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The Voyage of 'S/V Röde Orm' - Sweden
Come on board and take part in our adventures while exploring the world at the slow pace of a sailing boat. We left in June 2009, heading south to escape the northern winter... to start with. Currently in Algarve/Portugal taking it one day at a time.
To Nida
07/15/2008, Curonian Sea

The wind had switched back to SW, and since our course to the town of Nida is 259 deg we had to motor again. That said, I'd rather motor the few miles here in the Curonian, and have a nice SW to carry us the 110 miles north to Ventspils in Latvia at our nest leg.

At noon more or less, we moored in the little port of Nida. The harbour master didn't really approve with the spot I chose for us, so upon his recommendatons we crossed the basin to pick a mooring bouy tright opposite to his office.

After lunch on board we felt ready to take a walk to the top of the highest of all the sand dunes south of the town. 54 meters above sea level was not only the view terrific, but there was a beatiful sculpture there too. An obelisque, 6-7 meters high with signs and inscriptions in the Runic alphabet on it thrilled the pagan in me. The Viking Heritage is apparently alive here too.

After we returned to town we provisioned at the supermarket. A real pleasure price-wise. Wine are as expensive as in Sweden but the good local beer is cheap as is quite a bit of groceries and canned food.

The evening ended at a reataurant right at the dock. A modern type of Pizzeria called 'Cili Pica' . On the wall a huge flatscreen showed Rod Stewart music videos from the 70-ies (?). The pizza was really good, thin and crispy and we returned to the boat in good mood.

Another day on the river
07/14/2008, Atmata, Curonian Sea; Lithuania

Dispite a magnificent red sunset last night the weather was crappy in the morning. It had rained the most part o the night, and the skys wrere still gray with gusty W-NW winds between 20 and 30 knots. The river didn't seem wide enough to make us feel secure in turning around under sail if need would be, so we motored the few miles. This river trip came out as a kind of an anti-climax since there was a bridge on 'our' side of Rusn. The chart didn't say anything of the maximum mast height (we could actually not even find the bridge on the chart) nor was there any sign at all.

I anticipated that it was somewhere around meter to low or one meter higher than our masthead, but certainly didn't feel tempted to gamble on this by attempting to go through.....

So we turned around again, and motored back against a still gusting wind. Just before returning to the Lighthouse we met the Polish yacht I mentioned previously. They came out from another, smaller river in this delta, and with some handsigns and body language we managed to get to know that there was a marina in there. The depth obviously was enough since their boat was larger than ours.

This turned out to be a very nice spot. A public boat club with around 30 slips in the river and a clubhouse with showers and all.

In the evening, we fraternized with a group of Lithuanians who spoke english(!) and were living in the capital of Vilnius. Among other things we learned that no one knew the exact heght of the bridge but that a boat wih a mast approx. 1 meter lower than Rde Orm's, successfully had gone under it. we also gor a sweet opportunity to sample what was referred to as 'lithuanian whisky' and turned out to be home-distilled vodka, and last but far from least a very nice grilled fish, caught in the river earlier that day. Thank you guys, if you would ever come to read these lines.

Atmata - A river trip
07/13/2008, Curonian Sea; Lithuania

A sunny warm summer day with a light NW breeze made it poosible for us to leisurely move south in the Curonian Sea as it is called in English. mizzen and gennaker gave a boat speed of 3-4,5 knots. A superb pace for discvering a new coutry and cruising ground. The Curonian Sea is considered an inner sea although the water is fresh. The average depth is merely 3,7 meters !!!! which makes the navigation kind of....interesting. The sea is around 45 miles long and gets wider the further south one comes. The southern 2/3rds are Russian waters though, and we have neither wishes nor intentions to explore that part. Lithuania will do for now. A trio to Russia demands a request for visa at least three weeks in advance, and as we all know, anticipating your time of arrival when on a saing vessel isn't that easy.

The ten year old russian chart we had (we found out later upon comparing with a newer Lithuaninan one that it was pretty accurate) showed three channels crossing the Sea with a guarantteed depth of 2,5 meters. We were strongly recommended to not attempt any wandering about outside theese channels.. Since they are very well marked with lit bouys on either side and even a lighthoswe or two the selfsufficient skipper bravely turned the computer off after memorizing the route to follow. This turned out to be a not so smart move. Conserving power is good but navigating correct is better.

My indolence made us clean the bottom of Rde Orm's full keel against mud/sand at the point where the routes divided. It turned out that we happened to come a few meters to the wrong side and was immediately punished by King Neptune or whoever might be in charge of our destiny at sea.

No major worries though, after hastily bringing the sails down (we were going downwind) we managed to get out of the danger zone after 2-3 attempts with the iron genny.

After this little incident we approached the mouth of the river Atmata which according to the charts and the little info we were able to gather, was navigable some 12-15 miles to a town called Brusn right at the Russian border.

We moored for the night a few miles into the river at an old lighthouse with an office for the staff att this Regional Nature Park included in UNESCO's world heritages as stated on one of the few signs that provided info in any other language than Lithuanian. BTW, we didn,t meet a single foreign vessel during our stay at hte Curonian Sea. except one Polish 38-footer we were to meet tomorrow. This Park consists of a large river delta, and has many botanically and zoologically interestting spots that one could explore.

To Lithuania part 2
07/12/2008, Klaipeda

This time the watchkeeping/sleeping pattern worked nicely for us on our three hours on- three hours off schedule from 9pm to 9am. In the first half of the night there were quite a bit of commercial shipping heading 20-30 deg. from the latter stage of the night and all the way to arrival at Kllipeda we didn't spot a single ship. Not a single pleasure vessel either by the way.

We sighted the lights from the harbour and the Light-Bouy marking the entrance around 4 miles offshore. This coastline is shallow with sandy beaches and since it was around midnight and needless to say pitchdark, I decided to heave-to under the mizzen sail 1,5 miles north and inshore of the Bouy during the rest of the night.

In the mornng we had made leeway with 3 miles in 6 hours. The wind had decreased even more and of course veered to E so we motored into the large commercial harbour. It took us a couple of hours to come to the town center where the small craft harbour was full. Therefore, we moored in the *Jachtklubi' harbour on the opposite side.

A ferry went back and forth to town every 20 minutes until midninght so everything was fine. In the very marina there was a rock festival during the weekend so the pro was free entertainment and access rto free internet too. The con was to share 4 showers (!) with 600-800 yungsters who slept in their small tents just 20 meters from the dock.

Since the harbour fee turned out to be a mere 2?'? we could definetely cope with this minor nuisance.

In the Town center there was an international folk miusic festival with participants fron all over Europe and probably beyond, so free entertainment here as well and we truly enjoyed our stay. I might add that the local beer was cheap and VERY good.

One other swedish sailing vessel in the marina and a couple of Germans. The rest of them locals. Interestingly enough quite a few of the local yachts were swedishbuilt good'ole boats from the 60-70ies. A Lithuanian sailor I talked to told me that he could make a profit from buying an older boat in Sweden and sell it over here and then sell it.

To Lithuania!?
07/09/2008, on the water

We were planning to make a three day 300 miles crossing to Klaipeda in Lithuania and set off in a fresh SW breeze. The wind increased during the afternoon and for whatever reason neither of us could get any decent sleep during our off-watch. Around midnight when I was on watch hte seastate became so choppy and cinfused that I made a decision to change course. At this point we were a couple of miles NW of Bornholm, the Danish island in the southern Baltic, nad instead of our previous course of 78 degrees, I jibed and continued at 45 degrees towards the SE point of the Blekinge Archipelago.

From there we would have more options. Either continue to Klaipeda at 92 degrees or go to the eastern coast of Gotland at approximately 45 deg or go up in the Kalmar strait.

We arrived at the most SE part of Karlskrona skrgrd in the afternoon and moored in shelter from the sea on the northern side of the tiny island named Flakskr. The Swedish Cruising Association, SXK, has a mooring bouy here free to use for it's members. A night of deep dreamless sleep left us in fine shape in the morning and we went on in a light SW breeze under full sails this time towards Klaipeda, 180 miles to the east.

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Who: Magnus & Isabelle
Port: Falsterbo -Sweden
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