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Western Pomerany
-- 21st to 26th May 2018  --
First baltic legs in Germany and west of Poland, area which is referred to as Western Pomerany. Where the wind picks up right from where we intend to go.

For more pictures, please visit our page "Pictures".

177 miles sailed
466 miles since the start

Our stops, click on the names for more details:
Sassnitz (marina) - Dziwnow (marina) - Kolobrzeg (marina)
21st May : Copenhague - Sassnitz (89 M)
It’s the end of the weekend and the route ahead is still long .. time to sail on. The wind is firmly settled in the North East corner, perfect to be accelerated by the Southern tip of Sweden. Such a wind pushes the water out of the Baltic Sea into in the North Sea, creating a strong current northwards between the Danish islands. Yes, right in our nose :-S

The alarm clocks goes off at 5 am – we are trying to leave early enough to avoid the strongest of the current. Still, we will register 1.2 knots between Copenhagen and Malmö. This is actually a busy place: we pass by the Norwegian tall ship “Sørlandet”.

When history meets modernity
The wind is, as forecasted, quite strong and against us. We beast against it with  two reefs and the jib, towards a big windfarm (“Baltic 2”). Shall we pass South? Or North? Or perhaps through it? Apparently, it is allowed to sail between the big towers, during daytime only and with wind no more than force 6. Before we make up our minds, the wind drops a notch and veers north, and we can safely pass along – with a wide margin and enough comfort to dedicate our afternoon to various mending and sewing activities.

As the night falls, the winds picks up again. A nasty choppy sea appeared in no time and washes over the deck. It feels like in a laundry machine inside. A few vicious waves even come in, flooding the chart table. We are soaked – but, weirdly enough, not salty! The water here is really fresh! Interesting contrast, fresh water and offshore, wide open sea travelled by big shipping vessels. But no complain: everything dries much quicker! This confirms our favorite saying “it’s not wet, it’s fresh water”.
We are nearing the coast now, it’s time to decide where we will land. In our guidebook, two options on the North-East end of Rügen island: 1. Lohme: “idyllic surroundings, charming pocket-size fishing harbor nested under a forested cliff. Quiet and quaint.” 2.  Sassnitz: “big fishing harbor where the industrial activities dominate”. Obvious, isn’t it? At least until we read the book again, including the small prints under Lohme: “approach dangerous with strong wind”. Let’s see: we have 3 reefs and the jib, and clearly too much canvas on still. Yes, the wind may be qualified of “strong”. So much for “quiet and quaint”, we’ll opt for safety, however industrial.

The course is set towards the safe waters buoy 3 M offshore of Sassnitz, giving a wide berth to the coast and hoping that wind and waves will have time to decrease in the meanwhile… but they don’t. So we head for the harbor, with jib up only, on a very fast broad reach. At the end of the breakwater, the waves are breaking due to silting. Better to give a wide berth. Phew! Sheltered from the waves, we can maneuver and finally reach the visiting berths.

Mooring dolphins, 5m deep. The fee depends on the size of the chosen berth. For <12m, it was 12 euros. Payable in cash, to a real person, speaking German only of course! We are out of digital Scandinavia, welcome back to the cash world!

The entrance with day light and calm wind looks much more appealing!
22nd May: Sassnitz (onshore)

Sassnitz waterfront
3.30 am, we fall into a deep slumber.

When we open the eyes again, a bright sun reveals the details of this “industrial” harbor. A string of shops and restaurants, trying to catch to attention of the passers-by, strolling the quay with an ice-cream in the hand. A cliff overhangs the harbor, topped by neat holiday villas alternating with green trees. Indeed, a few big fishing boats and warehouses may deserve to be called “industrial”, but all in all it’s a nice surprise!
Local specialties include “sanddorn”- based products (sea buckthorn), ranging from jams to creams and liquors. Restaurants put forward a wide variety of fresh fish, including cod and zander.
Sassnitz became a town during the 20th century only, when the farming village of the top of the cliff was joined to the fishing village at the bottom of the cliff. Populated since the 16th century, the place really grew in the 19th century with the joint development of trains and seaside tourism.
Sassnitz is also the gateway to the Jasmund national park with its majestic and glistening white chalk cliffs, up to 161m high. Covered with a beech forest, the area was first protected in 1990 under the DDR, it is the smallest National Park in Germany. Now, it is protected by UNESCO. Perfect for an afternoon walk! A nice and easy trail of 7km leads to the highlight of the park, the « Königsstuhl ». Unfortunately, this specific rock and surrounding grounds, including the visitor center, are subject to an entry fee. A little off put by the mercantile atmosphere, we turned around and came back to the city on the same path, stopping at the splendid viewpoints along the way. Breathtaking views of the sea, swallows flying very fast up and down perfectly white walls plunging in the transparent water.

The Königsstuhl

View point from the hiking path
For dinner, we indulge in Schnitzel and Bier – perfect to celebrate our first (and only!) German stop. 

23rd May : Sassnitz – Dziwnow (51M)

Life onboard in good weather
Today there is a nice little breeze. We were shaken enough during our last crossing and we enjoy a flat, quiet trip under the sun. 
The forecast says that the wind will increase with nightfall, so we ready the jib. As soon as the small sail is up though, the wind drops again, calling the genoa back. 6 knots, straight to the next harbor, not too close hauled :o)

It’s night again when we approach. The entrance to Dziwnów is well-marked, following lined-up lights into the channel. At these latitudes there are only a few hours of dark, and we always manage to arrive during them!

Hoisting the Polish flag

Very surprising inclined pontoons in Dziwnow. A sign precises that it i forbidden to walk on them
The marina is recent, on the left bank after the fishing harbor, dug out between the reeds. Equipped with pontoons which would be very practical… if we could walk on them!

The marina is also equipped with many videosurveillance cameras. There is even a camera in the showers! (although it covers only the sinks, says the sign on the door). It is past midnight when we arrive, but there is a guard on duty, who approaches us as soon as we near the sanitary block. You can check in anytime of day or night. But you cannot check in in English. Polish preferably, mixed with a few words of German. At the end we understand that we need to pay 50 PLN, plus 6 PLN for the shower. In cash of course! We are allowed to go and sleep before going to the cash machine though…
In this marina are mainly foreign boats: one Dutch, two Germans, two Norwegians. Not very talkative. Until now, we spoke the most with Swedes, in Hamnholmen, and a young couple in Sassnitz. It is not like in the Atlantic, where we met again and again the same boats and made a lot of friends. We miss the friendly atmosphere a bit.

24th May : Dziwnów (onshore)
Our first Polish stop. It is pronounced “jiv-noof” according to our excellent (although a bit dated) Imray Guide of the Baltic Sea.

Camille has never been in Poland. Laure, once, the summer when France won the world cup (yes, that long ago!). And never in this region, Pomerania. We walk around with our eyes wide open, avidly absorbing the first impressions.

Road closed to cars, motorbikes and... pedal cars ??!!
The small city is clearly devoted to tourism. Half of the buildings seem to be hotels and B&B. A lot of construction work is ongoing, with scaffolding and hammering in almost every street. The rise of tourism seems pretty recent and booming right now.

This is common to many Polish seaside resorts: many infrastructures, in particular marinas, are very recent. Nautical charts and guides are sometimes outdated. We ended up checking Google maps for confirmation!

First grocery shopping in Poland: we discover the “pierogies”. Those dumplings stuffed with a wide variety of sweet or savory ingredients are about to become our favorite meal during a sailing trip! Easy to cook (boiled or panned), and delicious!
Walking back from the city along the beach, we understand the touristic potential of this region. Immense stretch of white sand, as far as the eye can see, fringed by forested dunes. The sand is so smooth and thin! It also makes a funny noise when one walks on it. The water however is not that warm yet, it is enough to immerse the toes for the moment. 
The beginning of the looooong polish beach

A full bag full of plastics picked up even without looking for it
Here, we are struck by the quantity of rubbish on the beach. The ground is literally covered with plastic wrappings, bottles and cigarette butts along the promenade in the dune – despite dozens of bins standing right there. On the beach itself, we pick up a full 12L again, and only in our tracks, along the water (we did not clean the full beach unfortunately – the task discouraged us). We wonder: why is there so much rubbish here, whereas a few kilometers away on the other side of the border in Sassnitz, the beach is very clean (with the exception of the inevitable cigarette butts…)? Is this down to public infrastructure? To education and awareness of the population? Of tourists?

Back to the harbor, we enjoy a nice local beer – cheering to our first contact with seaside Poland!
25th May : Dziwnów – Kolobrzeg (37M)
We had been warned… the wind is generally coming from North-East in the Baltic during the spring. It veers to the South-West at the end of the summer. It would be much better to start from Helsinki for a Baltic trip! 
The wind is also accelerated along the Swedish coast. The weather forecast predicts stronger winds around the Danish island of Bornholm – so we decide to stay along the Polish coast for a while, and make our way West, slowly beating against the wind. The Polish coast is a long strip of sand and dunes, guarded by fishpots – which are not pots, as we learnt, but nets here! Luckily they are set deep enough so that we can sail close past the little flags. Fun fact: they are equipped with a round cross in metal to reflect radar. Not sure if this is to be found or avoided! We, on the other hand, are not fishing anything.

Beacon for fishing nets, equipped with a radar reflector
Little wind and forecasted storms encourage us to stop in the next harbor, Kolobrzeg (or Kolberg for the lazy and the foreigners). This time the sun is setting as we enter into the harbor and we can enjoy the last of the daylight to find the marina. We are improving :o)
26th May : Kolobrzeg (onshore)
Kolobrzeg is a big fishing harbor, and the marina is located at the end of the chenal, after the fishing boats and the grain-storage buildings dating back to 1929. Visitors moor in a dedicated basin with many finger-berths, toilets and brand new showers – the laundry machines are also welcome after 2 weeks sailing. 30 PLN / day, and you should keep the change! In particular, 5 PLN coins are required for the showers – as in most Polish marinas we’ve seen so far.

Grain storage buildings from 1929 and timber ready to be loaded on a ship

Nice light before the rain...
After completing the laundry, shopping and various maintenance activities required, we are free to explore this new place. Walking back towards the sea front, we are surprised to find many touristic attractions. Countless shops and kiosks sell ice-creams, waffles and smoked fish. Other conspicuous features of any Polish touristic resort seem to include fake pirate and Viking boats, on which locals embark for a short cruise out to the sea or upriver. Excepting some Germans, most tourists here appear to be Polish.

Our steps lead us to the beach and the very nice pier – then wind and storms lead us away from the shore and into the more sheltered city center.
Kolobrzeg, known for having brilliantly resisted Napoleon, has an interesting formerly fortified city center. Like in many Polish cities, the destruction of the Second World War was catastrophic. Some buildings are restored, including the conspicuous cathedral and the 19th century brick town hall.
The rather unusual facade of the cathedral, made of bricks of course
On our way back to the boat through the "Hanseatic Salt Market", a historical fair in costumes that commemorates the past of the city, also a member of the famous league.

The storms seem to calm down, tomorrow we can resume our slow progression Eastwards...

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SuDad - 05/06/2018 18:38:38
Ca c'est ce qui s'appelle une économie d'échelle!: emmener tout votre fan club d'un seul coup le long de côtes que personne ne soupçonnait il y'a... quelques instants. Qui imaginait le tourisme balnéaire polonais, hein? la finesse du sable. Bon, les caméras dans les douches, c'est un peu trop créatif, sans doute.
Plus stable que le vent, votre verve, elle, ne faiblit pas. Nul besoin d'incidents pour épicer, le récit est naturellement et spontanément savoureux. Ca aiguise l'appétit. Heureusement, on n'en est encore qu'au hors-d'oeuvre!
La suite, cheffes! ici plus qu'ailleurs, l'appétit vient en mangeant. Merci pour cette gastronomie.

Mum - 05/06/2018 09:50:32
Super avec cet humour qui nous picote agréablement !

la mamou - 05/06/2018 08:20:35
voici une bien belle façon de commencer la journée !! merci les filles pour ce super article !!

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