The Baltic–Fit the 3rd

04/6 Mon Since Groningen (never) has fuel and in the absence of the Zoutkamp HM, I was expecting to refuel at Delfzijl after a comfortable trip along the canal. Fuel at Delfzijl is available morning & evening with the HM so a quick mid-day stop & continuation was not going to be possible. Unfortunately, this HM is ‘out-of-fuel’ so it was a case of grab a trolley and walk the can to the nearest garage, fortunately not far.
05/6 Tue Overcast continues, wind slight NW. Planned to move out to Borkum. Got off the entrance there & decided to carry on to Norderney. The marina was almost empty: normally you have to fight for a place. Marina restaurant closed: “Ruhetag”, whatever that is. Walked into town, or at least as far as the 1st restaurant which happened to be a ‘Potato’ restaurant. OK, but a bit potato-ish.
06/6 Wed Helgoland (Heligoland for the ignorant) is the key to the German Bight: it’s the only place you can get into or out of at low water and you need to start at low water to get up the Elbe. Again early season and the harbour is almost empty: normally it’s full of Norwegians. Even the ‘Bonte Kuh’ cafe was closed despite its notice board saying that it’s open every day. 1 Back-street place still open with just 1 table left.
07/6 Thu Do some shopping, take the lift to the top floor for toothpaste (the island is on 2 levels with an actual lift to the top). Join the flood to Cuxhaven. Good club-house restaurant.
08/6 Fri Mis-calulated the required start-time for the run to Brunsbuttel. Stayed in, did some shopping, ate, relaxed, explored.
09/6 Sat Got stuck behind a Polish motor-boat at the re-fuelling pontoon: 1 automatic pump with a limited delivery cycle. The skipper went back to the pump at least 3 times for another dose. Arrived at Brunsbuttel just at slack water. You call 15 mins in advance to request a lock-in slot: I was told there was a 15 min wait–perfect! Some might get all the way through the NOK (Nord-Ostsee Kanal aka the Kiel canal), I have to take an overnight stop, at the NOK-end of the Eider Canal. This side canal is 1km long (to the 1st lock), about 100m wide and the water-level rises 4″~6″ when a ship goes past–estimate the tonnage of the passing vessel!
Gieselau Canal
10/6 Sun Continue to Kiel. Decide not to go into a “Kiel” marina as it’s a looooong walk into town. Friedrichsort is recommended but has no fuel.
Kiel Friedrichsort
11/6 Mon Need shops and fuel so move on to Strande which is apparently the only place with a tank station. The book says “Mehrere Restaurants und Cafés” which sounds good to me.
Kiel Strande
12/6 Tue Overcast continue, cold, wind NW 4. Wow! We are sailing! For the 1st time in 4 weeks I’ve actually got 2 sails up and no engine. Study the internet carefully as the route is overwhelmed with Militärische Sperrgebiete’s and they’re using all of it today, almost out to the Danish border. The recommended route goes a long way round but that’s better than getting shot. (The web-text says “Sie dürfen nicht befahren werden” which seems to mean “Really don’t go there”!)
13/6 Wed Sailing again. Thought about going here and then there but settled on Grömitz as not needing to much windward or leeward work. Found that the mainsail had sprung a leak and thrown a batten with a tear in the pocket. Tried stitching but the new cloth is very tough.
14/6 Thu

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