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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Stralsund - Bornholm, Denmark - Karlskrona, Sweden (21 June 2017)

We returned to Stralsund on Saturday 3 June. The only direct flight to Hamburg from Bristol is early evening but instead of getting a direct flight from Heathrow we opted to try KLM from Bristol via Amsterdam. Interestingly the scheduled journey time was nearly identical and the price only marginally more once trains had been taken into account. However it did look as if this was the wrong decision when the KLM plane arrived only 10 minutes before our scheduled departure from Bristol resulting in late boarding and loosing the slot. Result nearly an hour late taking off although thankfully the flight time was quicker but still only 30 minutes for the connection at Amsterdam. Luckily we were able to avoid the long queues for passport control at Schipol as we had an EU passport (another benefit that we are all likely to loose soon!). So we made the connection with a few minutes to spare. We also made our train connection in Hamburg so arrived on the boat just over 11 hours after leaving home.
As readers of the last blog will recall we had left the boat with an engine problem. during our absence in the UK I had been in touch with the mechanics. Because of pressure of other jobs they had only looked at Whileaway in the week before we returned. They had firstly diagnosed a failed thermostat, then when that didn't resolve the issue, the cylinder head came off and a blown gasket was identified. This also necessitated skimming the cylinder head which had happened the day before we arrived. On boarding it was clear that the engine was still work in progress. so we expected the mechanic to arrive on Monday morning, then discovered that it was a public holiday! However we were able to enjoy the Harbour Festival which took place over the long weekend.
The mechanic returned on Tuesday morning. The original water/coolant problem had been solved solved but engine running then a compression test showed one valve with a problem. The cylinder head was again examined in the workshop and minor corrosion in a valve sorted out with a view to all being put back together on Wednesday.
We did see more of the area around Stralsund but as I said to the Harbour Master, "you have a beautiful town but we have enjoyed it enough now", a sentiment he readily understood!

Main town square, Stralsund.
It wasn't until lunchtime on Wednesday that the mechanics returned and over the next two and a half hours reassembled the engine and ran it up at the pontoon. All looked good so off I went to pay, resulting in a nasty pain in the wallet.
Our plan for Thursday was to go E then N to Sassnitz on the island of Rugen. We needed to get under a low road and rail bridge from Stralsund to the island and there was an opening at 0820. Once through we were soon sailing in a brisk breeze largely behind us. There was quite a period of sticking to buoyed channels in the sea between the island and the mainland before we turned N up the east coast of Rugen. About 3 or 4 nm from Sassnitz we dropped the sails and restarted the engine only to discover within minutes that once again the coolant was being pumped out into the bilge! We couldn't believe it. I phoned the owner of the maintenance firm who also couldn't believe it! Sassnitz is 45nm from Stralsund, about 35m by road. He said that he would send the mechanic immediately. So not long after we tied up he was there. An hour of checking this and that ,scratching of head, ringing the boss, followed. Eventually he thought that he had found the problem and we ran the engine at high revs on the pontoon successfully. I said that the next day we'd circle the bay for a few hours to check. "Go now" was the response! So with the mechanic on board we sped around the bay for 45 minutes without incident. Fingers crossed all round.
Then a big decision. Our next passage was 55nm to Bornholm, a Danish island between Germany and Sweden, across open sea. The weather forecast was good for Friday, less so Saturday.
So off just after 0700, motoring for 3.5 hours to start with and checking the engine every 15 minutes. No incidents! Just as we passed a huge offshore wind farm under construction we were able to sail and just after 1600 we were entering the yacht harbour at Ronne, the main town on Bornholm. Phew!
Ronne is typical of a ferry port and main town but with some attractive buildings.
Cottages in the historic cobbled streets of Ronne
Some of the older buildings were lost at the end of WW2 when the Germans, who had occupied Denmark at the start of the war, refused to surrender as the Russians advanced. Bombing ensued. Interestingly the Russians wouldn't leave Bornholm until 1946, so the locals still debate whether they were liberators or occupiers.
On Saturday we cycled on a purpose made path through woods N to the village of Hasle. Traditionally a fishing village at one time it had a huge number of smokeries, now just one active one remains. As it happened there was some sort of sea festival on that day with lifeboats, kayaks, fishing, jet boards etc. We opted for the smoked fish buffet at the smokery, not cheap (not much is in Denmark) but with a big choice and excellent quality.
Traditional smokery, Hasle
On Sunday morning we motor sailed 15nm around the N tip of the island to the W coast and the village of Allinge. We arrived to discover hundreds of big and small tents being erected as there was a political festival taking place later in the week. More disappointingly a notice in the HM office announced that the harbour would be closed from Monday. We had planned to stay 3 nights. The weather forecast for Tuesday was terrible with gusts to F8 so we were not wishing to go anywhere that day! A discussion with the HM suggested that he could find a place in the outer harbour for us for Monday night.
In the inner harbour at Allinge, "Whileaway" on left
In the meantime we looked around the pretty village which apparently attracts many tourists in high season. That Sunday evening preparations continued apace erecting tents and other temporary buildings for the coming political gathering. We learnt that Bornholm (population 38,000) were expecting 100,000 to attend the convention which started on Thursday! No wonder there was some much preparation activity.
The next morning we opted to move 2nm down the coast to the harbour at Tejn. Not as attractive as Allinge but a good deal quieter! We had to move at that stage as the strong winds forecast for Monday afternoon and through Tuesday had already started to build. Tejn was busy but we rafted up to a German boat with a very pleasant couple. Bikes out in the afternoon for a cycle across the island, visiting an unusual round church, the tallest on the island.

The round church at 
We moved on to the little harbour at Vang and then the castle ruin at Hammershus. The castle was built in the seventeenth century and we had seen how imposing it was from the sea a few days before. It is justifiably a World Heritage site.
The imposing castle from the sea

Having covered about 25km that day the following day we took the bus an hour south down the coast to Nexo. This turned out to be a mistake as the town was very ordinary and rather commercial. Unfortunately the town was one of those that had been heavily bombed in 1945 when the German occupiers refused to surrender to the Russians. Fortunately only one resident lost their life but quite a few German soldiers did before common sense prevailed. We retraced our route and alighted at the beautiful old fishing harbour of Gudhjem where we had an excellent fish lunch and then looked around the town.

Looking down on Gudhjem
Interestingly this coast had about a dozen navy ships of various countries anchored off it. We assumed that it was some sort of Nato exercise (the Russian threat being a real worry in the Baltic) and that the strong winds had led to operations being suspended for the day.

Even the warships were sheltering from the wind!
By Wednesday morning the wind had dropped and so just after 0630 we cast off and headed NNE towards the Swedish coast. We motor sailed for the first five hours as we had relatively light winds but then as they picked up the engine went off and we had a splendid sail through the afternoon. Our planned destination was Karlskrona on the SE coast of Sweden. We saw only a few ships although we did have to cross the route taken by big ships to and from the northern Baltic. At one stage we were closely watching three ships heading across our course at an angle of about 120 degrees to 60 degrees. The first passed comfortably ahead of us; according to our AIS the second was going to pass within about 2 cables (about two tenths of a nautical mile) which is close given our relative speeds and their difficulty in changing course. The second ship, a tanker, was a bit over a mile from us when Andrea wondered what we should do and what they were thinking on their bridge. I responded by saying that they were probably snoozing on autopilot when the VHF crackled into life with “Alpine Confidence calling Whileaway”! When we answered the Officer asked if we would like to pass across his bow. Such courtesy! We responded in the affirmative and cracked on knowing that he was alert to the situation. Later as we closed the islands off the coast to the S of Karlskrona we ended up having to try to work out the intentions of both a Swedish submarine and a frigate that were exercising in some way right on our course! They didn't call us!

The submarine kept turning, difficult to ascertain which was the bow at times!
We then started following buoyed channels between islands into Karlskrona and about a mile from the marina started the engine and headed into the marina just under 12 hours and 65nm since we'd left Bornholm.
Having tied up I was shocked and completely fed up to discover that copious quantities of coolant and seawater had again been discharged into the bilge just from the last half hour of running the engine. Clearly the fault had not been fixed. So the next day was spent visiting marine engineers all of whom reported being very busy in the run up to the mid summer holiday (a big event in Sweden) and so unable to tackle anything new for at least a fortnight – beyond when we had to return home. I did find a seemingly competent guy who was willing to tackle the problem whilst we are back in the UK and fortunately the HM could find me a berth for seven weeks. At least there is plenty to see in Karlskrona. But as we also had return flights booked from Stockholm (we were planning to end up about 35m S of the city) we decided that we would get the long distance bus to Stockholm for the weekend before our return.

Karlskrona historic town
So in the meantime we explored Karlskrona. The town was founded in the seventeenth century primarily as a base for the Swedish navy. Their main base was Stockholm but Karlskrona is further S and so the waters do not usually freeze. In addition because there are numerous islands and rocks off the coast it has excellent defensive qualities. Reflecting its creation and history Karlskrona is a World Heritage site. The first day was rainy so we visited the excellent maritime museum based on the small fortified island which was originally the core of the Navy base, although it expanded much beyond it.

The Maritime Museum
When the rain cleared we wandered into town to find loud music and students dancing in the back of grain lorries parading around the town – it was graduation day!

Celebrating graduation, Karlskrona style
The town has a mixture of superb buildings from the 17th to 19th centuries plus some very plain 20th and 21st century flats! There are also areas of old fishermen's cottages, shipyard workers homes and typical red wooden early 20th century homes on island waterfronts.

Houses at 
One natural delight was seeing not one but two red squirrels on one of the islands just across a bridge from the town.
Apart from walking around the town we visited a number of islands including Aspo, at the entrance to the archipeligo and accessed by a free vehicle ferry! Quite an away from it all island with scattered homes, virtually no traffic and scenic unspoilt views. There is another part of the World Heritage site here in the shape of a 17th century castle built to guard the channel to Karlskrona.

The castle on Aspo
We now looked out on the channel through which we had safely passed.

Another yacht passes between the buoys  marking underwater obstructions
With another 5 days before our booked flight we took the long distance bus to Stockholm. We will have a few days in that city before returning home. By the time we return in early August we hope to have a fully functioning and reliable engine!

Fish Harbour sculpture

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Burgstaaken - Stralsund, Germany (13 May 2017)

Another winter passes and we return to "Whileaway" at Fehmarn Island - except that after the warm early spring in southern England we are now back to cooler sub 10C temperatures! We are told that earlier in the afternoon on the day we arrived there had even been a flurry of snow.
We prepare the boat and mast the day after arrival and then the next the boat is lifted back into the water and the mast stepped.
Whileaway is in the water - now step the mast!
Relaunch day and the following day are very busy as we refit all the equipment and load our initial provisions. Fortunately the weather was mainly dry for the three days, although it was chilly at times. After being lifted into the main commercial harbour and having the rigging and engine adjusted and checked, on Friday morning we moved a few hundred metres to the marina at Burgstakken and continued preparations.
This included driving to the far side of the adjacent town of Berg to do some shopping and fill our 5 litre petrol can (for the outboard) and two spare diesel cans. I carefully filled them and then discovered that I had left all our money on the boat! The very young cashier in the petrol station was not amused, including at my lack of an adequate command of the German language. Eventually it was established, with the help of a bi-lingual local, that Andrea had to stay at the filling station whilst I retrieved the cash. Thirty minutes later I secured the release of the hostage! Andrea has asked that next time I forget the money it is in a cake shop!
Our plan for this first leg of our cruise was to explore Rugen island on the NE Baltic coast of Germany close to the border with Poland. That was some 100nm due E of Fehmarn and for that first passage of our journey we could either go NE with an overnight stop at Gedser in Denmark or SE via Warnemunde in Germany. The journey via Gedser was about 10nm shorter. However on the first day (Saturday 29 April) we would have mainly light W winds the forecast was then for heavier E winds for a few days so we were likely to be held up. We had been to Gedser in September and whilst a pleasant town it had very few facilities of interest. On the other hand Warnemunde would be new and 7 miles down river from Warnemunde was the busy town of Rostock that we had also visited in September.
So Warnemunde it was and after a pleasant six and a half hours mainly motor sailing in light winds we arrived at the modern (and only 25% occupied) marina in Warnemunde. We had a walk around the E bank of the town and discovered that it was mainly residential.
The forecast for the next day was for winds of F3-4 in the morning, increasing to F5 in the afternoon and then F6 in the early evening. All E, so we would be directly going into them. Of course the forecast could be wrong but if not we would need an early start for the c11 hour passage so I decided to wake at 0500 and get an updated forecast before deciding. That forecast was little changed. I must be getting old because I cogitated at length and then decided that if the actuality turned out worse we would be facing heavy weather just as we were tackling the narrow channels around Rugen island so better not to go. The down side was that the strong E winds were forecast for another 4 to 5 days. But still I went back to bed!
Having decided to remain we agreed that the marina at Warnemunde would be quite exposed; and having walked around there was little to hold our interest on our side of the river. The small town is concentrated on the west bank accessible by a ferry. We decided that we would head the 7nm down the river to the centre of Rostock where we had stayed in September. Going down the river at 1000 it was already blowing a steady F5 with gusts to F6 so I felt vindicated! We moored at the City harbour as we had in September and on a sunny (but windy) Sunday and Monday strolled round the city enjoying revisiting it.
Rostock - even McDonalds is in sympathy!
On the Tuesday we took the short suburban rail train to Warnemunde, returning on a circuitous route on bus and tram (day ticket on train bus and tram in the Rostock area E5.40, excellent value!). Warnemunde is also a cruise ship port and one dominated the skyline. The town has very attractive avenues, some alongside the river and a big sandy beach. Another windy day so no sunbathers!
Warnemunde quayside
Former fishermen's houses, Warnemunde
On Wednesday we took the train from Rostock for an hour to Stralsund, S of Rugen island. This was where we aimed to leave Whileaway at the end of the leg. So we looked around the town which has some fine buildings and is again a Hanseatic League city; visited the marina; and, with the help of the Tourist Information Centre, identified a place where we could if we wished park our car. The strong E winds were now forecast to last until Friday evening. The original plan was to leave the boat the following Friday and take the train from Stralsund (two changes) to Fehmarn to collect the car; stay somewhere in Germany on Friday night then get the ferry on Saturday night. But we now had time available so we decided to retrieve the car. With two changes on the train, just under 4 hours later we were at Fehmarn. We then drove to Stralsund and parked the car. Then train back to Rostock. Total train cost on a special regional “rover” ticket E31 for the two of us! But now we did have to get to Stralsund!

Stralsund - DDR era flats with workers painting
Trabant, still a few around!
The wind blew hard on Thursday night and Friday morning but then began to abate so at 1630 we slipped our mooring and returned to Warnemunde ready to leave early the following morning. I was awake at 0500 to check the forecast. Good news, little wind; surprise news, thick fog! Great! We got ready and by 0545 it was very slowly improving so we decided to go and hope the improvement continued which it did. The annoying aspect was that we mainly had a light NE wind for the 50+ miles along the coast and then across a bight which meant that we were limited to motor sailing for a couple of hours at best.
Near the end of our passage we had to enter a channel that took us between the islands of Hiddensee and Rugen. This channel was typically around 10-15m in width and was marked by port and starboard buoys spaced about 50-100m in length apart. Consequently buoy spotting, aided by the Chart Plotter showing our approxima position, was very important. In the channel the depth was anything from 2.2-4.5m (we need 1.4m to stay afloat); outside the channel depths varied down to a minimum of 0.5m in many places. In some areas you could also see the exposed sand.
After about 5nm in the channels (and to my relief not having met one of the ferries), we approached the harbour of Kloster on the N of the island of Hiddensee. I was congratulating myself on having safely achieved this just as the depth beneath the keel dropped sharply from 0.9 to 0.4 and then 0.0m in the space of seconds. Fortunately we were on low speed and I quickly engaged astern and began trying to work back towards between the last port and starboard buoys. That got us back into the centre of the channel and I was then able to cautiously get into the harbour.
Looking south across the inland sea between Rugen and Hiddensee
This whole “inland sea” and much of the islands are designated National Park and we soon saw considerable and varied bird life. The harbour setting was delightful, on the edge of the reed beds and the inland sea.
There are four settlements on Hiddensee island, Vitte and Neuendorf to the S and Grieben a short distance to the E of Kloster. Vitte is the main village and most of the ferries go there. There area  only a few motorised vehicles on the islands, mainly tractors and a couple of trucks. Even the buses and taxis are horse drawn. So very unspoilt with a long sandy beach on the W coast. We enjoyed a sunny but breezy Sunday cycling S to Vitte and Nuendorf. Later we walked around the N of the island, past the light house. Apart from the bird life we spotted a fox as well as the horses, cattle, goats, sheep and other livestock.
Kloster bus station
On the Monday morning we planned to head S towards Stralsund but before doing so took the opportunity to use the harbour's washing machine and tumble drier. However there was consternation as at the end of the wash, the door remained stubbornly stuck shut! Even half a dozen German ladies failed to open the machine. I was in the process of trying to contact the Hafenmiester when a lady (who had a similar machine|) cracked it and got it open!
After all the excitement of retrieving the washing from the machine we were a little late leaving and by then we had a strong NE F5 to contend with. As we had to retrace our steps through one channel and then start following new channels the wind, which was giving us plenty of sideways movement, was unhelpful. It was about 15nm to Stralsund the first 12nm of which was buoy hopping down channels. Luck was with us again as we didn't have to pass a couple of ferries until a wider part of the channel so it wasn't a problem. Stralsund is on the mainland, effectively the gateway to Rugen, with a relatively new high level bridge spanning the short distance across the sea. However there was also an older pair of road and rail bridges with only 6m clearance so we had to be there on one of the six times a day that they opened. For us it was the 1720-1740 opening which, with a couple of other yachts, we comfortably made
Stralsund High level bridge (foreground) and old rail/road bridge lifting
Onward for another 6nm to the small marina at Gustow, near the village of Drigge on Rugen, arriving in evening sunshine. Another lovely location, close to reed beds and with much bird life.
However on glancing in the engine compartment I discovered a considerable quantity of coolant discharged into the bilge below the engine. Obviously an issue that I had to investigate before we left in the morning.
My investigations left me mystified. There appeared to be about 7 litres of fluid in the bilge – the cooling system only takes about 5; in addition when I tried to top up the coolant in the engine it seemed to be nearly full. So there must have been more than just coolant in the bilge perhaps? Also strange as that during our journey the engine temperature seemed to be around normal. Perhaps sea or fresh water had somehow contrived to get into the cooling system?
I asked at the marina office as to whether an engineer was available locally but was not surprised to get a negative response. So the decision was to return to Stralsund (where we were due to leave the boat at the end of this leg anyway) and where there were likely to be more resources.
Once there I was able to contact an engineer who, although pointing out they were very busy, offered to come on Thursday morning to look at the problem. I had explained that as we were going back to the UK for a few weeks they may be able to fit work in then. Olaf duly turned up to be briefed on the problem, as promised, on Thursday morning. He identified three possible causes of the problem and said that he would get "the boys" to investigate further whilst we are away.
On the Wednesday we visited Greifwald and Weick, the towns that we were planning to head for on Whileaway. Greifwald was a 25 minute train ride away. This is another Hanseatic League city and one that was part of Sweden for about 170 years until the treaty of 1815. More fine buildings and impressive squares and churches. A University (founded by the Swedes) and much character.
Weick was a 20 minute bus ride down the river at its mouth with the Baltic sea. Originally a small fishing village it still has all its charm and a small fleet. But the beach also means that in the summer there were plenty of visitors. Not on the day of our visit though, as the temperature barely reached 10C and it rained most of the day. A feature of Weick is its bascule bridge which is operated by hand. Engineered to perfection with weights, the Bridgemaster and his assistant wind the two halves up to open; then to close release the lock, give a gentle push and the bridge slowly falls back down.

Weick bridge
On the day before our departure we crossed the bridge to Rugen island. Rolling hills, tree lined roads and some interesting seaside resorts sum up the island.
Typical Rugen road
At Putbus we came across the vintage train line known as "Rushing Rowland" which runs steam services mainly between Putbus and Gohren, about a 75 minute journey with half a dozen intermediate stations. It has the benefit of being linked to a branch of the DB railway at Putbus.

Rushing Roland!
We went on to visit a couple of SE holiday resorts which were not particularly attractive, suffering from the common DDR "improvement" programme of slab blocks of flats! But Sellin was excellent with streets of Victorian Villas and hotels although there was a common thread of major repair and refurbishment in the period from around 1993 to 2000.
Renovated Victorian houses, Sellin
Prior to the collapse of the DDR it appeared that the Government tourist organisation had been responsible for managing the properties. Finally we visited the main town of Bergen, where the Danes had established a church and a convent in the 13th century. The existing church incorporates some original features. Rugen is a very interesting place to visit and being at the far NE corner of Germany is relatively unspoilt.
So the end of our first 2017 cruise. In the 15 days since launch we only covered just under 140nm in Whileaway. But we were held up by strong E winds in Rostock for 6 days; and then we had to curtail our cruising by 3 days because of the engine problem. Coupled with the cold weather (temperature rarely above 10C), this cannot be described as the most successful of starts! But thats sailing. Lets hope the experience improves from here on!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Rostock - Burgstaaken (24 September 2016)

On another warm sunny morning we started our exploration of Rostock. A city of over 200,00 people with an interesting historic centre surrounded by a ring road heavy with traffic. Rostock had been heavily bombed in World War 2 and then suffered at the hands of concrete slab building during the the DDR (East Germany) era. It does have a large student population which gives it a lively feel although this is offset by empty shops and buildings and wide open (and empty) spaces. Nevertheless we were interested to see Marlenkirche, the only church to survive WW2, with its 12 metre high astrological clock built in 1472 showing the exact date on which Easter falls every year. The integral discs last for 130 years, the next one due in 2017. The clock is apparently the oldest one of its type in the world still with its original mechanisms.
Astrological clock completed 1472
There was little else of particular note apart from two remaining city gates and the impressive 13th century Rathaus.
With the temperature at 27C in late afternoon (incredible for the Baltic in mid-September) we dined out on excellent fish in a restaurant on the waterside.
A relatively early start the next morning, casting off at 0745, as we had a fair distance to cover to our next destination, Wismar. A still sunny morning as we motored up the river to the mouth at Warnemunde. Rostock industry gradually gave way to reed beds and tree lined banks and then back to industry with the ferry terminals (from Sweden, Denmark and Finland for certain), a naval base, cruise liner ports, ship repair yards and plenty of other marine activities. For the first 5+nm we didn't see another boat but then in the last mile we met three incoming ferries, the ship that services the marine cardinals and buoys, ferries crossing the river, a naval service boat and a small support ship.
Once clear of the mouth we turned W and for the coming hours we mainly motor sailed with the help of a light following wind until we turned into the bay at the foot of which is Wismar.
We had completed over 44nm by around 1545 when we docked at the sailing club at Westhafen. 
Wismar is a smaller and more compact town than Rostock. It is a short distance through a wide bay and still has some commercial shipping, mainly coasters from Sweden and Poland delivering timber and other goods so far as we could see. There is evidence in the shape of cranes, warehouses and other buildings of greater marine commerce including shipbuilding in the not too distant past. There are three major docks and half of one, the Westhafen is now occupied by the yacht club that we berthed at. Another, the Alter Haven, also has some space for fishing and larger vessels whilst the third, Uberseehafen, is largely derelict except for a small municipal marina in the corner. The Alter Haven is steadily being regenerated with warehouses and mills turned into flats, fishing boats selling their wares from the boats, new shops and quite a few restaurants. There is some way to go but it looks promising. 
View from the Tower towards the Westhafen
Wismar became a Hanseatic League town in the 13th century and its buildings clearly testify to a prosperous place for hundreds of years after that. The town and some surrounding areas then spent most of the 16th and 17th centuries as part of Sweden and there is evidence of that too, including two baroque Swedish heads which stand on mooring posts guarding the entrance to the harbour. (These are replicas, the originals having been damaged by a Finnish barge in 1902, one original being in the town museum). Then in 1945 the town was bombed by the RAF and finally Wismar was in the former East Germany until 1991 which is why not everything about the town is satisfactory. But it is a UNESCO heritage site with a superb central market square dominated by a magnificent Rathaus. It is said to be the largest remaining medieval town square in Northern Germany. 

Part of the central market square
 We also visited four churches, St Nikolai Kirche, the largest and only remaining intact of the three red brick churches that dominated the roof-scape before 1945; Heiligen Geist Kirche, originally a hospice dating from the 13th century; St Marien Kirche, originally built in the 13th century but all that remained after the 1945 bombing was the steeple; and St Georgen Kirche, again bombed and then left in ruins in the time of the DDR, its shell has now been reconstructed and it is used for concerts and public events. So quite a change in church use in about 70 years.
Although a lovely sunny evening there had been a little cloud in the sky that day and it looked as though, after 11 days of sunshine, the very warm spell was coming to an end. The following day there was more cloud in the sky and the forecast was for strong breezes of F4 and F5 for our 30nm trip to Travemunde. We cast off just before 0900 and for the first few hours headed north out of the bay. As we began to lose the shelter of the land the wind and the waves increased until eventually we were coping with winds of F5 gusting to the top end of F6 and wave heights of around 1.5-2.0m. Naturally we were sailing fast at times but once we turned to head W, for the last final 90 minutes or so we had the E wind right behind us as we surfed with the waves.
Travemunde is a coastal resort at the mouth of the Trave river which leads to Lubeck. It is a thriving holiday resort and a very busy car and commercial vehicle ferry port with regular departures to Scandinavian and other Baltic ports. To our surprise the various marinas had few spaces but we did eventually find a place for a couple of nights. We were at the end of a pontoon adjacent to the main channel so the ferries passed very close to us.
Ferry manoeuvering in channel, going astern to dock.
On Sunday we took the bus to spend time in a founding city of the Hanseatic league which also has over 1,000 historic buildings, some dating back to the 12th century. Another World Heritage Site which also suffered bombing, in 1942, but also famous for its marzipan. We spent a day looking at the impress city centre with streets lined with medieval merchants' houses and spired churches. 
Street with Merchants' houses.
 The 13th to 15th century Rathaus is apparently widely regarded as one of the most beautiful in Germany; the very substantial Gothic Marien Kirche has the world's highest brick vaulted roof and was the model for dozens of churches in Northern Germany; and there are two remaining city gates, the Holstentor which appears to have a sag and the Burgtor. 
Holstentor City Gate
We found Willy Brandt House, an exhibition about the life and work of the Lubeck born former Berlin Mayor and then West German Chancellor very interesting both for what it said about him (for example he was an exile in Norway and then Sweden from the early 1930's until the end of WW2) and the events he handled including the Nazi years, War Crimes Tribunals, the Berlin Airlift and the Berlin Wall, his European commitment and his philosophy of Ostpolitik. 

By Monday morning the strong winds of the two previous days had abated and so we left and headed around 12nm E to the smaller town of Neustadt. This time it was a pleasant sail in a NE 3/4 on our beam. We tied up in the old harbour and strolled around a busy but ordinary town! 
Quay close to town centre
The following day we cycled along the coast stopping for coffee at the small holiday resort of Pelzerhaken and then for lunch at the larger resort of Gromitz. The cycle route was very varied from well built promenades to mud tracks (thankfully dry) through woods.

Sculpture en-route
It was another sunny September day so there were plenty of other cyclists and walkers. We passed by a number of mobile home and caravan parks as well as apartment blocks and hotels in the main settlements. There were signs that these were originally small villages but clearly much holiday development had taken over. Not surprising as the sandy beach was virtually continuous.

On Wednesday morning we headed NE along the coast motoring against a NNE wind until we passed a headland where the coast changed to a NW axis and we were able to sail to the small resort of Grossenbrode where there is a large lake accessed through a narrow channel. We were now just 5nm from our final destination and so Thursday was spent beginning the process of laying up Whileaway. There was just a light breeze so we spent a couple of hours taking down the sails and putting them in their bags for the winter. Then we began cleaning and other chores.

Friday was already warm at 0900 as we headed the short distance to Burgstaaken. We were able to tie up to the company pontoon and continue our preparations for the removal of the mast and the lift out on Saturday morning.

The mast is lifted off
 In the succeeding couple of days we completed our list of maintenance and related work before, on Tuesday morning we drove the 450 miles to the Hook of Holland and the ferry to Harwich.

By the end of our 2016 cruise we had travelled 1,121nm sailing on 45 days and staying on board for 77 days. Our journey had taken us from Amsterdam, through the Netherlands, the East Frisian Islands, the Kiel Canal, the German Baltic coast, various islands in Denmark, part of the west coast of Sweden and back to Germany. The weather had been a little bit indifferent early in the year but September had been marvellous with almost three weeks of unbroken sunshine. Next year we are thinking of varying the times that we are away and heading up the east coast of Sweden towards Stockholm.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Dragor - Rostock (13 September 2016)

Having had August at home we started our journey back to Whileaway on the evening of Monday 5 September. This time we took the car as near the end of the month we would be getting Whileaway laid up for the winter and we had gear to bring home. Our journey took some organising.
We left Wiltshire at 1800 on Monday night immediately after a Board meeting that I needed to attend. We then drove nearly 200m to Harwich, arriving at 2145 and soon on to the Stenna Line ferry. We were off the ferry and cleared border control at the Hook of Holland by 0830. We drove through Netherlands and Germany (mainly on motorways)  to Burg on Fehmarn Island a distance of about 400m arriving there at 1545. After a little delay as our contact was not at the yard that afternoon we eventually put the car into one of the yacht halls to await our return in Whileaway and sorted out a few details. We then had time for a beer and an early supper in Burg, sitting outside in the warm sunshine. We walked to the town station and caught the local 1844 train to Puttgarden on the north of  the island, where shortly afterwards we boarded the 1905 ICE train from Hamburg to Copenhagen. Having boarded, the train rolled on to one of the regular ferries for the 45 minute crossing to Nyrobing in South Denmark. So having just boarded the train we had to alight and go to the passenger area on the ferry! The ferry company made much of the fact that we were travelling on one of a fleet of the most environmentally friendly ferries in the world, amongst the features being a big bank of batteries enabling the ferry to store power for later use.

Scandlines Hybrid Ferry
Once across the water we re-boarded, had a quick passport check and the train then continued to Copenhagen arriving on time at 2222. From outside the station we caught the 5A bus towards Sundbyvester Plads and at the Dresundsve stop we changed to the 350S to Dragor.
We were on Whileaway in Dragor harbour at 2330 just under 29 hours since leaving Wiltshire.
Apart from the loss of a fender (don't know why) Whileaway was just as we left her. After all the usual checks, refitting some gear that is stowed away when we leave her and reprovisioning at the local shops we slipped our mooring at just after 1130 on Wednesday morning.
We headed south towards the small town of Rodvig which we had visited in July. It was a sunny day with just a little cloud and for a while we were able to sail but then the wind dropped and being on the nose we decided that it would be quicker to motor. We were about half way to Rodvig, crossing from one part of the Danish coast to another when Andrea noticed three seemingly identical naval ships heading north on a parallel course about 2nm to the E of us. We were watching them, interested in what they may be up to, when the VHF radio burst into life with "Whileaway this is Polish Warship Resko". I returned the call and Resko requested that we switch to a working channel. The next call from ORP Resko was blunt "Whileaway change course 10 degrees West". I called back "Polish warship Resko this is Whileaway, confirm alter course 10 degrees west, over". There was then a little delay and the answer came back that there was now no need for a course alteration! so we pressed on. Naturally we kept watching the three ships wondering what they were up to in what were Danish territorial waters. They certainly manoeuvred around, sometimes circling, sometimes stopped before eventually they set off S heading back from whence they came. We could only assume that they were on some sort of exercise, perhaps hunting a submarine? Later we established that the ships were Minehunter/Minesweeper class so perhaps they were supposed to be finding dummy mines?
Arriving at Rodvig just before 1800 we were surprised at how empty the harbour was. On our last visit in mid-July the harbour had been three quarters full when we arrived at lunch time! This pattern of quiet empty harbours stayed with us throughout the following days, so much more pleasant than being with the crowds! When we had visited Rodvig before we had visited Stevens Klift and other places so this time we just required an overnight stop.

Beautiful sunny September morning in Rodvig harbour
The next morning was again sunny and we watched the swallows flying low over the water catching breakfast. before setting off to the S again, this time just 25nm to Klintholm on the S coast of the Island of Mon. We sailed nearly all the way there, admiring Mons Klint, the unusual sheer sided white cliffs, more of which later. Klintholm is a popular passage port for vessels heading W/E or E/W in the S Baltic Sea. The harbour has some relatively new holiday homes and the settlement around the "Havn" has quite a few houses plus a holiday camp site, a small supermarket and a few restaurants. It is a very pleasant place to stop.
On Friday morning we decided to explore the east side of Mon. we decided to begin by cycling 17km to the main town of Stege. The town has plenty of old streets and buildings and lies alongside the waterfront.The main street had a variety of shops and a nice feel to it.

Limited selection of products in this shop?
After a coffee and a look around we were next to head east across the island to Mons Klint which we had passed the day before. This would involve a 20km cycle ride and so Andrea proposed enquiring about the bus service. There was an hourly service and on asking the driver (with the assistance of a local - who it turned out was an ardent follower of Wiltshire crop circles!) it was not a problem to take our folding bikes on the bus. So 45 minutes later we arrived at Mons Klint. The geology is that about 70 million years ago Denmark was covered by ocean. The chalky ocean floor was raised above sea level before the last ice age reached Denmark about 12,000 years ago.Ever since then the cliffs have been eroding and at present rates the cliffs and the island of Mon will disappear in about 50,000 years. Mons Klint is also known for its Peregrine Falcons (breeding here having vanished from Denmark for 30 years), wild orchids, the black spotted blue butterfly (seen nowhere else in Denmark) and of course many fossils. Unfortunately we didn't see any of these particular features!
Mons Klint
We walked down the 500 steps to the base of the cliffs and then along the very narrow beach to the next steps about 2km along. We completed the loop back to where we had left our bikes and then cycled about 15km back to Klintholm. That evening we had an excellent meal in a very friendly Italian restaurant close to the harbour - with a little musical interlude provided by the chef/proprieter!
On Saturday we had another warm sunny day and at 0930 we slipped our mooring and started heading W towards the estuary that leads towards Stubbekobing on the island of Falster. We were able to sail close hauled for about three and a half hours before putting on the motor and turning north into a narrow buoyed channel between the islands of Mon and Falster. Stubbekobing was pleasant but sadly quite run down with empty shops and houses despite some signs of industry. A bright spot was the traditional ferry still operating between Stubbekobing and the island of Bogo.
Histoic Bogo Ferry
So the following day we set off back down the channel and then W  along the coast to Gedser. Another warm sunny day and more sailing with a SW wind around F3/4. As we neared Gedser we could see the ferries (between Germany and Denmark) moving up and down the buoyed channel. We crossed that channel and left a drying bank to port turning up towards the harbour. Plenty of room again as we chose an alongside berth. A walk around Gedser revealed some interesting buildings, a mixture of old and new, but again it looked as though there had been better times in the past. Indeed an exhibition in the ferry terminal showed that the heyday was in the 1960's and 1970's with busy ferry crossings and a railway terminal. Gradually other ferry routes and bridges developed and the trade declined although a regular ferry service is still sustained. After a lovely day another beautiful sunset.
Sunset Gedser
The following morning we spent time on domestic issues - clothes washing and boat maintenance. After lunch we cycled N to the town of Nykobing F (The F to distinguish it from other Nykobing towns in Denmark). This seemed thriving with plenty of attractive buildings and people about in the town centre. It also had plenty of industry with what looked like grain silos, sugar beet processing plants and so on. But by the time we got back to Gedser we had cycled just short of 50km (over 30m) so quite tiring on our Bromptons. 
Traditional houses Nykobing centre
Tuesday 13 soon produced another warm sunny day. We left after taking on diesel and were soon sailing due S with a variable E and then SE wind. So we sailed most of the 26nm to Warnemunde, dodging the Scandline ferries at times and then began motoring the 7nm down the Warnow River to Rostock.Initially it was a very industrial and maritime landscape but this then gave way to reed beds before we rounded a bend and then began to see the buildings of Rostock in front of us. This was to be a two night stop so plenty of time to explore the city the next day. 
Approaching Rostock

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Kalvehave - Dragor (28 July 2016)

Wednesday 13 July brought a sunny morning with lighter NW winds F2/3. I was pleased about the lighter winds as for the first 10-12nm we had to carefully navigate very shallow waters where at times we might only have 0.5-2.0m below the keel. The chart showed that most of the time the channel was well buoyed but there were areas where you had to choose where to cross from one marked channel to another. We slipped our mooring at 0800 and after a mile in deep water, having passed an E cardinal Andrea spent some time searching with the binoculars for a W cardinal which we needed to leave on our starboard side and then the first starboard channel marker which was off the very small island of Nyord. These buoys often take some spotting as they are not very tall and are easily lost against the background if there is land behind them. We gradually worked our way along the various channels, which at times narrowed to no more than 10m wide as we passed between port and starboard buoys and the odd cardinal. Gradually though there were a number of other boats using the channel and this is helpful as you get more of an idea how it meanders across the sea. But you do have to keep on your toes so as not to be misled into missing a buoy and cutting a corner with unsatisfactory consequences! We had been planning to head for Rodvig but en route we decided to divert into a fjord where the harbour for the town of Praesto was at the southern edge. This again required us to resume channel watch, the last 3nm including entering the Fjord being through shallow waters.
Residential street near the town centre in Praesto
Praesto turned out to be a good choice. A small town with a street of shops, choice of supermarkets and plenty of bars and cafes. Nice to walk around, also to stretch our legs into the adjoining countryside. The following day we were on our bikes on a “panoramic route” (cycleway 454) of 30km. This took us on a loop through the countryside to the east and south of Paesto mainly on country lanes with little or no traffic. At times we looked across the sea to the channel that we had passed through and en route we did go to the tiny village of Stavreby said to have one of the country's smallest fishing harbours.
Straveby harbour
We also saw the castle ruins and the church at Slotsbakke the latter dating from the fourteenth century. The Church had some well preserved fourteenth century wall paintings as well as the extensively carved pews that we had seen elsewhere. We had expected to find a cafe en route but that was not to be, indeed we met very few people and saw only a little activity throughout the 30km.
Wall painting Slotsbakke Church
On Friday we set sail again and were able to run before the W wind of F5/6 the 16nm to Rodvig. This is a busy fishing and ship repair port as well as having a well used yacht harbour. A German skipper in the next door but one box took our lines as we edged up to the quay in what were blustery winds. A little while later we went to connect to the shore power and discovered that it was a different connector to the standard. The kind German lent us an adaptor which he had for old harbours such as these! But as he was leaving the next day we thought that we would have to move to another box if we stayed longer.
That afternoon we wandered around the adjacent fishing port and the small town. There were plenty of fish restaurants to we decided it would be impolite not to patronise them! The next morning we opted to move as the line of boxes we were in were prone to swell and the boat had rolled during the previous evening and overnight. It was again a blustery morning and in manoeuvring out of the box the anchor caught hard on one of the posts and as the boat was also taken by the wind somehow the anchor was pushed against the post and fractured in two! Andrea managed to retrieve the fluke, as it dangled from the line used to stop it rattling, but that is of little benefit as it clearly is not fit for purpose! Slightly worrying was whether this was a structural fault that might have meant it failing under load, which would not have been desirable. We continued our search for a new box and found one in the corner of the harbour, quite a tight turn to get in there, but we did.
We were now alongside a friendly Swedish couple who, we learnt, were waiting for a replacement part for their engine cooling system to arrive, their engine having been seriously overheating because of an impeller failure. We had been looking to buy postcards for a while and noticed later that our neighbour was writing some. They had found them in the local supermarket. However whilst the cost of the cards had been around 8 DKK (about 90p), a little on the high side, the postage was an extortionate 25 DKK (about £2.80)! Even the shop assistant had apologised for this!The main interest locally are Stevns Klint, unique cliffs on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Stevns Klint is claimed to be the best place anywhere in the world to view the history of when the dinosaurs and half of Earth’s species were annihilated by an asteroid 66 million years ago. We decided to cycle there and spent the morning seeing the exhibition and the cliffs themselves as well as most of the small church on the edge of the cliffs, part having fallen over in 1928. The museum also had local history items, many from the nineteenth century such as old horse drawn fire brigade appliances, a penny farthing and other early bicycles, various shop interiors and so on.
View of Stevns Klint and Church (as we passed the next morning)
A Church was built too close to the cliffs centuries ago and in 1928 part of it toppled over as did some of the cemetry! But it makes a good place from which to view the cliffs although we also walked down a steep flight of stairs to the beach to experience this little bit of historical evidence from below.
We then cycled a further mile to Stevns Lighthouses. The original one in a low rise building had been replaced in the late nineteenth century by a 72 metre tower which we climbed. There is also a disused (since 2011) coastguard station there. During the Cold war Stevsfort just down the coast was a Danish and NATO monitoring and defence installation with high tech radar and ground to air missiles. The Coastguard station had also monitored the straits observing Warsaw Pact shipping movements. We had a long chat with a volunteer about the coastguard and the changes in recent years in both Denmark and the UK.
Early on Sunday morning, before there was too much wind, we were carefully manoeuvring Whileaway to extricate ourselves from the box mooring in a very tight corner of the harbour. With considerable heaving on lines strategically attached to one of the box posts and careful use of revs (and aided by a light wind) we motored astern and got out without damage.
Even at 0730 on a Sunday morning many other boats were also leaving, aiming to make good use of the sunny but breezy morning. We were soon heading W and then N passing Stevns Klint and the lighthouse close by on a very pleasant reach with the wind generally on our beam. It was over 28nm to Dragor, our next port of call and we sailed right to the port entrance, arriving there at lunch time.
We were calling into Dragor as, at the end of this leg, we had arranged to leave Whileaway there whilst we returned to England for August. Dragor is about 6m S of Copenhagen centre; importantly the airport is between Dragor and Copenhagen. So once we had lunch we sought out the Harbour Master and confirmed that we would be arriving in about 10 days. We also talked to a helpful lady in the information office who identified the stop where we could catch the bus to the airport from and also which service we could use if we wished to get into Copenhagen itself.
We noticed that on this sunny Sunday afternoon Dragor was buzzing with many people, both Danes and tourists. Maybe it was because Dragor describes itself as one of the best preserved maritime towns in Denmark. Yellow washed houses with mostly green windows, doors and fencing with thatched or red tile roofs are closely packed into the narrow cobbled streets of the old town. 

Dragor - cobbled streets, yellow washed houses (some thatched) and hollyhocks!
In the middle ages large herring catches were landed at Dragor and in the 1700s it was home to Denmark's second largest commercial fleet. It has also been the site of Denmark's oldest pilot service for more than 300 years. So it has character!
The next day we motored across the Oresund which separates Denmark and Sweden, first running parallel to and then turning north to pass under Oresund Bridge. Of great interest to us as we have seen it so many times in that Swedish thriller “The Bridge” and indeed some other recent Swedish and Danish television thrillers. 
Past the Oresund Bridge
Our journey was just 12nm, the destination being Malmo, Sweden's third city. There are a number of large and small marinas and we had opted for the one of the newest and smallest, Turbinhamnen, which lies close S of the new “Turning Torso” tower, a prominent part of a twenty-first century development that replaced disused docks and shipbuilding yards. 
Twisted Torso tower
We choose to walk into the city and learnt that it was fairly well spread out! We did eventually find our way past the castle and into the many shopping streets and saw the attractive and busy squares, historic churches and other buildings. We learnt fairly quickly that Swedes are not averse to barging their way through without a hint of apology; and also that their banks do not deal with money. If you need that you have to get it from a cash machine. The latter came to light when we went into a branch of Swedbank to see if we could change some notes which are due to be withdrawn next June. After about five minutes of a seemingly confused conversation with a young member of staff it became clear why they couldn't help; it was because the bank didn't handle cash except that being issued through their cash point! I found this difficult to comprehend and I did say “but you are a bank are you?”. Yes, definitely a bank and they can deal with all kinds of electronic payments (mobile pay using your mobile phone is more noticeable in both Denmark and Sweden than elsewhere) but not receiving or dispensing cash!
A full day in Malmo was sufficient and next morning we cast off heading 20 nm N for the island of Ven which is just inside Swedish waters in the middle of the Oresund. Our Cruising Association sources said that the main harbour can get busy at weekends with rafting up required. But this was Tuesday, albeit very sunny and in the middle of the school holidays. Even so when we arrived at 1300 we were amazed to enter a very congested harbour with boats rafted three or even four out. We decided that this wasn't our cup of tea as if it was busy and congested now it would be worse by late afternoon. So we rapidly left and started heading NE towards the main shipping lanes at the N end of the Oresund and after adjusting our course to avoid a tanker heading S and a container ship N, by 1500 and after 31nm we were moored in the Swedish harbour of Helsingborg. Helsingborg is just over two miles across the Oresund from the city of Helsingore in Denmark. Ferries shuttle backwards and forwards every 15 minutes.
Helsingborg is a modern city but with some medieval buildings and a castle tower. In the morning we went on a walking tour of the city centre helpfully following the leaflet identifying the main buildings and statues of interest. 

Helsingborg street with buildings dating from medieval period onwards
We also found a fishmonger and then an excellent cheese shop where the proprietor talked to us about Swedish cheese and of course insisted we sampled any before we bought. He also talked about English cheeses and we discovered that Stilton was very popular at Christmas with Swedes and he sold a huge quantity of that and Red Leicester. He thought that the English made the best Cheddar cheese so he stocked that all the year round. He sold us award winning Swedish Blue cheese from a local producer and it was very good. He also had some excellent very fresh green olives which again had to be sampled before purchase.
He asked about our plans for the rest of the day and we said that we were thinking of cycling somewhere. He recommended Sofiero about 7km along the coast. This is billed as Sweden's “most beautiful palace and park” originally created in 1865 and open to the public from around 1900 when it ceased to be available to royalty. The gardens and the park were pleasant but we have seen much better elsewhere!
Harbourside art Helsingborg
On Thursday morning we set off after 0900 and before 1000 we were tying up in a box in Helsingore. During the day we explored the city centre – more medieval buildings than across the water – and a much larger town centre. Also a medieval church with cloisters. There were very many Swedish visitors with wheeled suitcases who had come across on the ferry to buy alcohol. Sweden has high taxes on alcohol and most of it is retailed through a state owned company. We had noticed the previous day that all the (limited supply) of beer in a small supermarket in Helsingborg was no higher than 3.3% alcohol!
After lunch in a French bistro (Moule Marinieres – not as salty of course as traditionally) we went to the impressive Kronborg Slot (Castle) which dominates the city and the Oresund. It is famous for being the setting (Elsinore) for Shakespeare's Hamlet of 1602 and so not surprisingly there is an exhibition of famous actors who have played in a production of Hamlet here over the last 100 years. Various players also act out short scenes around the castle courtyard and elsewhere during the summer months. 
Kronborg Slot dominates the harbour and the Oresund
The castle is UNESCO world heritage listed. It is a very substantial building the first parts of which were built in 1420. Apart from various rooms and apartments and the Ballroom (built 1585 the longest in Scandinavia and where banquets apparently consisted of 65 courses) we also visited the Casements, chilly low ceilinged dungeons which stretch under a large area of the castle. These were used as barracks and storage areas, the soldiers being able to stay there and escape any bombardments as well as fire on any attackers. A very interesting tour the only negative part being having to keep out of the way of the jostling Japanese tour groups!
I had read that Gilleleje, about 12nm to the N was an old attractive fishing village gradually expanding to take in more yachts so I thought that worth a visit. However when we arrived about midday on the Friday it was to discover a harbour already very full! The reason became apparent a little while later – it was day one of a two day jazz festival. We rafted up alongside a Swedish boat.
It is certainly true that this is a fishing harbour with probably the biggest fleet that we had seen in a single harbour in Denmark. 
Just a small part of the fishing fleet
There are older thatched buildings and a few attractive streets but the town has quite a lot of modern development. There is a busy shopping street and also many stores, including an excellent fishmonger, around the harbour.
Think that we will stick to the Bromptons on the boat!
As this was also the fourth day of sunshine and the temperature was now in the mid-20s the town and adjacent beaches were very busy. However we were in ringside position to listen to the jazz throughout the evening; and of course we were able to buy smoked fish for our meal.
A sailor on a Swedish yacht next to us asked if we has visited Molle in Sweden. He said that it was worth visiting, a small harbour close to the end of the peninsular north of Malmo. Get there by noon he suggested. It was only about 11nm across the Oresund from Gilleleje and we left around 0830 and for over an hour had a pleasant close reach sail before the wind died. Arriving at the harbour we discovered how small it was but we managed to get alongside the quay. By early afternoon we had four boats rafted outside us as did our only other neighbours on the short quay. Immediately alongside us were a Swedish family who were based in the Archipelago (on the E coast around Stockholm). I had a useful chat with them about when high season was for that area. I had already learnt that schools in Sweden have only limited holidays around Christmas and Easter but that schools are usually closed in June and July. The advice we had from this sailor was that in June as the sea was still a little chilly, the tempo was slow to pick up. July was very busy but in early August it became much quieter and the sea was still warm. So if, as planned, we go that way next year we will be at home in July and away from early August again.. This was the warmest day of our Baltic trip with the temperature around 27C. This is a small village but apparently full of holiday homes. On a sunny Saturday there were plenty of holiday makers around the harbour and on the nearby beaches. 
Molle harbour from the top of the hill
In the afternoon we took the cliff walk alongside the coast which took us through woods, scrubland with sheep and alongside a golf course to the end of the peninsular at Kullaberg where there is also a lighthouse. This whole area from just outside Molle is a nature reserve and thus protected from development, with of course excellent views. Some of the footpath was quite difficult terrain but we felt that the three hour walk was a good workout as well as offering interesting views.
We had advised the boats that tied up outside of us that we wished to leave at 0900 on Sunday morning. So around then boats started slipping their moorings and we were soon underway. It was another sunny morning with blue sky and a flat sea with very little wind so with the other yachts we were motoring S losing about 1 knot to the prevailing current in the Oresund. Our plan was to see if the island of Ven was less crowded than when we called in about 5 days previously but if not to head for the nearby Swedish port of Landskrona. We weren't surprised to find Ven still busy and not being keen on another busy harbour we went on a further 5nm (32nm in all) to Landskrona. This town has some commercial docks as well as the ferry to Ven and is easy to spot as there are half a dozen wind turbines on an island just to the south of the buoyed channel entrance. After a sailing club there is a very small marina (well just three pontoons really) fringed by some new flats on one side and old converted warehouses on the other; and there was plenty of space. 
Whileaway in the harbour at Landskrona
This is clearly a working town but with wide cobbled streets and some impressive historical buildings. But in addition signs of some economic decline with empty shops and areas awaiting redevelopment. In addition there was a fine Citadel which we walked around as well as an artificial beach and areas where people could swim in the sea. We also saw electric trolley buses (the signage claiming that it was running off 100% renewable electricity) and buses that were running, so they said, off biogas.
The Citadel
The following day we motored 15nm across the Oresund to Copenhagen having decided to stay at the sailing club that runs Margretheholm marina. This marina is not in the most attractive location, being close to the major power plant for the city, but it did have a good access, space and, as we were to learn, an interesting walk or cycle into the city.
On the Monday we decided to walk to the city and this gave us the opportunity to see many of the city centre sights. Apart from the extensive waterside these included the new (just opened in 2016) pedestrian/cycle opening bridge Inderhavnsbroen; the picturesque Nyhavn, Hotel d'Angleterre; Parliament; Stock Exchange; Law Courts; Stroget (the main shopping street); the oldest street in Copenhagen; Paper Island with its street food outlets; old military bases now converted to offices or residential; and many canals reminiscent (but on a smaller scale) of Amsterdam! 
The following day we made use of Copenhagen's excellent cycle paths and went to Christiania (the 1970's created commune on redundant government land); both sides of the main canal; the cycling snake taking you between buildings at a higher level; the Torve Hallerne kbh food market (where we had a very nice lunch); Botanical Gardens; Amalienborgslot (home of the current queen); and the Little Mermaid (of course, but over rated perhaps). Most memorably we visited Vor Frelsers Kirke (Our Saviours Church) built in the seventeenth century and with a striking interior. But more striking was our decision to climb the 95 metre bell tower, 400 steps, the last 150 spiralling up outside the tower giving you about five 360 degree views as you wind your way round. The steps narrow to the point where they disappear at the very top! So there you are, squeezed between the tower and a narrow railing but with sensational views across the city. 

The city from Vor Frelsers Kirke
Unfortunately a German lady half way up the last 150 steps couldn't cope any more and was clinging to the tower with her eyes shut! We did manage to get down again just before noon and the bells and the carillon sprang into life. We have been up quite a few high buildings including other cathedral and church towers, lighthouses etc but none have quite equated to this. 

Close up of Vor Frelsers Kirke spiral tower
 On Wednesday the sky was overcast for our short 8nm journey S along the coast, under the airport flight path returning to the harbour at Dragor. We are leaving the boat here until early September and we found the space that had been reserved for us. At a cost of under £13 per day (usual daily rate around £18) this is good value for money. As a comparison it is a little less than a summer berth on the west coast of France and a lot less than on the south coast of England where it would cost at least £25 - £30 pd (£17 - £20 average cost if you have an annual contract).In addition Dragor is only 15 minutes by bus from Copenhagen Airport from where we fly to Bristol on Friday evening.
Looking back on the last five weeks we have covered just under 400nm, making our total so far this year just over 850nm. From Amsterdam, through the Markermeer and the Ijsselmeer and then the North Holland Canal to Delfzijl. Then out to the German East Frisian Islands, Norderney and Wangerooge, down the River Elbe and then the Kiel Canal and into the Baltic Sea. We visited some German ports, including Fehmarn Island and then our first port of call in Denmark was Bagenkop on the island of Langeland. From there we visited the islands of Aero, Fyn, Agerso, Femo and lastly Sjaelland, including Copenhagen. We have also visited some ports on the Swedish W coast including Malmo. When we return in September we plan to head S again as we will be finishing at Fehmarn where we will be leaving Whileaway for the winter.