The ships diary

Myself by the boat in Magdeburg
after a walk in the park on May 1.


View of Magdeburg from the south.

Anders and Linda started their journey back home in the evening of May 1. We spent the day strolling in the city park of Magdeburg waiting for that train to leave.
Ingrid and I left Magdeburg fairly early in the morning of May 2nd. We had barely left Magdeburg until we were stopped by the WSP, the water police. First we met them and waved hallo to them and then when they saw our Swedish flag they turned and wanted to check our papers. Bibbi was the first Swedish boat these policemen have seen so they wanted a chat! Nice policemen too.
After this chat with the policemen we continued our trip. The Elbe River has hard current so we lost a lot of speed. We sailed for hours and hours and finally decided to stop for the night at Dessau. We could possibly continue to Rossau.
But at 4 o'clock we were stopped by the WSP once again this day. This time they told us that the river was closed ahead. There was some kind of motorboat competitions going on. We had to anchor and wait. So we waited and had dinner and at 6 o'clock we could continue our trip and stopped in Dessau for the night.


The Marketplace in Wittenberg with the tower of the castle churh at back.
We left Dessau very early. The competitions on the river would start again early and all traffic on the river was closed for several hours in the morning, so we wanted to get away before they started.
Out on the river we found that the electric generator onboard did not work properly. But we could continue our trip.
At this section the river Elbe turns in every possible direction all the time. At one moment we were heading north, the other moment south. At one moment we were heading east and the other moment west! All these turns combined with the hard current slows down speed considerably.
When we had come to Wittenberg we first found some fuel with gentle help from the local people and then took a walk in the old historical city, and when we summoned the situation we found out it would be best to turn back from here. We had hoped to get to Prag, and we could have made it, but it would have taken much longer time then we imagined. And with a broken generator in need of service it's not a good idea to continue, when we know we can get help back in Magdeburg.


In Vockerode we saw a storks-nest with storks in it - even if you can't see the storks on this picture.
So on May 4 we started to sail back to Magdeburg. It was a cold day with quite a few rainshowers. But it was an amasing trip compared to the two days before. Now we went twice as fast using half as much fuel! We did not go all the way down to Magdeburg. We stopped for the night in Schönebeck 10 km south of Magdeburg.


By noon on May 5th we were back in Magdeburg. I talked to the servicemen immediately and they promised to have a look at my generator after lunch. Soon a man came on board, inspected and said he could fix it, so Ingrid and I went ashore for some shopping. When we came back after four hours the generator was fixed and everything seems to work fine.
Now we have experienced that servicing the boat is as expensive in Germany as in Sweden!

I have some interesting figures for this trip to and from Wittenberg:
From Magdeburg to Wittenberg, upstreams, the log measured 93 NM. It took us 11 hours. The speed through water was most of the time 8.5 knots, the GPS navigator showed a speed over ground between 6 and 9 km/h.
From Wittenberg to Magdeburg, downstreams, the log measured 52 NM! It took us 7 hours. The speed through water was most of the time 7.5 knots. The GPS showed a speed over ground between 16 and 19 km/h.
The chart shows that it's 115 km or 62 NM.
We measured the current of Elbe in Magdeburg. We turned the boat upstreams and made it stay with no speed over ground. The log showed 4 knots! But that was at one of the places with the hardest current.


The Rothensee Schiffshebewerk.

We have decided to be in Magdeburg on Saturday. My friend Bo from Gothenburg will join the crew there and my wife Ingrid will go back home from there. But it's not fun to be in Magdeburg all these days until Saturday so Ingrid and I decided to make a trip along the Mittellandkanal.
First of all so that Ingrid could see one of those "Schiffshebewerke" that lifts the whole canal rather than only the boats. We also found that the whole canal from Magdeburg to the former border between East- and Westgermany is one big buildingplot. The canal is broadened so that the so called Euroships will be able to go all the way from the Rhine river to Oder river passing Berlin.


We spent the night in Haldensleben together with two other pleasureboats.
On May 7th we turned back towards Magdeburg once again. It was a calm and easy trip and we stopped in Haldensleben for the night. This is a rather nice little town, well worth a visit.


Waiting by the Schiffshebewerk at Rothensee.
Friday May 8 was extremely warm. Shorts no shirts! It was a short trip down to Magdeburg, but we had to wait a while at the schiffshebewerk to get through.


My friend Bosse Hörfelt runs the boat most of the day.
On Saturday my wife Ingrid takes the train from Madgeburg back home to Gothenburg and my friend Bosse Hörfelt comes to me. Bosse and I leave Magdeburg almost immedidately as it's a very warm day and it's not som fun to be in a warm habour - better to be on the canal.


By chance we happened to see this storks nest by the canal.

Sunday was even warmer. Bosse and I started fairly early in the morning and it was so hot that we cold not resist the temptation to take a bath in the canal. We stopped by at Rühen to take a fast bath in the canal and continued our journey westwards.
We had planned to stop in Wolfsburg, but it didn't seem too nice so we continued through the lock of Sülfelt and stopped for the night in the harbour of YCHF, Yacht Club Hoffmanstadt-Fallensleben.
Sunday was extremely warm. Above 30C all the day. We had a nice evening on board.


The harbour of the Motorboot Club Sehnde.

Monday May 11 was as hot as Sunday. We started pretty early and found some fresh air on the canal, but once again we had to stop and take a bath.
And when we got to Senhde we first walked up to town and did the shopping for fresh food, and immediatly back in the harbour we took a cold shower in the clubhouse.
Todays experience in the canal was not quite so nice. We saw half a dousin dead rabbits, cats, rats and fish floating in the water. We, of course, don't know why, but it was not nice to see.


This is the aqueduct were the Mittellandkanal crosses the river Leine.

Tuesday May 12th was another extremely warm day. We continued the trip westwards and finally stopped for the night in the Hannover suburb Seelze. At the end of the day we passed in an aqueduct were the canal passes over the river Leine. After a shower and dinner on board we enjoyed a beer and a cigar at the pub in the harbour. It was a fantastic evening.


The view southwards at river Weser from Bibbi II in the aqueduct in Minden.

We saw a dead dog floating in the harbour this morning.
On Wednesday the 13th we continued our trip westwards and stoped in Minden. Minden is known for the big aqueduct. This is where the Mittellandkanal crosses the river Weser. It's a real big aqueduct, really impressing. This is also known as a meeting-place for barges and their crews.
Apart from that Minden is a really nice town celebrating it's 1200th jubilee this very year. It's really nice to stroll along in the city center and see the nice mix of extremely old and very new houses.


Bibbi II in the harbour of motor Yacht Club Mittelland in Bad Essen.

May 14th we had a lazy day. We started early and stopped for lunch and showers at Motor Yacht Club Lübbecke after a few hours.
We stopped at Bad Essen for the night, and celebrated the afternoon with a bottle of strawberry "champagne" before we took a trip "downtown" on our bicycles. This is a really nice little country town for tourists.


Bibbi II in the harbour of Osnabrücker Motor Yacht Club. We were three guestboats. One from Germany, one from Holland and Bibbi from Sweden.

On Friday May 15th we sailed to Osnabrück. The harbour is about 6 kilometers from the town center so we decided to bike into the city to check the trains to Berlin for Bosse. The roads are not as straight as the canal! We had to bike at least 13 km to get to the town centre and the roads are very hilly too, so it took us more than an hour in each direction.
But Osnabrück is a nice town. After the visit to the railway station, we strolled in the city center for a while. It was May-carneval with beer, live music and a lot of people on the narrow streets. And we bought some food and went back home to Bibbi to celebrate Bosse's last night on board.
After dinner we went up to the club house for a beer and a chat with some people in the club. Very nice indeed!


Bosse at the busstop when leaving the boat.

The whole boat was full with small dead insects when we got up on May 16th. We had to clean the boat to be able to eat breakfast!
Bosse left early in the morning with the bus to Osnabrück. Then train to Berlin and later train from Berlin to Gothenburg. I followed him to the busstop and when he was gone I made some shopping for the weekend and left Osnabrück. After three hours I reached the end of the Mittelland Canal and came to the Dortmund-Ems-Canal. I stopped in Bergeshövede for the night and finally, in a little shop I found some good charts for the canals in western Germany. I've been looking for these in every town the last weeks and found nothing.
I had a calm and nice afternoon and evening watching all the weekend activities of the local people.

Bibbi by night in Bergeshövede.


In the Fuestrup Marina I found great hospitality and many new friends.
Sunday May 17th was yet another really hot day. I only sailed down to Fuestrup to come to a good marina with showers, water and electricity. And the Marina Alte-Fahrt-Fuestrup is very nice, with nice people. I was invited to a beer and enjoyed the chat in the shadow under the trees very much.

The kids swims in the Marina while the parents enjoy themselves ashore.


In Münster there is a ships museum. Seems interesting, but they have no landing stage so I couldn't stop to have a look.
On Monday May 18th I continued the trip southwards. In Münster I for the first time on this trip passed through a lock all by myself with no problems at all. On the other side of the lock I stopped to get fuel and food, and to connect to internet. I had a few mails that had to get through, and last night the connection with the mobile phone was too bad. It seemed nice to stop by for a night in Münster, so I sailed into the city harbour and found a Danish sailor there. But the anglers on the embankment seemed to belong to the A-team, so I decided to go further southwards.
I finally stopped at the Yachtclub Kranecamp in an old stream of the canal. Nice harbour, but quite a few dead fishes and other junk in the water.


Bibbi waiting for service in Datteln.
It was not fun. When I started from Senden I immediately found out that the 12V-generator did not work. This one gives electricity to everything on board except the engine, so it's vital! Without 12V it's not possible to update these pages! And the fridge stops. The kitchen won't work. And so on.
But on the other hand - I can sail the boat for hours without trouble. So I went along and in Datteln I saw this sign by the canal: "Volvo Penta service" (Volvo Penta is the engine I have onboard). So I stopped by to get some help. This company did not have a competent electritian, but was kind enough to call for one. After a couple of hours the man showed up, demounted the generator, went back to the workshop and called back after a couple of hours: The generator is kaput. We can get you a new one by tomorrow for 1100DM!
That is way too expensive - but I don't have a choice.
So I get stuck in Datteln - and hope to get on the route again tomorrow.


The harbour in Herne, with the passengerboat "Santa Monika". Bibbi II at far right.
So, in the morning of May 20th I biked into the center of Datteln to buy food and get some more money from the bank, and in the afternoon the serviceman came with the new generator.
It didn't take him long to mount and test it and late in the afternoon I could continue the trip.
I didn't go too far. I had decided to go to Herne to meet some friends there.

The people in Herne were very friendly. They invited me to join them on their outing on Thursday May 21st, which is a public holiday and celebrated as Father's day. They take their boats in convoy to Datteln in the day and have a party in their harbour in the evening. But I stayed on the boat and in the afternoon I went into Bochum to meet my friend Wolfgang Lug from Marburg, at the railwaystation. Wolfgang has written the program AmigaWorld, which is a geographical factsdatabase for the Amiga-platform. I have translated the program to Swedish and written the historical texts about all the countries for this program.
On Friday Wolfgang and I had some sightseeing in Herne and Bochum and in the afternoon we met Ruud Hoekzema from Zeist near Utrecht in The Netherlands at the railwaystation. Ruud has translated the AmigaWorld program to Dutch and has written texts about many international organizations for the program. It was the first time the three of us met, and we had a good dinner and a few drinks in Bochum before we all went to the boat to spend another couple of hours chatting about the program and a lot of other things.

During the trip down the Rhein-Herne-Kanal we hanged on to a French barge - not showing her flag! - and made it through all the locks together with her.
On Saturday we sailed down to Rhine. Neither Wolfgang nor Ruud had previously been sailing on the German canals or on the Rhine.
We were all amazed by the Ruhr-area. It's known to be smoggy, dirty and full of industries but we didn't see many of those. The whole canal-area is green and clean(?)! We saw a lot of anglers, campers, people strolling along the canal, and a lot of sheep. And of course a whole lot of barges. Our friends in Herne called the Ruhrorter Yachtclub and reserved a place for us there, otherwise this small harbour would have been full by the time we arrived!


On Sunday May 24th it was time for Wolfgang to go home to Marburg and Ruud back home to Zeist in The Netherlands. This picture is from the Duisburg railwaystation with myself at left, Ruud in the middle and Wolfgang at right.
Early on Sunday we took the tram into Duisburg so that Wolfgang and Ruud could go back home. We spent some time walking in the Duisburg centre until both of them was on their trains, and I went back to the boat alone. There were some rainshowers and rather chilly, but in the afternoon the weather was better agian.


When leaving the Ruhr-area I was finally able to see those industries. This picture is shot a few kilometres downstreams from Duisburg.

I started Monday May 25th with walking to the centre of Ruhrort to get some Dutch money from a bank. It was quite cold and a slight drizzle in the air, but I cold feel that it was getting better all the time.
Just when I entered the Rhine from the Eisenbahnhafen in Ruhrort I could see those industries that have made the whole area so famous. Thüssen is only one of them, and they were many! And big! But as far as I can judge, it was not the industries that made the sky so gray this day. It was cloudy in the morning, but getting better. It was 20C and midday there was some sun shining.

Here in Orsoy the log onboard showed that Bibbi has sailed 1000 nautical miles this season.
Sailing on river Rhine is much like sailing on river Elbe, except for two things - first, there's much more traffic on the Rhine! There was at least one meeting ship in sight all the time. Mostly I could see at least four meeting ships all the time. My own speed downstreams was between 18 and 20 km/hour all the day and I only passed two ships.
And second, all those ships striving upstreams make waves. Big waves! A couple of times Bibbi dipped her nose under the water in a rather unpleasant way.

In the afternoon there were some heavy showers. One of them of course when I was landing in the Jachthaven de Bijland in the Tolkamer in the Netherlands.


It was misty and rather heavy rain on the Rhine Tuesday May 26th.
It was cloudy but no rain when I woke up May 26th. So I decided to get going further into The Netherlands. First I sailed to the bunkerstation and got some diesel, and here I also found the charts for the Dutch waters that I didn't have. When all this was finished I sailed out on the Rhine and immediately it started to rain!

Dieren is one of those many small towns I passed on the Gelderse IJssel.
After a few kilometers I turned right on the Pannerdens Kanaal to Arnhem, and in Arnhem I turned right on the Gelderse IJssel. The Gelderse IJssel has a smooth winding way through a very pleasant and variable landscape. Well worth seeing.
In these two waters there were not so many ships and at noon it stopped raining and there was some sun, so it was a pleasant trip up to the old Hansa-town Zutphen.


One of many windmills I saw along the canal today.
On May 27th I continued the trip along the Gelderse IJssel. The Landscape is very beautiful in this area. I passed several old villages and towns and a lot of farms with windmills. I stopped for the night in the old Hansa-town Kampen, and took a walk downtown before dinner. Very beautiful and interesting indeed.
There were several rainshowers during the day, but also much warmer than yesterday.
Bibbi in De Buitenhaven in Kampen.


The lock in Lemmar is actually the first Dutch lock I get into, and that on the third day of sailing in Dutch waters! I did not have to wait long to get into it and to get through was easy.
Thursday May 28th I sail out on the big Dutch lake IJsselmeer, up to Lemmer and a bit into the Prinses Margriet Kanaal.
It was an oustanding experience!
The IJsselmeer is like the open sea. You can only see the coast at one side - at least a day like this with a little mist.
I went into the harbour of Urk to get fuel, which will be the westernmost harbour of this trip.
Sailing in the Gelderse IJssel was much like sailing in the German canals. Sailing in Prinses Margriet Kanaal seems to be more genuin Dutch. Here there are no trees along the canal, so you can see the beautiful landscape. There are many more pleasureboats out sailing. And I mean sailing! On the German canals I did not see one sailing boat. Here there were loads of them.

The tower and brigde of Spannenburg by the Prinses Margriet Kanaal.
I stopped in Grou for the night and took a walk in the town in the evening. Seems to be a very nice old town, with a lot of shops and restaurants. Guess this place will be crowded in the tourist season.


Bibbi in the Oosterhaven in the city centre of Groningen.
May 29th started with heavy thunder and ligthning - and rain of course! Between two rainshowers I had some shopping done and left Grou.
After a few kilometers I made a detour into to lake-area Alde Feanen. And that was really fantastic! Extremely beautiful landscape and a lot of places to moor the boat for a night or two. I would have liked to stay here longer, but got to get further toady.
Back into the Prinses Margriet Kanaal I hanged on to a barge. There are quite a few bridges that must be opened, and I had to pass through two locks to get to Groningen. And the easiest way to do this is by hanging on to a barge. But this barge was a bit slow so it took longer than I expected. But it was a nice days sailing anyway, with some rain in the locks - that's the tradition with Bibbi II!
In Groningen I found a place in the Oosterhaven in the middle of the town.


I spent Saturday May 30th with some shopping and strolling around in Groningen, and waiting for Ingrid. She was due to come with a train in the afternoon. And when she came I was at the station to meet her and then we spent an hour or two at the boat before we went ashore for a stroll in town and a meal at 't Pannekoekschip, the pancake-restaurant at a ship in a canal - it's world-famous - at least in the Netherlands!

The Bloemenhofbrug over the Ems-kanaal.
On Sunday we sailed along the the Ems-kanaal fron Groningen to Delfzijl and passed the lock out in the North Sea. We moored in the yacht-harbour and immediately found out that there was a harbour festival here. There were at least two stages built on the quay not far from us. For some reason different musical groups appeared at the two stages at the same time and we could not really enjoy the music mixed in this way.
The weather was extremely hot today, until in the afternoon when there were some heavy rainshowers with thunder and lightning. After that we walked into the town centre and found out there was a caneval there too.
Delfzijl greeted us with a harbour festival when we arrived.