Monday, August 01, 2011

Back in Barhöft

Navigating in thick fog, a well-equipped boat has some advantages over a car. For a start, you don't have to stick to the road. Traffic is often very light indeed. And a combination of GPS and chart plotter, AIS and radar mean that you know where you are, where you're going and who else is out there.

Nevertheless, heading out between the pierheads of Lauterbach at 7am was pretty scary. Within two or three minutes of departure we could see nothing except our own boat and one cormorant, and grey murk. I would guess at its worst visibility was less than 100 metres. In some ways it's no worse than night navigation, with the advantage that if anything went wrong all we had to do was turn left out of the channel, anchor, and wait for the fog to lift. But good god, it's hard work.

We hoped that things would clear by the time we reached the main Strelasund channel around 9am. Indeed, it was possible to see one or two buoys ahead, and eventually even see the land. But the fog has never really cleared all day.

The object of today's early departure was to get through the Stralsund bridge at 1220 and avoid the terrifying 1720 rush hour. We made it, in fact we were early and had to trickle along for the last three or four miles at a couple of knots. When we finally got through, along with about 35 other yachts (where did they all come from?) we all took an interesting shortcut out of Stralsund harbour and roared the next 9 miles up to Barhöft, where we found a berth with no problem despite the rush hour.

Some time in the next 12 hours the wind is due to go easterly for a couple of days. If this has happened by tomorrow morning, and it is possible to see across the channel outside the harbour, we might go to Denmark (40 miles to Klintholm). If the fog is still there - and it's now 8.15pm and visibility is closing down again - we will be here another day. We can cope (just) with a quiet inland sea in zero visibility, but not the open Baltic.

This is a lovely spot, but I think we are all getting quite keen to leave Germany.

Miles covered today: 32.

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