Saturday, June 6, 2009

New video posted, now heading to Lübeck

The really big news is that we’ve had good enough Internet here at Ancora Marina in Neustadt that John has been able to post his video of our Kiel Canal transit to YouTube. It’s his best yet.

We lingered in the Großenbrode Binnensee an extra night to let the weather settle down. While we were there the German federal police stopped by, asked us where we’d been and where we’re going, and checked our passports. They were very nice, and we're always relieved after we've been visited by officials because it really isn't all that clear what procedures we're supposed to be following.

Thursday we set sail for Ancora. The forecasts underestimated the wind. Instead of the predicted Beaufort 4 with gusts to 37 mph, we had steady 5 and 6 with gusts to 35 knots. We were glad that we had started out double-reefed. Sometimes, though, we got down to 5 knots, but that was just ahead of a squall, and we had several of those, including some with thunder and lightning. People on boats with tall masts hate lightning.

For the first half, it was a nice sail even with the stronger than predicted winds because we had the wind on our beam or just aft of beam. Then we were doing 7+ knots speed-over-ground and thinking that that Baltic was pretty great. When we had to turn into the wind, we didn’t think it was quite as much fun. The last part was straight into the wind, and the best we could do then was 3 knots, sometimes even less than two.

When we finally arrived at Ancora Marina, we found the guest dock with the nice side-ties that we had come here for—full. It only took two big sailboats to fill it since it really isn’t very long. In the aerial photo, it looks much longer, but more than half of what you see in that photo belongs to someone else and is fenced off so that there’s no access from it to Ancora. John got us turned around, and we went back out to the channel. There I used some very expensive minutes on my cell phone (Dutch Vodaphone in Germany) to call the marina for instructions. They said to come into the office, and they would tell us where we could dock, so we tied up at the waiting area for boats who want to refuel.

In the office we explained that we’re very bad at getting into boxes, especially in the wind, and that we would need help, a lot of help please. It was close to closing time, so they said we could stay where we were for the night and gave us directions to the grocery stores and ATM. (They do take Visa and MasterCard at the marina, but most places require cash.) We celebrated with dinner at the restaurant by the marina office where the prices are reasonable, the food is good, and the portions are enormous.

They said it was 10 minutes to the store. That must be by car. The stores are close as the crow flies, but there’s a railroad track between them and us and to cross the tracks requires a bit of a detour. The stores are good, though. We plan to provision here before we head to Denmark, but we’ll walk to the store and take a taxi back. (It’s a 20-25 minute walk.)

The marina staff has been very busy with a big boat show that’s going on here this weekend, so they let us stay both nights at the waiting area for the fuel dock. They’ve been very nice to us here, and we’re coming back to pick up our mail (and maybe another dinner out sharing one order). But later today we’re leaving for our trip to Lübeck. Even though it’s only about 22 nautical miles, it’s up a river, so we expect it to be slow and we plan to anchor out tonight.

A little visual aid thanks to Google Earth

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