Cuxhafen 12th and 13th August 2017
We were woken at 0830 by a very grumpy Hafenmeisterin berating our poor and lazy seamanship for mooring on the emergency pontoon. I did point out that the Marina was in complete darkness when we arrived at 2340 the night before. It was impossible to see if any of the standard berths were free as it was not possible to see the tiny green plaques that signify a free berth!
I also told her that she was not showing a green light on the entrance to the Marina which did not help Anglo-German relationships. However once we moved to a new berth she mellowed when I showed her a picture of a panda from France that Ellie had seen when she was there!
I was surprised how little fuel we used despite the hard running, we filled up with 46 litres of diesel after running on the motor for 27 hours. We have been burning just 1.7 litres per hour so we won’t need to fill up again this season!
To get to the Canal lock at Brunsbeuttel we picked our time to exit the Marina to ensure we had the tide with us and that the current across the exit was not too strong, our experience from Friday night made sure of that! So by 1400 we were fully fuelled and easy for the next leg of our trip. The navigation up the Elbe was easy, we just followed the green channel marker buoys 20 nm from 31 to 57, opposite the lock entrance. Our plan was to dodge any ships going up or down the river and scoot across the Elbe at right angles towards red buoy 60.
We would then sail up and down in the sport boat waiting area until we got the signal to enter the lock. We had been reading lots of blogs about the canal and had expected a 2 or 3 hour wait.
However,as we crossed we could see a white flashing light, which meant we could enter the lock! But as we got closer it changed back to red – I checked with the lock keeper on VHF 2 and was told to get a move on! We went straight into the old lock, it is still big but about a quarter of the size of the new locks! To secure up in the lock, Anne had to jump off the boat down onto a couple of old slippery tree trunks around the edge of the lock and tie Grace to some metal loops. With bow and stern slip lines back on the boat I haul Anne on board. Not easy, as it is a long way down! There is only about a fall of 1 m into the canal and within a couple of minutes we are in the canal itself at last!
On leaving the lock we make a sharp turn to port and turn into a small marina tucked behind the lock wall at Brunsbeuttel and raft up against a Dutch boat.
Every one has big steel mooring hooks which they loop into the top of red buoys 15 m from the dock walls – we definitely must have one of these wonderful items! I spend many a happy hour observing which is the best pattern. Go for the biggest possible is my conclusion!
It was fascinating to watch the big ships go past just a few metres away. The town is dedicated to the lock and there is a viewing area to see the locks in action! A very popular Sunday past time. There is a big fair going on, all the way up the Main Street. We visit a bar but it does not help me to win a goldfish for Anne.
It was the fact that I won a goldfish for Anne at a fair in Harrogate that first made her realise that she loved me! Oh well you can’t be lucky twice!