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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.
Out of Klaipeda harbour and back again
07/17/2008, Klaipeda, Lithuania

Beautiful sunny morning again. After breakfast, and on the request of the (today) ambitious skipper, the whole crew undertook some of these moments of hard work that sailors have to do. Not too often, I am glad to add.

Anyway, with the oldest and most worn docking line found on board, as a tool, we keel-hauled the boat. This action was caused of the discovery I made upon diving in the home port to inspect the lower parts of the whale's (sorry boat's) body. Since I discoverd a few colonies of barnacles here and there I have been at unrest. So we got rid of them and the old line came up from the not very clear water, not unlike a shaving brush in appearance. To anyone who didn't already discover it... barnacles are razor sharp.

As an interesting aside; I recall an article I ead a couple of years ago. As to undesired growth on the bottom of your boat. ( Is there ever desired growth?) In mid July, if you go uop a river or whatever fresh water you can find navigable, for a few days, will kill the 'baby' barnacles off, since they attach to hull this time of the year. This procedure have now been effectively undertaken as to Rde Orm's noble submerged parts. With great interest I will follow-up on this by diving on her every now and then during the rest of the season.

As I think I have previously mentioned, It's three years now since I gave her a new antifouling paint, and it's starting to show, even though the growth in the brackish water of the Baltic is nowhere nere as bad as in the warmer seas.

The skipper also climbed the mast with kind cooperation of the first mate. This action waas called upon since the radar reflector needed to be better attached to the upper shread and the mast not to rotate under way. When hoisted in the Bosun's chair and ready with this chore, I kindly asked my first mate to release the halyard that secured me, so I could climb down again, she first refused. Blackmailing me to take a more active part in washing the dishes and related kind of work on board she made me make a somewhat vague promise before letting me down again.

Mutiny, should need to be disciplined. I am considering how to best take action and will let you know when I've come up with a good scheme...

At noon we felt ready to set sail again and start the next leg of the trip - 120 M to Ventspils, Latvia or to Vndburg on Gotland, Sweden.

Interestingly enough, Lithuania is the only country facing the Baltic Sea, where there are no weather forecasts in English on the VHF. Internet is not that easy to get access to according to our experience, so yesterday evening I hooked up our SSB reciever to the computer to get a couple of weather faxes. Don't no if my schedules where to old and thus not valid any more but we could not get anything there....

So, since it was sunny and the barometer had been rising for 6-8 hours we thought it wqs as good a day as any for an overnighter. In NIda we saw a (then) 2 days old forecast predicting SW Force 4-5 Beaufort.

When we reached the entrance and had to fire up the engine to make it between the breakwaters, a tremendous thunderstorm caught us. 30-40 knots of wind on the nose, and the choppy confused seas around the piers, combinde with a downfall of rain seldom seen our mood somewhat faded at a fast rate. A mere cable lenght outside the piers I realised that the wind was more NW than SW. This would mean forereaching 120 miles to Ventspils or beating towards Gotland. No, no way! This is a pleasure trip, so the tiller hard to port and back to the same spot to anchor. Basta!!!

Did a few more attempts with weather faxes during the evening but without success.

Back to Klaipeda
07/16/2008

More provisioning. We decided to really stock up on things that were cheap here. Since we will continue this cruise for 2,5 months more, this seems like an obvious thing to do. So what could that be?

Beer, wine, some canned food, especially fish of various kinds.

After stowing away all this on the boat we sailied back the approx. 20 miles to Klaipeda where we anchored just south of the harbour, a few cable lengths outside the channel. During night we got some entertainment in for of squalls with heavy rainfall.

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.

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Who: Magnus & Isabelle
Port: Falsterbo -Sweden
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