Has a catchy ring to it, doesn’t it? If there are no more mines left, I wonder why they annotate it on the chart. Maybe just in case?
In any case we decide to go right through; what’s the worst that could happen?
It seems the Russians mined large swaths of the Baltic and what wasn’t mined was closely watched; well, as closely watched as can be with conscripted soldiers living on vodka and potatoes.
But all good things must come to an end and with the fall of the Soviet Union, the Baltic Republics were allowed to have their own destiny again and the rest of us can now enjoy that benefit.
Sadly, we did not go to Lithuania as it required a large detour around a current mine field. Well, it isn’t listed on the charts as a mine field, but then I doubt the hundreds of mine fields presently annotated were so listed prior to the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Oh yes, after the Russians moved Poland west by a few hundred kilometers, they took a chunk for themselves, Königsberg, threw all the Germans out, the lucky ones that is, and renamed it Kaliningrad, because the name Stalingrad was already taken.
So, during the last two weeks, we have been exploring country never before visited by me at least. First Poland and now Latvia, Letland in Dutch, Land of the Lets.
Poland and now Latvia have been a wonderful experience, the people, the food, and the warmth showed to us by virtually everyone. Dauntless probably had her picture taken a thousand times in Gdansk. I wish she looked better, Dauntless I’m referring to, not Gdansk, but we’ve already travelled more than 2,000 miles since leaving Ireland, so who has the energy to wash and wax?
I did regret not speaking Polish. Had we stayed another week, we would have probably gone viral. People would ask how long we are staying docked against the wall in downtown Gdansk, because they wanted to bring the family for a photo session the next time.
Wonderful people who also make the most wondrous smoked meats and fishes.
Compared to Western Europe, the prices is Poland, not in the Euro zone and still using the Zloty, were good, maybe 30% cheaper than in Germany.
Latvia on the other hand is in the Euro zone and prices are still amazingly low. So low in fact, that we felt compelled to find out why.
In talking with the marina “bosman,” in Liepaja, he explained that Latvia prepared for the change to the Euro in a very methodical manner. They used strict conversion tables, unlike in most places, like Italy, which saw a doubling of many prices within the first year of conversion, but no doubling of wages, pensions and salaries.
We ended up spending only two nights. Having seen the outdoor and indoor market in the small city of Liepaja, the market in the capital, Riga, was literally 10 times the size. We have never seen so many berries, blue, black, red, etc. in my life. Clearly, people would buy large quantiles to preserve for the coming winter.
The harbor itself was a mix of old and new, with modern bridges, next to Soviet style cranes and trains. I’ll try to upload some pictures.
Today, our adventure in Estonia begins. We had a windy passage yesterday and it looks like the wind will continue for the foreseeable future, maybe forever.
Dauntless is doing well, though I was a bit shocked last night as I gazed at all the scrapes, scratches and gouges I’ve put on her hull in the last two months.
I’ve also used far more fuel than anticipated, 50% more. The actual fuel consumption has been good, the problem is the distances I had calculated. It’s been 60 days since leaving Ireland. What I had not anticipated was that so many harbors and docking places would take a significant amount of time, 30 minutes to an hour to get in and then the same going out.
Therefore, 25 to 30 stops times 2 extra hours for each, is 60 additional hours of fuel consumption, about 90 gallons, at 1.4 gal.hr, which is our average so far in 415 hours so far.
Coming up, Estonia, Estland in Dutch, land in the east.