Well my faith has been renewed in the human race or at least my decision making whichever is lessor.
We had an uneventful night passage from Lauwersoog in Friesland, the Netherlands to Cuxhaven Germany.
Unlike the English Channel, which really whipped my ass, the currents north of the Frisian Islands were as advertised; we got a good boost for about half the time. This allowed me to keep the rpm’s low, 1400 pretty much the entire way, and thus fuel consumption low.
With the help of the current we still averaged 6.0 knots, and that is in spite of the outgoing ebb coming up the Elbe, which kept our speed between 2.5 to 3.5 knots for last three hours.
Ivan and Bas had watches of 4 hours on, 4 off, and I pretty much dozed in the pilot house bench ready at a moment’s notice to further confuse any issue that came up with my groggy head.
When we left Lauwersoog Sunday morning, the winds we SW at 12 knots and pretty much stayed like that for our entire trip. The day became grayer, as the clouds increased during the afternoon and evening, leaving us in that murky grey world. Winds became southeasterly as a minor trough moved past us, and then stayed that way, so as we started up the Elbe estuary, the current was running with the winds, keeping the waves pretty flat.
Remembering the debacle that could have been in Oostende, Sunday afternoon, a few hours after departure, I looked hard at the numbers and realized that even with the helping current, our best ETA would be 03:00. Being further north, and June, nautical twilight would be about that time, but still too O’dark thirty for me. So we slowed even further, timing our arrival after sunrise.
Turned out a much more open, straight forward harbor than Oostende, but I was still pleased with the decision.
I am also getting excited about the Baltic.
Poor Dauntless looks like she has been through a battle, as she shows the battle damage of the over 30 locks and bridges we had to tie up to. Doesn’t sound like a lot compared to the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), but what is different is that one must tie to something, as the wait times for bridges that “open on demand” vary greatly and the “open on demand” in the Netherlands means, if you are waiting in front of the bridge, they will see you and at that point put you on the priority list, but every train, bus, bicycle and pedestrian has a higher priority and probably a few planes also. But the real issue in the waiting is the tieing up to all sorts of things at all sorts of heights and materials.
It was frustrating two days until Marinius, explained these facts of life to me during the European Krogen Rendezvous 2015. What you didn’t hear about the rendezvous? That story is still in the making.
Anyway, all this results in the poor D refuses to have any close-ups made. So pictures shall have to be from a discreet distance. I shall have to find a real gel coat master at some point. And please do not tell me how easy it is and that I should do it myself. I once painted a set of chairs; at the divorce, my wife reminded me of the drips I left. How was I to know I needed to thin the paint!
Last night, I finally decided to re-read the Baltic material I had collected from the Cruising Association meeting we had attended in London in February. Having that information reduced the anxiety I was feeling about the Nord-Ostsee Kanal (Kiel Canal).
So tomorrow we leave, three hours before high tide, go to Brunsbuttel and wait. They too have a priority order. We are on the sub-order list. Yes, Russian submarines even have a higher priority, but then the Germans will pretend they did not see them as they do not want to provoke them.
Back to the topic on hand.
I also realize that as different as many of these places are from the sea, I have spent so many hours driving around Western Europe and Germany and the Netherlands in particular, that I’m ready for new places, faces and cases.
If you wonder what a new case is, so do I, but I needed a word that rhymed.
Yes, that is my biggest worry right now!