Log #15a Kiel to Danish Islands

June 28, 2000 in Log Series 11 - 19, Logs by Series, Series 15 Baltic & North Sea, The Logs

Log #15a Kiel to Danish Islands

Written June 28/00
At Arisaig, Scotland
Covers the period May 3 to May 10/00

The British Kiel Yacht Club is located less the a mile from the Holtenau Locks, the exit from the Kiel Canal on the north side of the Kiel estuary, at a German military flughafen in a suburb called Friedrichsort. As mentioned in my last log, the base commander is the LHR for the Cruising Association, and as such made us most welcome, as I suspect he would any cruiser visiting the BKYC. The facilities were excellent. Although they have box moorings, we came alongside the end of the T-jetty where we could step on the dock and have easy access to electricity and water. The fee was DM25  (about $ 18.00 Cdn or £7 UK) which included electricity, water, showers (Yes, they do have a bathtub in the women’s heads), and a bar. There is a dining hall but this is for military people only. No shopping or laundromat is available in the immediate vicinity, but bus routes run past the base.

We took a ferry from Friedrichsort over to Loboe to see the German Naval Museum and Memorial. Kiel was a major naval and U-boat base for Germany. The WW II U-boat open for visitors is in good shape, and, despite its age, more spacious than the Oberon class boats the Canadian Navy is still using and also than the newer Upholder class submarines we are getting from the Royal Navy.

The museum was very good, with displays in chronological sequence showing the contribution the navy and maritime resources have made to Germany, including the acquisition of a colonial empire, and the contributions to WW I and WW II. All the explanatory information was in German only, but with our limited knowledge of German we could understand the gist of the displays, charts, graphs, pictures and models. It portrayed with maps and charts such naval engagements as the Battle of Jutland, the sinking of the Hood, Graf Spee, Bismark and Tirpitz, the flight of the cruisers Prinz Eugene and Scharnhorst through the English Channel, the seizure of Norway, the U-boat campaigns, and the successes of their merchant raiders. The U-boat campaign was mapped on a month by month basis, indicating shipping sunk and U-boats sunk. The reversals starting in 1943 showing the increasing rates at which the U-boats were sunk indicated the great loss of those vessels and their crew. Very good ship models of the Tirpitz and other battle cruisers of WW II as well as the more modern warships participating with NATO were on display. There is a very somber subterranean rotunda with plaques commemorating specific ships, including the major battleships sunk, and memorial wreaths laid by shipmates, families and other ships and nations. One long wall had glass silhouettes of the various classes of ships sunk, and the numbers of each that were lost. It was a very fitting commemoration to the war dead. Above this is a very high tower with an elevator to the top giving a panoramic view of the Kiel estuary and that part of the Holstein coastline.

This was the naval and maritime memorial. The U-boat memorial is further down the Kiel estuary, at Moltenort. It too is a moving memorial to the hundreds of U-boats and their crews which were sunk in the form of a memorial wall, not unlike the Vietnam memorial wall in Washington. This wall has the number of each U-boat in consecutive order, indicating the date launched, sunk, and the number of crew lost. The sheer numbers of U-boats sunk is daunting. The horrors of war!

As we strolled down the Strande along the sandy beaches, we noticed that there were “pay and display” machines at each entrance to the beach requiring a ticket to go on the beach. These machines are very common for on street parking over here in the UK and Europe, but for us, this was a first — for the beach!

On May 5, we left the BKYC and after refuelling at the large marina at Stickenhorn, we proceeded out into the Baltic, up the Kieler Bucht to Sonderborg on the Danish island of Als. The trip was good sailing with views of several tall ships which operate charters out of Kiel. We noted the entry buoy into the Sonderborg Bucht seemed to be about about 200 meters south of its plotted position on the border line between Germany and Denmark. Border incursions? Although there was a large “jachthafen” at the entrance, and a long stretch of town docks on the waterfront, we anchored a half mile north of the bridge in Als Sound, off a pleasant pastoral shoreline at Mollebucht, unfortunately complete with barnyard smells of manure. Oh well!

We dinghied into Sonderberg and toured the local castle museum and walked the couple of kilometers to Dybol Mill, an important battlefield in Danish history. It was a worthwhile tour to learn of the history of the area and the border disputes between the duchies of Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark. The actual mill around which the battles took place is a traditional windmill which allowed us to go through the different levels of it to see how a windmill operated. We found most Danes spoke some English, and had no difficulty in communications.

The next day we had a pleasant sail up the Als Sund out the Als Fjord to anchor in another pastoral setting(with no barnyard fragrance) at the head of Stresvig, a bay on the north west of Als which led down to another jachthaven, which we skipped. We like the isolation, tranquility, and economy of anchoring when possible. We were rewarded with a radiant glowing sunset across the Als and Aabenraa Fjords. As we sailed around the northern tip of Als, our destination was originally to be Aeroskobing, a quaint historic town, and then to go up the Store (Great) Baelt route north of Sjaelland around to Helsingborg and down to Kobenhaven. However, the winds were contrary for such a course, so we ran up the Lille (Little) Baelt off the west coast of Fyn. After having anchored for a pleasant lunch in a secluded bay between the small island of Toro and the south west of Fyn, we pressed on with favourable winds up to another tranquil anchorage in the Gamborg Fjord just south of Middelfart on the north west corner of Fyn.

From Gamborg Fjord we wended our way through the Snaevringen, the shipping channel which separates Fyn from the Jylland (Jutland) peninsula, going past Frederica out into the Samsø Baelt across the north coast of Fyn. After a night’s anchorage at Korshavn on Fyn and then another night at Rørvig at the mouth of the Isefjord on Sjaelland, we sighted the castle at Helsingor; Elsinor, the castle of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark of Shakespeare’s play. However, we went across the channel to Helsingborg in Sweden as we wanted to meet some relatives there. The Helsingborg Yacht Club was the nicest club/marina we have ever been in. More about the Swedish luxury of this accommodation in my next log.