (Got to keep up the tradition of an icecream in every port!)  We talk to a hobby fisherman who’s sitting next to a real fisherman.  Another small fishing boat from the harbour caught 300 kg of cod yesterday – can’t believe you can catch cod here, but I suppose we are nearer to the North Sea.  He says that they send it to France.

Our friendly ‘hobby fisherman’ shows us these old boats.  One of the boats is called ‘Elin’, which he says is an old Swedish name.  Elin is the name of Catrin’s niece in Wales, so I thought it was a Welsh name.

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Traditional boats in the harbour at Gislovs Lage

Chill out after 3 days of travelling long distances – we’ve covered 120 miles in 3 days and are ready for a break.  Now only two more stops, Klintholm and Gedser, before we arrive at Fehmarn Island where we’re wintering the boat.  We now have a week to get there but it’s going to be very windy on most days, so we’ll have to choose carefully.

Time for a poem for our eldest grandchild, Orlagh, whose birthday is tomorrow.  She’ll be a teenager, which makes us feel very old!

Donegal (for Ellie) – now for Orlagh!

Ardent on the beach at Rossnowlagh

on the last day of summer,

you ran through the shallows

throwing off shoes, and shirt and towel

like the seasons, the city’s years,

all caught in my arms

as I ploughed on behind you, guardian still

of dry clothes, of this little heart

not quite thirteen,

breasting the waves

and calling back to me

to join you, swimming in the Atlantic

on the last day of summer.

I saw a man in the shallows

with his hands full of clothes, full of

all the years,

and his daughter going

where he knew he could not follow.

 

Robin Robertson