Friday, 16 June 2017

DENMARK. 16th June

Laboe to Sonderberg was just 35 miles in perfect conditions. The sea was flat and sun shining. A very snug little anchorage just south west of the city provided a good stopover. With marina prices in the AU$40 range we would just as soon anchor if the opportunity presents. We've still to recommission our 13 year old Mercury 15hp outboard and the new dingy hasn't had a wetting yet. 
The following morning we hopped the short leg to Sonderborg. Just 100m from where we tied Taipan on the City Dock the Sonderborg Castle presides over the entry to the straits between ALS and mainland Denmark. The Castle itself is over 800 years old and houses a museum. We wiled away several hours exploring its confines and brushing up on our Danish history. The Schleswig Holstein area has been contested for centuries by the Germans and Danish. Passions run high and blood has been let over these lands. Unfortunately most of the displays are in Danish but we did manage to get the general gist of it. Over the bridge and 3 km away upon the hill is a Windmill and site of the Battlefield Museum. Sonderborg is a small city of only 27 thousand inhabitants. The surrounding lands are extensively planted to wheat and barley which at this time of year is running to head. It will be harvested towards August There are surprisingly few livestock but most farms have huge barns. Perhaps the stock are housed inside??

Weather determines most of our moves here so with inclement weather approaching we decided to head 12 nm north up the straits to a small anchorage in Dyvig near Nordborg in northern Als. The entrance to the fully enclosed tiny harbour was very narrow. perhaps only 15 meters. There was plenty of depth but it was daunting nevertheless. Safely inside with never less than a meter under us we dropped the pick and settled in to enjoy the wildlife and lovely view. 
Dyvig Badhotel

Skinny entrance to Dyvig
Tucked into one corner of the harbour is a Marina and Hotel. The Dyvig Badehotel is a relatively new development built in 07. Its a 4 star hotel and caters to mostly German tourists. Opposite the hotel is another marina, Dyvig Yacht harbour. 

Next day was very windy with the odd shower so after some deliberation we decided to stay put and get the dingy off. The new Walker Bay Genesis 310 RIB was purchased second hand in Makkum and we know very little about it. Having launched it and recommissioned the outboard it was time to try it out. Well we are pretty impressed. It rides well and tracks better than the Swift. The Mercury pushes it up onto plane very quickly so all in all we are happy with the decision to trade in the ageing Swift.

With the dingy off, the following morning, we were able to make the short run ashore where we had a very nice cake and coffee at the hotel but we managed to resist the Grange Hermitage with a four figure price-tag.  There are pleasant walking trails around the bays and into Holm, just a kilometre away so we strolled the trails and exercised our boat bound bones. 

Fine again at last and Aeroskobing on the Island of Aero was our aim for the day. We took the scenic route inside a couple of islands as it was such a nice day and arrived at lunchtime after a pleasant 40 nm sail. A couple of hours walking in this picturesque little town was enough to see it all and with plenty of daylight and good weather we chose to up anchor and head on over to Stavoren to shorten the trip the next day.

Stavoren is a very picturesque city with a nice blend of old and new architecture. Its always a pity to pass places by but with the weather window closing again we anchored for the night in a beautiful bay overlooking the Tromse Yacht club and made a reasonably early get away towards Copenhagen. We wanted to be in Copenhagen before the weekend with the hope of getting a berth in the old harbour. 

This plan was foiled by the early onset of unfavourable wind and counter current so we pulled into a marina, there being no suitable anchorages for protection from the forecasted strong westerlies due overnight. Karrebaeksminde was the first marina into which we had to go between poles, dropping on lines as we passed by, jump off the bow and secure line at the front. Well the learning curve was steep again! The poles are all spaced at different distances apart and one has to judge the width. The first one we tried was too narrow so we had to reverse and try another. Luckily a fellow saw us bumbling about and came to catch our bow saving me from the life threatening leap off the bow. Taipan is definitely not designed for these marinas. There are only 4 berths, we found out later, in the whole marina wide enough for us. Anyway we tied up and were very glad to be there when the following day the wind gusted fairly consistently over 30 knots turning the entrance into a wash pool and the sea into a nasty mess.

This marina, we later discovered, labels the head of the pen with the width and price. They also place a red or green plate at the head to indicate wether the berth is vacant or not. There is no harbour master to give you any hints on the VHF, no fingers, no nice person to meet you, catch your lines and provide information. Just a pay machine and an admonishment to pay, or pay extra if they have to come and collect. Make mine anchoring!
The weather settled again and we left in the early afternoon with 45nm to go and a fairly stiff tail wind. A jaunty sail into the strait ensued with us making good time. During the afternoon the wind moderated and we slowed down an enjoyed the scenery passing between islands. Sjaelland, Falster and Moen. We dropped anchor off Moen with just 60nm to go to Copenhagen. It was a beautiful night and nice to be on the hook.

The next morning in a sludgy sea mist we approached the White Cliffs of Mons. We hoped to get the morning light on them and amazingly, just as we arrived the sun forced its way through the mist and behold! Beautiful White Cliffs.

Next stop Copenhagen.