The Kiel Canal to Rendsburg
Rensburg, 21 June 2012
9pm local time and safely ensconced in our first box mooring! Roger is so excited that he can’t stop talking! We’ve just had an ersatz supper of chorizo and beans with rice (Bet will recognise this) and I shall write whilst Roger washes up.
It’s been a glorious, sunny day, with a cold easterly wind. Getting out of the berth in Cuxhaven was a bit of a challenge: the boat was being blown off the pontoon onto the neighbours next door. The tide was due to change at 11am local; we left (with assistance from said Dutch neighbours) at 10.30, to fight the last of the ebb out of the Elbe, and so gain a bit of time on the journey to the locks at Brunsbuttel. The advice from the harbour mistress was that the tide was stronger on the north side of the river: so, in line with “the rules” the first task was to cross the river at Cuxhaven at right angles, and so avoid the potential fine for deviating from the prescribed 90 degree angle. Almost immediately, in the shallows, the boat picked up a favourable eddy that counteracted the ebb. We got to Brunsbuttel and had a couple of slices of Asda toast with Church House marmalade before going into the lock at half past one.
Locks are always a bit challenging! We were escorted by the Danish navy and a plethora of small boats. We were almost the last into the lock and snuck in behind the navy.
Once out the other side, the majority of the small boats peeled off into the little marina at Brunsbuttel – only 4-5 boats carried on. The canal has a number of sidings (sic with rotting wooden dolphins for big boats to moor; but Rendsburg, at 66km from Brunsbuttel is the first recommended halt for smaller boats. The canal closes to small boats 1 hour before official sunset at 9.30pm, so it was important that we arrived before 8.30pm local. The canal is wide and peaceful, with trees and cycle paths on both sides. It’s very pleasant and rural – unless there are 2 or three + boats passing, in which case it all feels a bit crowded!
One of the most interesting things about Germany is how pristine everything is! Immaculate paintwork on the ships, the cranes, and all the equipment. Nary a rust mark in sight!
After each siding there is a floating bridge; the fixed bridges all have 40m clearance, so no problems there. Just before the turning into the Obereidersee to Rendsburg there is a transporter bridge, with a big cable car hanging below a railway bridge to transport people and cycles across the canal.
And so to the box mooring… a very helpful Dutchman from The Dutchess helped us into the mooring. It’s bows-to, with two stout posts to attach to at the stern. I asked Roger how much clearance there was between the posts: he’s unclear as at the critical moment he says that he says he just closed his eyes and hoped for the best! Getting ashore requires a clamber over the bow onto the staging. Getting the bikes ashore will be a bit of a do, I expect. The harbour master came to ask that we sign in before 10pm local – the cost is 38.60 euros for 2 days including electricity, but no internet access. We have to go to the internet café next to the MacDo for free access, so this will upload tomorrow 22/6. Our other neighbours, Germans in “Painted Lady” tell us that as this is Kiel week, it’s a good idea to remain in the canal til Sunday. Good advice!