2022 The return journey from Middelfart
Anchorage south-east of Middelfart
Saturday 23-July-2022 Departure from Middelfart
At 10.15 I disconnect from the Ellya, after wishing each other a good journey. Sam and Cees continue north and I south again.
I have no immediate plans, other than to start the return journey. I have roughly one month left to get to Helgoland by the end of August. After that I have roughly another month to get back home, which means 2 October in Leiden.
On the journey to Middelfart I had spotted a nice bay with mooring buoys about 5 Nm south-east of Middelfart. Two hours later I moored at another free mooring buoy It had become a lot colder about 15℃.
It is a beautiful bay like most, but because of the forests up to the water’s edge, no beaches to take the dinghy to for a walk. We did manage to spot some wildlife crossing the water
After 5 days of making ship shape, updating blog and Youtube, I decide to go again on 28-July at 09.30 and steer to Assens/Toro. Again, I find a free mooring buoy. I found it a nice place to lie and could go to shore with my dinghy. I took a long walk across the peninsula and swam in the sea. As I needed some fresh groceries, I saw on the map that there was a Brugsen supermarket in the harbour of Assens.
So I decided to sail across the bay (2 km) with my dinghy, loaded with phone+solar charger and a big backpack for groceries. That was a tough crossing, because the water was rougher than I had expected. That made me think that if my outboard motor stopped working, I would have a tough trip back to row. But fortunately it kept working. Loaded with fresh vegetables, potatoes and fruit, I came back on board, where Simba already knew the sound of my engine and was waiting for me cooing in the gangway.
I should not have waited until the next day, because then there was a wind 4 north, which made the Asmara flap about quite a bit even behind her mooring buoy.
Kalvo baai 2/8-9/8
My intention was to sail back on the East side, so if I want to continue now, I have to cross the narrowest part of the Little Belt to that East side. I am looking for a bay near Kalvo. But as the wind and direction on my planned date of departure is more than 4 Bft and from a southerly direction, I will have to fight wind, waves and current to get there. According to windguru there is a weather slot on 2/8 between sunrise 05.30 and 09.00. That weather slot gives little or no wind increasing to 4 around 09.00, so no waves until then.
So on 2/8 I leave at 05.50 to make the crossing to Kalvo. And indeed when I leave there is no wind and the sea is smooth. I four my mackerel line with paravanes and decide not to sail faster than 3 Knots (5.5km/h).
Because of the paravanes, the line dives down at an angle, and when a fish is approaching, it pulls the line tight again and rises to the surface, revealing the floundering fish. I can see all this on my plotter by switching on the rear camera. So I only have to go outside to catch up. Now, it was quite cold that morning and at that time, barely 16℃, so I turned on the heater. After about 5 and a half hours of sailing, I reach the bay of Kalvo, nothing caught, so the mackerel line goes back inside. Now I have to find a suitable spot. I find another beautiful cove free for all winds except North and here is also a mooring buoy free, so I do not have to worry about that either.
At 11.22, I tie up at the mooring buoy. I sometimes wonder how these things are actually anchored to the seabed. Because when I look into the clear water under the large skippy ball, I only see a rusty chain. How much pulling power could such a skippy ball withstand and what if the chain is half rusted through? There is always one link that is the weakest. Let me assume that these things are also checked.
I had a small beach next to me with the dinghy, so I went there the next day to have a look. The whole bay was surrounded by woods. So, armed with phone + charger, battery bank, beer, towel and book, I set off. And then, all of a sudden, you are completely surrounded by a forest, devoid of any sunlight, on an unpaved walking path.
Of course, on board I had first checked with Google maps which way I would go but they did not indicate any paths, partly because of the dense vegetation of the forest. I also checked if there was a supermarket somewhere, because I would take that along in my walk, but the nearest one was a brugsen at 5km, so that didn’t seem a good option. The weather was excellent today, lots of sun 27℃ little wind and temperature in the forest oppressive and humid.
At the fork in the wood I put a tree branch pointing in the direction where I had to turn on the way back, as Google maps were no help here either. At the first fork in the road, I also marked a waypoint in Google maps so that later on I would at least know which reference point to keep. The terrain was quite hilly, the way there I walked almost exclusively uphill. After the third fork in the road, I suddenly emerged from the forest, full of sunlight and looking out over rolling cornfields.
I walked past it for a while, but once I got to the top I saw that it ran around a kind of inland lake where in the distance were all kinds of holiday bungalows, well I don’t want to go there. I stopped at a beautiful large Camille plant and thought, ha, for tea. But I forgot to photograph it.
Walking back, before the edge of the forest, there was a path down to the left along the corn field, which I followed, it led to that inland lake. But you couldn’t get to the water’s edge because of the bushes. There was a slope down to the lake. I found a nice spot there, got out a beer, had a cigar and enjoyed reading in the sunshine. How terribly beautiful Danish nature is.
After half an hour, we picked up again and decided to walk back to the boat and forgot to pick up some of that Camille. The way back was not difficult to find despite the four splits. Once back at my dinghy, I swam from the beach in my nude and then rowed back to the boat. The distance to the boat was so short that I did not use the motor.
The next few days, the weather was beautiful and the temperatures high, so I put up a sunshade on the afterdeck.
I also wanted to see if I could do some shopping, but as mentioned earlier, too far away. Except for a kiosk at the campsite across the bay, according to google it was indeed a kiosk at the campsite there, on the photo the shop looked pretty well equipped, so decided to take the plunge and cross the 2 km bay with the dinghy to the campsite. But first I made a stop at a Dutch boat anchored not far from me.
I had already looked at that boat a few times and taken photos of it with my telephoto lens. So I went alongside and called out “Ahoi, Sepia” and the man and woman, Peter and Anneke, raised their heads and chatted about who I was, what sort of boat they had, etc. Their sailing boat was a steel multiknik vdStad design, with a streamlined cabin from the sides with full glass and a teak oval cabin entrance. I handed them a card and promised to send them the photos. Their boat was moored in Denmark for the year, so they could use it a lot in the summer in beautiful surroundings.
Then I continued to my goal the Kiosk on the other side of the bay, again there was more wind and waves in the middle than was pleasant, but I arrived at the Kiosk. And that was ten times nothing, no fresh what I had hoped for (tomatoes, onions, fruit, bread) but just a lot of knickknacks and milk, beer, butter, chips etc. So, without any change, I had to buy a small bag of groceries.
Once back in my boat, I started the engine and then hit a rock under water with the propeller. These things are designed for that, as it breaks the pin of the propeller (that is what they are made for). So the engine just roared, but no progress. Rowed back to the shallows and got out. The motor tilted upwards and the propeller turned freely without resistance. Jesus, I thought, must I now row the 2 km back?
The propeller blade has a cotter pin to keep the blade on its axis. I had no tools with me. So I tried to get the cotter pin out with a small key from the cable lock. I finally succeeded. In the meantime, a Danish man came up beside me and told me that he was going to walk to his boat through the water up to his waist to get a pair of pliers, after which he came back with one of those all-in-one pliers that I also have on board.
Every outboard motor has 2 cotter pins and 2 split pins in reserve, luckily mine too. Using his multitool and a rock from the water as a hammer, he managed to tap out the remaining part of the shear pin, put the spare in, put the propeller blade back on the shaft and secured it with the still usable cotter pin. Job done.
The motor worked again. I thanked him a thousand times for his help. You will understand that I will not sail without a tool in my bag again. The engine ran like a dream again and brought me safely to the Asmara, where Simba was already waiting for me.
In the bay where I was moored, there were at least five boats around me, some at mooring buoys, but most at anchor. So I was sitting in the sunshine on the back deck and heard a splash between the boat and the reed bank, at the moment I looked in that direction I only saw movement in the water. But a few seconds later, a little further to the shore in 2 metres of water, I suddenly saw five black dorsal fins shooting through the water, causing quite a stir. Then I grabbed my Canon with telephoto lens, hoping that something similar would happen, but after fifteen minutes I put it away, playtime was apparently over. The boat next to me was also ready with a camera all the time. These were undoubtedly porpoises that were hunting, I do not know what, as I have tried several times before to catch something with a spinner, without result.
Saturday 6/8/22 cold day 15.8℃ and north wind, I turned on the heater to get the cold out of the boat.
I have been in doubt for some time as to what my next destination would be. I don’t want to go to the harbours because I don’t have much financial reserve. And I have to save up for next year, because then I want to go through the Gota Canal and that will be an expensive trip. I decide to make the short trip to the next bay anyway, especially since I have also seen that there is an Aldi and a Lidl at short walking distance. And since I only have 3 bottles of Chardonnay, a box of 6 is welcome. As well as water and some extra beer and fresh vegetables. So at 11:20 we lifted anchor and sailed with a speed of 10 times nothing (1.7 Kts), no wind and sea with a single ripple. So I decided to use a trolling line for mackerel and a spinner on the rod. When I am near the harbour at around 17.00, I bring in my fishing gear, unfortunately nothing caught, but I did see porpoises again, but they hardly jump out of the water, at most they show their backs. I hope they don’t bite my line or spinner, that would be too many fish for one day.
Entering a harbour this late is a waste of harbour money, so I drop anchor near the harbour and enjoy the evening sun. There is a very light wind 1-2 but just enough to hold a sailing party for the local regatta with 9 to 10 metre sailing boats, I am in first class.
The next day at 09:20, I lift my anchor and sail into the harbour. I hope to find a spot at the back, which is the short walk to the Lidl. Green is free, red is occupied. When I try to enter the penultimate green box, I get stuck between the mooring posts (3.60 metres wide). That leaves me with a place alongside a quay that is at right angles to the crane quay, with three red signs on it. There is a water tap with a hose attached to it, so that goes first into the tank, 600 litres please. We dug out the shopping trolley on board and looked for empty bottles and put them ready. Simba would like to go outside, but I decide not to, I want to leave here this afternoon.
After all the groceries are back on board and I could also buy fresh ragworms (sea anemones) in a box, €15,- yes the fish is paid dearly, I should be able to catch some fish.
Now I have a look in the village, the main street looks cosy, so I take a beer on a terrace. Life is not that bad and maybe a plaice tonight. Once back on board, I cast off around 13.00 and sail out of the harbour, so that’s how it should be, just for groceries and water and no expensive harbour fees for a night’s stay for which you get no added value.
In a couple of hours, I sail to the far port side of the bay and drop my anchor at 15.00 on 10 metres of water. There is a light wind of 2-3 east, but because of this I lie on low land.
The rod goes out immediately and, sure enough, I get a bite. I have already used 4 of the 25 piers and the bites are not as strong as they should be, but when I strike I feel resistance and yes, a small crab, frustrated, I stop immediately, I will not let a bunch of crabs eat my expensive ragworms. I take a glass of Whiskey and light up a cigar. New plan!
Alsfjord / Sonderborg 11/8
I dropped anchor at 09.30 and sailed out of the bay towards Alsfjord near Sonderborg. There is a moderate wind from the south, so the sails can be stowed. I put out a mackerel line and a spinner on the spinning rod. When I get close to Sonderborg at around 12 o’clock and have to sail between the buoys, I bring the whole lot in. Fishing along the way again nothing. I read on the Internet that the catches on the Kleine Belt are bad to very bad this year, with the general tendency being that the catches decrease every year. However, this year, for the first time in 12 years of sailing in the Baltic, I saw porpoises several times, I don’t know if that has anything to do with it.
At 14.30, I reached the bridge that had to be opened for most ships (passage height 5 metres). On a round trip just before the bridge, the sign says 16.38 next opening, so I look for a place along one of the jetties and wait.
At 4.38 p.m. exactly, the bridge turns and an armada of small boats on both sides starts moving towards it. Everything went reasonably smoothly together with counter shipping right through the bridge.
In fact, I am almost at my destination now, just off the starboard side and into the bay called “Vemmingbund”. The bay that forms a semicircle at the end has no harbours, but the semicircle is a long beach with many holiday homes.
I throw out my anchor at 9 metres and try again to catch flatfish (plaice, dab, flounder) with the ragworms. The ragworms seem to have died, a limp drek and no movement. Perhaps the fridge has been too cold, but let’s try again. And sure enough, every now and then I get some strong taps on my rod. But after an hour still nothing and I dump the rest of the ragworms in the sea, €15 down the drain.
As I am far from the shore, I pull up the anchor because according to my map there is an anchor buoy close to the coast. The buoy does not seem to be where it should be according to my chart, but a little further back. I find it and sail cautiously towards it, because I have also seen that this coast is rather rocky. I get my line through the buoy and am in 4 metres of water.
Here I will do another wash and put away my fishing gear. I buy another book on my Kobo e-reader because I have already finished the ones Sam and Cees gave me.
Today, Monday 15 August, is the last day before I sail back to the Kieler Canal. But before that, I first dive into the engine room to check the engine oil, gearbox oil, coolant level, tighten the propeller shaft grease pen and a further general visual check.
We are ready for it. The wind is variable to nothing from different directions but will later blow from the south, 2-3 Bft. So there is no sailing. It can not always be with us. Expect about 12 hours of sailing.
I leave at 07:00 at which time it is still windless in the bay and the sea is smooth. However, I am confronted with a small world, it is quite dense with fog, so the radar is switched on. After an hour the wind comes up, which clears up quickly and turns out to be from the right direction, ZW 3 Bft half wind. So we raise the Genoa and motor towards Kiel at a ground speed of about 4 knots. At the Kieler Bend, the wind slightly shrinks to S/W, a little more to the south, so I change course. Because I used to follow the coastline, I now steer into more sea, so that I can still use the Genoa. When I reach the Kieler Fjord, my course changes to a head wind and I have to take off the Genoa.
The last stretch to Holtenau, the entrance to the lock complex, is now approaching fast, so I make some preparations for passing through the lock.
At about 3.30 p.m., I arrived at the entrance to the lock complex, called Kiel Channel 4 on VHF channel 12 and reported for the lock passage. There are already four other sailing boats circling to go through the south lock, but first the cargo ships in the middle lock are dealt with. Around 4 p.m., the lights go on blinking white and we can enter.
The lock is quite long, so when we enter, I put the boat on automatic at idle speed and hang the Fenders on the waterline on starboard and port side. There, you moor along floating jetties that are 10 cm above the waterline, so I hang a rubber mat in the middle and two large bunches of line in the water to the front and back.
This system protects the hull’s paintwork better than the Fenders, which usually slip out.
Now I quickly unhook the boat from the automatic system and moor quietly to starboard. Then I throw the lines onto the jetty and jump after them myself, because there are only rings on the floating jetties.
After many years through these locks, this has proved to be the best method for a solo sailor.
Around 16.45 I sail into the Kiel Canal, another 2.5 Nm, at KM 85.5 I turn to port into the Flemhudersee where I anchor every year.
At 18.20 I drop my anchor, after 11.5 hours of sailing.
Kiel Canal to Brunsbuttel
I leave the Flemhudersee at 9.40 a.m. It is still warm, although the sun does not show itself, there are many clouds.
Normally, I sail every year Holtenau – Gieselau – Eider – Tonning – Helgoland. But the windguru shows calm weather for the next 5 days, so I will have a critical look at that when I have to decide at Gieselau whether to sail via the Eider and Tonning to Helgoland or to choose Brunsbuttel – Helgoland.
But first I’m going to do what I haven’t done in 12 years of Scandinavia, I’m going into Rensburg for some shopping and water replenishment.
From the Flemhudersee (km85.5) to Rensburg is about 3 hours sailing. I therefore moor on 18-8 at the end jetty of the Regatta-Verein port. Harbour fee 24,- incl.electricity, water and showers. And within walking distance the Lidl and Aldi so the fresh supplies, water and electricity are replenished.
From Rensburg I leave 19-8 again late at about 13.40, next stop Gieselau to decide whether it will be Brunsbuttel or the Eider River. Arrival at Gieselau at KM40 at 17.37. If you have never been there before, there are a few points of interest:
1. You can stay the night for free
2. There are nice longitudinal jetties, no facilities, but you can dispose of your waste.
3. If you want to cast off, put on a few sturdy springs and enough fenders, because if a container ship passes by, it will empty half the canal and vice versa. And that is accompanied by the necessary short violence!
4. You can pay full or half canal money, depending on where you are coming from or going to. No pin! So cash, you get a receipt that the canal money is paid.
5. If you want to go on the Eider look at my website and type “Eider” in the search field.
The weather conditions for my return trip still seem favourable for a short passage to Lauwersoog in three days. So I decide to sail to Brunsbuttel and from there at high tide to Helgoland.
On 21-8 I sailed into the small port on the starboard side and the next day, at high tide, I went through the lock onto the Elbe. Port fees € 10, – including electricity (4 Amp!).
Supermarket within walking distance and eating facilities on the waterfront.
The next morning at 10 o’clock, with high tide, I go through the lock and ride with the tide to Helgoland, where I reach a SOG (ground speed) of 7.7 knots, which is 4 knots of current. If I had to go against the current I would sail half a mile backwards. The last blog for this season is expected around mid-October.
There is a series of ten YouTube video’s from this years trip, spoken in Dutch but subtitled in English, you can reach this tru the menu knob, if you like it push the button to become a member of my Youtube channel and y’ll be the first to receive info of a new release.