Aug 31, 2013

Kiel Canal

N 53° 52.456', E 8° 42.350'

We didn't want to sail around Denmark, so we took a shortcut through Germany. 

When approaching Kiel there were almost too many marinas to choose from. We chose the marina in Holtenau right next to the locks that separate Kiel Canal from the Baltic sea. We were hoping to see the action in the locks, but it wasn't possible. But we did see a lot of ships passing and boats circling in the waiting area. 

There are four locks, two old ones and two new ones. Yacht usually use the old locks with smaller ships. We had been listening to VHF and watching the yachts for one and half days. There didn't seem to be any order for the boats. When it was ok to enter the lock boats just sped up and tried to fit in the lock. On Sunday it was more crowded and the slower more careful yacht didn't make it. Even though they had been in the waiting area for the longest time.

So, on Tuesday morning we were ready to go. Timo had his quick morning coffee and I had a banana. Then we joined the other yachts in the waiting area. A ship came out. A ship went in. There were two German boats that looked like they knew the drill. so we followed them. This time there was plenty of room so every one fit in fine.

I was kind of looking forward to see the scenery on the way. Well, there were almost none. We saw some nice houses, bridged and ferries, but mostly it was just trees after trees.

As I'm very keen on ships, we luckily saw many ships passing by.

We were not in a hurry, so we spend a night in Rendsburg. What a lovely little town. And I think they are quite good ship builders there since we saw some mega yacht that were just half way done. I think the millionaires who order them want the best quality.

Even though we have been sailing in the tidal areas before, we are quite newbies to it. We decided to spend an other night in the Canal in Brunsbüttel and study the tide tables and currents.

In Brunsbütttel the marina is really near the newer and bigger locks.

We had a time in our minds that'd be the best to enter the Elbe river and head for Cuxhaven. I called the lock on VHF if they had any estimate when we could enter the lock and they said NOW. This was maybe so far the fastest start up for the engine and the crew. Everything was not maybe ready for the open sea, but we cleared the tables and staff in the lock.

Our first calculations for tides and currents were really a success. The best current we had was almost 4 knots so we made our way quite fast to Cuxhaven. Entering the harbor in a 3 knot current was quite interesting, but there were no problems.

At the moment the wind is howling, but when the weather gets better I think we are ready for North Sea.