Here I continue the last part of my journey from Svendborg Bay to the island of Aeroskobing and from there along the German/Danish coast to Kiel.
01 August 2021 Svenborg – Æer∅
I leave at 10:00 from my mooring buoy in the bay south of Svenborg. In that place I had my two Tatoo’s put in 2015, a 3-d anchor on my left upper arm and a Scorpion on my belly under my pants, this way at least they can identify me quickly if I drift somewhere.
My plan is to stay two nights in Aeroskobing harbour and then anchor for a longer period south of the harbour.
When I enter the channel towards Svendborg there is a strong current, 3.4 through the water 6Kts ground speed. The weather is good, a strong wind 5-6 from the southwest with cumulus clouds. I put up no sails because in the 4.5 hours to Aeroskobing I have to sail continuously through a winding channel, with the last straight part against the wind. At 14:35 I disembark in Ær∅skobing.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
The island of Ær∅
Nature and geology of Ær∅
Ær∅ became an island as a result of a dramatic rise in sea level after the last ice age, which ended about 11,700 years ago. The rising water level at that time created one of the largest “drowned” Ice Age landscapes in the world: “The Southern Funen Archipelago Geopark” which was established in 2018 by the municipalities of Svendborg, Faaborg-Midfyn, Langeland and Aer∅, with the aim of raising awareness of the region’s unique geological, natural and cultural heritage.
Until 1856, Ær∅ actually consisted of two islands connected by a narrow stony reef – called a “Drej” in Danish. The two islands were separated by a large, shallow stretch of coastal water. Grasten Nor (inlet), named after the large ducal mansion that stood at the western end of the reef (Drejet).
In 1856, a dam was built between the two islands and two pump mills were put into operation to drain the whole area. This took 24 years, after which the drained land could be used as hayfield and pasture. Grasten Nor is the largest uninterrupted stretch of meadowland in the region on Fyn, making it a popular destination among nature lovers. Interesting flowers that grow here include the beautiful and protected May orchid. This has more than 75,000 flowering specimens on one hectare of land – perhaps the largest collection of wild orchids in Denmark. There is an 8 km long, signposted nature walk around the bay.
The island Ær∅ covers an area of 90 km² and measures about 30 km in length and 9 km in width. Most of the 6000 inhabitants live in Marstal, Ær∅skobing or Soby. It has a small airport for two-engine planes. On the hilly landscape, nature is bustling with life. Village life is scattered along the road from Marstal to Soby. Driving through the villages, you get a taste of the undisturbed and idyllic life of yesteryear. Cows, horses and grazing sheep on the fertile land with its small dykes and hedges that border the neatly kept houses and farms, gardens with plenty of flowers and fruit trees line the main street. You will also find local sales stalls near the houses or farms, ranging from bric-a-brac to home-grown fruit and vegetables. The main vegetable in the season is peas in their skins, which every supermarket recommends as the main vegetable. I love them.
If you want to buy things other than a supermarket, you should go to Marstal. This town also has beautiful houses, but Ær∅skobing wins! The town of Æroskobing is the most authentic (some parts more than 750 years old) with beautiful cobble-stone streets and half-timbered houses, also you will find here many shops that sell many home-made products. Like the shop that sells Ær∅ Whiskey, bottled and made on the island. But too expensive for me, prices of 50-100 euros. Also on the island they sell their own brand of beer of course with the name Æro. From the city of Soby the most interesting is the Electric ferry. On Ær∅ there are campsites, there is a golf course on the northern point, a small airport. The island won in 2002 a prize as the most prestigious town, as a preserved cultural heritage.
Monday 2 August Ær∅
The next day, a Dutch botter (retro-classic) the “Silveren Maen” moors at my boat with two men and three women on board, presumably all related to each other. This is the second Dutch ship that I will encounter on this trip.
On Tuesday afternoon, August 3, I leave the harbour as planned and look for an anchorage on 2 metres of water next to the harbour. After this, I lower my dinghy for the shuttle service to the shore, a distance of about 50 metres, half of which can be walked through the water with a sandy bottom.
I now know that there is a free bus service on the island that runs all year round from north to south and vice versa. You can go to Marstal the most southern place (15 minutes) and to Soby the most northern place (30 minutes), those bus routes go through a number of small villages.
Thursday 5 August Ær∅
The weather forecast predicts for tonight and tomorrow stronger winds of 6-7 Beaufort from the East with a squall line, which is a line of showers with thunderstorms. By the end of the day, most of the anchored boats have left, with the exception of a large converted German tugboat. I decided to stay put because it would take two days at most. At night, I switch on my anchor watch on my Iphone and put it next to my bed.
Friday 6 August Ær∅
The night has been reasonably quiet, I have not been woken up by the anchor alarm and am still in the same spot. The wind is still strong from the East. The wind has dropped to 4-5.
Saturday 7 August Ær∅
Today I take the boat to the shore again to drive with the Jesper bus to Marstal. There is a shop there that also sells fishing gear and I want to buy a simple fly fishing set. Years ago (2006) I did the same in Austria. But I do not have that material anymore. So I arrived in Marstall, which is the biggest and most southern harbour of Aero, made some film recordings for my next Youtube movie, bought a nice fishing rod and had a nice lunch on a terrace in the sun.
Sunday, August 8
The wind is still strong, but is now coming from a more favourable direction South-Southwest which gives more shelter from the waves and therefore calmer water. There were some showers with heavy rain, but no thunderstorms. I spent the day fishing for plaice. I used dried worms, which you have to let soak in water for three minutes, they should be as good as fresh ones. Well I didn’t catch anything with them but I often got stuck in seaweed. I think it was just too shallow, only 3 metres of water. A few years ago CJ and I fished in 10 metres of water off the coast of Langeland and with fresh worms. I think those two factors make the difference, because we caught well then. In the afternoon I called it a day and sat in the sun and continued reading my book by Obama (“The promised land”) with a snack and a glass of Whiskey.
Monday 9 August Ær∅
Again I took the Jesper bus and went to the northernmost harbour town Soby. Here I also made some recordings for my Youtube movie. This place has a different layout than usual. Usually, the harbours also contain the centre of the town or village, but not here. There is only a restaurant in the harbour, but not a single shop. I went for a walk in Soby and saw a spaciously laid-out area with beautiful houses, where you didn’t have the idea that you were walking in an authentic harbour town. Looking for a centre on my phone, I couldn’t really find it, only a supermarket and a bakery in the direction of the harbour. But there is a ferry in Soby, a 100% electric ferry and the Danes are rightly proud of that. If you consider the electrical power used by the engines and valves for driving up and down, there must be gigantic batteries in it. The boat is called Ellen. From Soby, it sails to Als and Faaborg. From Aeroskobing there is a ferry to Svendborg and from Marstal the ferry goes to Rudkobing on Langeland.
When I got back to the boat at around 17.00, I was surprised to see that there was another large motor boat (25×5 metres) anchored fairly close to me. And to my astonishment, the Leiden flag was flying. Of course I jumped into my boat and met Ruud and his wife who have completely rebuilt their boat, an old German coastguard boat, and live on it as well. He is from Leiden and she is from Zeeland. His hometown is Valkenburg (ZH).
I stay anchored near this island for almost 3 weeks. So I unfolded my bicycle and took a rubber boat to the beach to cycle to the other side of the island to go fly-fishing. I knew that on my folding bike without electricity, small wheels. I gained respect for the cyclists who pedal up a col in the summer. I gave up at the first hill and walked the rest of the way up, only to hurtle back down again at deadly speed. I think I approached 50km/h sometimes and that on such a small bike, the older the crazier. But I have been busy all day.
I soon got the hang of the technique, even though I had only done it once. I walked into the water in my shorts, with a net and magnet attached to my belt. The bottom was not sand but small pebbles, a reason to fish for sea trout here. Also, the water was rather turbulent with some waves. Fortunately, I was wise enough to leave my Iphone in my bag.
After an hour of not catching anything, I went back to the beach and put my trousers in the sun to dry. There I was, sitting at a picnic table in the sun, drinking a beer, when a car arrived with a Danish number plate man/woman who wanted to go swimming. Not a word, they greeted me and stripped off all their clothes to go swimming. I love this freedom.
I had already observed this freedom on the boat close to the beach. There is a path on the slope where people often walk or the inhabitants of the row of houses with their back garden on that path and looking out to sea walk there with their dogs. For example, one morning I was walking to the foredeck to take off my anchor light and I saw two people (man woman) come out of their backyard naked, cross the path and walk down the slope to the sea where they went swimming.
In the afternoon, my trousers still hadn’t dried, so this time I went into the water bare-chested with my fishing rod to try again, but again nothing. The only thing you have to watch out for when you are naked is that the fly doesn’t land on your young sirloin, because then you have a completely different catch!
At the end of the afternoon, I got back on my bike, my trousers were dry again and I chose a different route to cycle back. I came across two plum trees that were hanging over and the trees were yellow with plums, as was the ground beneath them. I picked up a lot of freshly fallen plums and when that wasn’t enough, I gave the branches a few nudges, causing dozens of them to fall down again. I put them all in my net.
In the end, I did not catch a trout, but I did catch a net full of plums (I suspect reine claude). Back in the boat around 17.00, Simba had no news for me, but she did coo and was happy to see me again and everything was still looking good. So I had a nice glass of whiskey, gave Simba her afternoon snack and started to make plum jam with a very small dash of rum as flavour essence and a clove. It turned out to be delicious.
This was for me the third time that I visited this island, I will certainly come back here more often. Of course I also feel a kinship because of the name Ær∅, after all my websites happen to be called Aerotaxi (freely translated Air taxi) and my new shop shop.aerotaxi.nl, the latter where I sell my goods both new and second hand, but especially I try to sell my paintings.
For the last few days on Ær∅, the wind is strong and the temperature has dropped to 18℃ during the day. I am the only boat here again. But my time is also running out. I have made a schedule for the return trip. Today is 18 August and tomorrow the wind will be favourable and I will sail back to Kiel, the entrance to the Baltic Sea Canal, in 8 hours. I had seen on Facebook that my sailing friends Jack and Jolanda, who I know from the harbour in Aalsmeer where they used to moor their boat (2009), now have a catamaran and were planning to sail from IJmuiden to Stockholm with it. So I followed them via AIS. They sailed non-stop from IJmuiden to Rensburg about 3/4 on the Kiel Canal. (Departure IJmuiden 14/8 12:00 and arrival Rensburg 16/8 18:30) Chapeau! They are now waiting for the strong wind, we will probably not have a beer together, but we will pass each other.
My further schedule Kiel 19/8 – 20/8 Gieselau KM40 Kiel Canal – 21/8 Eider River – 23/8 Tonning Last port before the North Sea – 24/8 Helgoland (refuel and buy Whiskey) – 25/8 Norderney (German Wadden Island) – 27/8 Borkum (Eems) – 31/8 Groningen – 3/9 Lauwersmeer – 5/9 Dokkum – 1/10 Leiden via Friesland. This schedule obviously depends on the weather gods.